About

Empowerment of individuals is a key part of what makes open source work, since in the end, innovations tend to come from small groups, not from large, structured efforts.

- Tim O'Reilly, O'Reilly Media

Introduction

Mecklenburg County believes in the power of open data and open source software and the ingenuity of its citizens. This site will share with you our open data and the software we have released under an open source license. We encourage you to use our data and apps to create innovative tools and creative solutions.

Open data has four key attributes:

  • The work is accessible to everyone.
  • You have the right to redistribute the work.
  • You have the right to modify and make derivative works.
  • The work is available in open, non-proprietary formats.

Open data increases government transparency, encourages citizen participation and collaboration, and creates new economic opportunities for citizens, government, and the community. Moreover, sharing our data with you helps us improve the data itself.

Open source software is computer software with its source code made available and licensed with a license in which the copyright holder provides the rights to study, change and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose. It is characterized by four essential freedoms:

  • The freedom to run the program for any purpose.
  • The freedom to study how the program works and to change it so it does computing as you wish.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor.
  • The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others, giving the community a chance to benefit from your changes.

Mecklenburg County GIS believes in the power of open source software to achieve reliable, flexible, high-performance, and cost effective solutions. Not only do we use open source software, we create and release open source software to help other individuals and organizations and to ensure transparency and trust in government. Feel free to use and modify our open source software to create new and compelling solutions for yourself and your community.

Open source isn't about saving money, it's about doing more stuff, and getting incremental innovation with the finite budget you have.

Jim Whitehurst, CEO, Red Hat

About the Data

Formats

All of our data is shared in open formats. An open format is a published specification for storing digital data, usually maintained by a standards organization, which can therefore be used and implemented by anyone. By using open formats you will be able to consume our data without having to purchase proprietary software.

Our most common open formats are shapefile and geojson, though the format may vary depending on the data.

Projections

All maps begin with a lie, and that lie is that the Earth is flat. A map projection is a systematic transformation of the latitudes and longitudes of locations on the surface of a sphere or an ellipsoid into locations on a flat plane (i.e. a paper map or computer screen). All map projections distort the surface in some fashion, and different map projections exist in order to preserve some properties of the sphere-like body at the expense of other properties.

Unless otherwise specified, shapefiles are in NC State Plane NAD83 Feet (EPSG:2264), and geojson files are in WGS 84 (EPSG:4326). Further information can be found by viewing the metadata for the data.

Consuming Data

There are any number of tools and software libraries for viewing or manipulating our data. Here are some open source recommendations to get you started:

  • QGIS for a desktop GIS platform.
  • Leaflet for creating interactive web applications.

About the Software

Software changes rapidly, and as a result our open source applications can be quite different depending on when they were released. Each software repository will contain information on building and deploying that particular app.

Mecklenburg County GIS is a big believer in open source software. Some of the open source software we use and build software with includes:

License

We share our data under a CC0 - Public Domain license. Our software licenses are specified in the individual code repositories, but most/all are under the MIT open source license.

CC0
To the extent possible under law, Mecklenburg County GIS has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to the data included on this site. This work is published from: United States.

The MIT License (MIT)

Copyright (c) 2013 Mecklenburg County Government, North Carolina, USA

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.

Who has the data has the power.

Tim O'Reilly, O'Reilly Media