The Urban Observatory is a live museum that allows access to a large amount of data about major cities around the world. The observatory allows users to compare and contrast a wide variety of GIS data covering areas such as water distribution, power grids, street networks, population density, public transit, and open public spaces.
After a lengthy battle in the court system, California’s Supreme Court has finally ruled in favor of allowing public access to the government’s GIS data in Orange County. Back in 2007, the Sierra Club sued the county for the right to use its GIS data for environmental mapping projects. Orange County resisted, however, claiming that the digital maps did not fall under the Public Records Act.