Kansas Rural Water has adopted the following policy concerning sharing digital data for the purposes of developing a Geographic Information System or creating maps:
KRWA is not the owner of any GIS data that KRWA staff collects or develops. The data (gps positions, feature locations, line representations, shape files, geo-rectified aerial photography and all GIS layers) are the property of the utility that has contracted with KRWA to conduct mapping services. KRWA will share all GIS data that it possesses only upon written approval from the owner. Any request for data should be directed to the KRWA GIS coordinator or to the utility that is represented by the data. Upon receipt of written approval of any request, the data will be sent to the requestor. Fees associated with copying files to media, and/or postage will be the responsibility of the requestor.
Should you share your data?
Sharing data can be of great benefit to many different county and state agencies. Sharing promotes communication and relations between agencies that allow them to better serve the local communities. By allowing several different agencies to utilize your GIS data, more oversight can occur. If more people see and use your data, inconsistencies, inaccuracies, additions, and corrections can be identified and addressed. Sharing also makes the data available to personnel in critical, decision-making positions during times of planning and emergency. In the event of a natural disaster, data can be accessed by emergency management to possibly save lives.
Sharing is a good way of backing-up your data. By allowing others to acquire copies of your data and utilize/store it in an off-site location, you are ensuring its existence in the event that your copies are lost or destroyed.
Sometimes, there are fees associated with sharing data. Fees vary greatly and could be free or cost several thousand dollars. It is difficult to determine what fee to charge for data because the cost to produce it can vary so much. Only a few hours is spent to produce a new shape file that represents water line locations in a very small community. However, to hire a company for high-resolution aerial photography, the cost may be tens of thousands of dollars. A question for a GIS Department or Appraiser’s office to ask might be; “How many times do the taxpayers need to pay for this data?” If high-resolution aerials were paid for out of a county’s general fund, and a request for those aerials comes from a department, agency or some other entity that resides within the tax-base, any money that is paid for the aerials could be considered a “double charge”. The same could be considered for any data layer.
K.S.A 45-219 addresses the issue of reasonable and allowed fees associated with copying records. It also identifies where any fees will be remitted. In all cases, the money will reimburse the general fund of the taxing subdivision.
If you would like to acquire data that KRWA has collected for a Kansas city or rural water district, you may access the system directory for contact information, or you may contact the KRWA for more information.
Statewide opinions about sharing data
The Kansas Collaborative in partnership with the Kansas GIS Policy Board created a GIS discussion forum in 2006 as part of local GIS outreach efforts. The forum can be accessed by submitting questions to the email address: . Any question submitted to this forum will be viewed by Kansas County Appraisers, GIS department personnel, staff in county sheriffs’ offices, GIS Policy Board members, Data Access and Support Center staff and many other people with positions in GIS. There are over 350 people on the GIS List Serve (forum). Folks can also be added to the GIS List Serve by e-mailing Ken Nelson at
KRWA GIS Coordinator Pete Koenig submitted a question about sharing data, specifically, sharing county-owned, high-resolution aerials in exchange for rural water district infrastructure files. Here is a pdf transcript of that email and responses received. See also the Attorney General's response.