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Making maps with data located on private land

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#1
Francis S.

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I've been working with a local green group making maps of a small, local area of concern to them. One of the features they want on the map is springs. The county has spring data (point), but it doesn't show all of them. There are springs on private land, but some of the landowners don't want them shown, for concern that there will be trespassers and degradation. The map is about water resources so it would be good to show the springs.

My tendency is to not show the private springs, but it got me to wondering what rights to mapmakers have to show features on private land? Or, what data are public enough to qualify to be shown on a map?
Francis Stanton
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#2
MapMedia

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Its a line you will have to walk for yourself. Since the location of the private springs are publicly known (the database), you have the right to map them. As long as you are clear about what land is pvt and what is public, then you've done your due diligence. Most importantly, understand the need (for your group) to have these pvt springs plotted.

One way to conceal the location of points is just to show their abundance (count) within polygons (smallest watershed units), then shade them on a scale. Then if you like, you could add on top of these polygons, the points of the springs that are not contentious. Just a suggestion. I've done this with drinking wells in California - and it worked very well.

#3
CHART

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I remember (in the 80s) that we omitted military bases on the Canadian NTS map series for 'security' reason.
Now with Google and other map portals those site are clearly visible.

My 'legal' though on the subject is that you can show whatever can be seen from a bird's eye view. It is to the owner to protect access (anti missile shield...etc... :) ). E.g. You have a private pool in your yard. It can be shown on map. But you are responsible to restrict access to it. The problem lies in the soliciting from pool cleaners....that can be a pain. The same probably goes for springs on private land.?
Chart

#4
supercooper

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Just because its on private land doesn't mean you can't map it. These days, anything is viewable with 1-meter or 1-foot res imagery, and nothing is sacred. Anyone with a browser and Google Earth can find the springs on your maps, more than likely.

#5
Maisie

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I'll wager the goals of the group include building community in the area as well as respecting the natural environment. "Trespassing and degradation" don't belong on the map, especially if the landowners volunteered their concerns.
Could change the category to "publicly accessible" springs? It would still show their general distribution, if not every instance.

M. Tyzenhouse

#6
Mike H

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I think your question is two-fold: your rights as a cartographer to include data, and the goals of the client as to what message the map will serve.

If the data exists in a public database (state or county GIS depository) than you are certainly allowed to include it.

What is vague is what purpose the map is expected to serve. You can show point locations of springs for public knowledge without implying public access. Assuming the data is publically available, it is up to landowners to post their property as they see fit.

Consider this: mapmakers routinely include streams, lakes, and mountains on private land with no claim that they are publically accessable. Why would this be different?

However, the politics of the 'green' group have merit - they should be concerned about their public image and potentially angering local landowners, who would otherwise be allies - so this is the pivot point that I would discuss.

m.
Michael Hermann
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