Great Moments in Open Data

I have been using the City of Ottawa eMap application a lot lately. It contains a lot of useful data including locations of city services, ward mappings and zoning maps. The problem is that the application itself is difficult to use and has a lousy user interface. In general one of the great things about geographic information is that it is easy to use and reuse.

Take a look at Google Maps or Google Earth and you can see all sorts of creative uses of geographic data. Not in Ottawa. The eMap web application makes it impossible (to me at least) to extract data. Even if it was possible to reuse the data, which is publicly paid for, you need to agree to a very prohibitive terms of use before getting access to the eMap application. I have copied a selection from the terms of use below.

City of Ottawa eMap Website Terms of Use

You may not copy, modify, distribute, transmit, display, reproduce, publish, license, create derivative works from, link to or frame in another website, use on any other website, transfer or sell the Site Products in whole or in part either voluntarily or by operation of law.  The foregoing prohibition expressly includes, but is not limited to, the practice of screen scraping, database scraping or any such practice or activity; the purpose of which is to obtain data or portions thereof, portions of databases from the Site, in any manner or any quantities not expressly authorized hereunder.

Makes me wonder whose data this is in the first place.