[okfn-za] Geological Data

mtb at martinb.za.net mtb at martinb.za.net
Wed Feb 12 14:59:43 UTC 2014

Hi Greg,

Thanks for the suggestions. I have a couple of queries though:
Would the PAIA actually cover this though? I mean, essentially, I want 
vector (shapefiles preferably, or at least something that can be turned 
into such) of everything that they have (or can have) on their printed 
maps. The data must already be available in this sort of format, since 
it gets used in books and such (like _Geological Journeys_ which thanks 
the CGS for preparing the maps) as well as their maps.

I put a rewritten version my initial e-mail here 
which is much clearer about what I am asking.

I can certainly file a PAIA, but does it cover the sort of information 
that I want, and can I do anything with the information I get? So if I 
send them a request for say, the shapefiles showing the extent of the 
formations making up the Karoo Supergroup in KwaZulu-Natal and any mines 
in it, and they give it to me, am I allowed to use that more freely than 
their license agreement?

And yes, I have no problems paying for printed maps, or if I want 
something unusual that is not already made or readily available that 
they need to run a special query for, or something along those lines. 
But the data I am thinking of trying to liberate all appears to exist 
digitally already. Further, the CGS, as far as I can tell, is a state 

The other issue is that the printed maps are often old (lots of data is 
from the 1980s), and geological knowledge changes and becomes refined. 
So if they have more up-to-date information, that would be nice to 



On 12.02.2014 08:53, Greg Kempe wrote:
> Hi Martin,
> I can understand them charging fees for printed maps (since each item
> is not cheap to produce), but I agree that the actual data should be
> more freely available in digital form.
> My suggestion would be to file a PAIA request for a subset of the
> data you’re looking for and see what happens.
> The Human Rights Commission has lots of information on the PAIA
>  http://www.sahrc.org.za/home/index.php?ipkContentID=25&ipkMenuID=45 and
> the Council for Geoscience lists all their contact points
> at http://www.geoscience.org.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1578&Itemid=153.
> Cheers,
> Greg
> --
> Greg Kempe
> p +27 (0)78 246 1116
> w  kempe.net
> t  @longhotsummer
> On 06 February 2014 at 12:47:21 PM, mtb at martinb.za.net
> (mtb at martinb.za.net) wrote:
> Hi All,
> I have a vested interest in being able to use geological data freely,
> specifically, the boundaries between different rock units as found on
> geological maps.
> While data is available, much of it is at too high a scale to be very
> useful for looking at specific sites. (That and the link to the 1:250
> 000 scale maps is broken off this page:
> http://www.geoscience.org.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=203:data-sales&catid=46&Itemid=176
> )
> The people responsible for this in South Africa are the Council for
> Geoscience. Their licensing is incredibly restrictive:
> http://www.geoscience.org.za/content/SDMLicense.pdf
> How does this gel with the Freedom of Information act? I note that
> other spatial information seems to be freely available, so why is the
> geological data locked up to this extent?
> This looks like stuff that we should be able to freely access, since 
> it
> contains information on mines and mineral claims and so on:
> http://www.geoscience.org.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=206:spatially-referenced-attribute-data&catid=46&Itemid=176
> I can not see how to get significant amounts of this without quite a
> heavy financial outlay.
> This is the sort of thing that should be possible, but why only a cd
> and not online:
> http://www.geoscience.org.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=453&Itemid=292
> Has anyone dealt with the CGS? I do not really see a way forward on
> this, but have no real background in the subject.
> Martin
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