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JokersWild

FAA says no more free charts online in 2012. Should we haord?

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*hoard"Aviation Consumer says the Aeronautical Navigational Products Directorate (Aeronav), which currently makes the latest charts and other navigational products available online for free, says it has to recover the costs associated with developing and hosting the products. That means charging fees to companies for those downloads and no longer allowing individuals access them at all. "http://www.avweb.com...s_205722-1.html


Chris Hicks

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I've been looking for the official release from AeroNav but haven't found anything.


Chris Miller

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It obviously all rides on what they charge. This has some huge implications across the board for flight simulation in the US.Come to think of it, almost every country that produces aeronautical charts offers them for free online. Even though they charge large licensing fees for companies wishing to use the data online and in applications, they still give it individuals for free. So the question is how they present the numbers and justify what they charge. According to Aeronav's current chart distributor agreement (for the paper charts) the distributor needs to prove that they are making a certain amount of annual profit from the charts. It's not that much money, so free websites, with some descent advertising, should be okay if the contract is similar. Aeronav isn't saying anything. I have been asking for over a month about this but there are no answers or explanations. I have a feeling the meeting on Dec. 13 is going to be less about getting our opinion and more about telling us the way it's going to be.


Noah Bryant
 

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If the proposal does go through, note that "individuals" will NOT HAVE ACCESS at all! Only "resellers" will have access to the database, and they will have to pay for such access.


Fr. Bill    

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If the proposal does go through, note that "individuals" will NOT HAVE ACCESS at all! Only "resellers" will have access to the database, and they will have to pay for such access.
and that would be a violation of the freedom of information act! They could make it difficult for you, like making you fill out a FOIA form for each request, but then they have to process it, which will cost more in resources, then just providing it online as it is now.

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Tom

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and that would be a violation of the freedom of information act! They could make it difficult for you, like making you fill out a FOIA form for each request, but then they have to process it, which will cost more in resources, then just providing it online as it is now.
No, it wouldn't. You need to familiarize yourself with FOIA, and how it does (and does not) apply here.Also, FOIA requests are necessarily free. The Government can charge you for the information. Freedom of Information doesn't equal free (as in no cost).

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No, it wouldn't. You need to familiarize yourself with FOIA, and how it does (and does not) apply here.Also, FOIA requests are necessarily free. The Government can charge you for the information. Freedom of Information doesn't equal free (as in no cost).
I never said it it had to be free, they have the right to charge to recoup costs, but they're not suppose to be going into the for profit business. Passing it to resellers only does that. Or do you think they'e not going to charge extra for profit. In general, the FOIA gives any person the right to obtain Non-classified government information, upon request, and fee paid. Such fee should only be the direct cost of record search, duplication, or review (Section 4A-iv). No where in the act does it say, they can restrict such data, to commercial entities only. In fact it specifically states any person, may request this data.Section 2 of the act also specifically state that any data released to any person that has become or is likely to result in subsequent requests for substantially the same records must be made available. For records created on or after November 1, 1996, within one year after such date, each agency shall make such records available, including by computer telecommunications or, if computer telecommunications means have not been established by the agency, by other electronic means. This is why this data is available on the net to begin with, just like other federal agencies do.

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Tom

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I never said it it had to be free, they have the right to charge to recoup costs, but they're not suppose to be going into the for profit business. Passing it to resellers only does that. Or do you think they'e not going to charge extra for profit. In general, the FOIA gives any person the right to obtain Non-classified government information, upon request, and fee paid. Such fee should only be the direct cost of record search, duplication, or review (Section 4A-iv). No where in the act does it say, they can restrict such data, to commercial entities only. In fact it specifically states any person, may request this data.
You've touched on what my biggest question is, and will have to wait until after the meeting next month. AeroNav cannot charge for a profit. The question I have is if they (AeroNav) will regulate what retailers can charge. AeroNav will simply charge the retailers the "at cost" amount (no profit), but what happens between that transaction and the end-user is the big question mark for me. I could see an ugly scenario where AeroNav will only sell/distribute the data to authorized agents (under the guise of "data integrity" and "safety"), who will then in turn add a ridiculous charge (such as a "subscription service") to cover bandwidth and server infrastructure costs.To answer your question, AeroNav CANNOT make a profit, however if they sell to an "agent" who in turn makes a profit, that money isn't going back to AeroNav, thus it's legal. This is why there are too many questions right now, and everything is merely speculation until the December meeting.You are correct regarding that interpretation of FOIA. However, when an individual attempts to get the electronic charts through a FOIA request, and the fees quickly reach into 3 and 4 digit figures.... you do the math.

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-Dan Everette
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The Freedom of Information Act is totally irrelevant because the FAA already makes the information (the charts) publicly available. The FAA is also be authorised by law to make charges for its services, otherwise it couldn't make any charges. As a result any attempt to use the Freedom of Information Act to obtain charts will fail.


Gerry Howard

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The Freedom of Information Act is totally irrelevant because the FAA already makes the information (the charts) publicly available. The FAA is also be authorised by law to make charges for its services, otherwise it couldn't make any charges. As a result any attempt to use the Freedom of Information Act to obtain charts will fail.
As I stated, cost isn't the real issue, the FOIA clearly gives the government the right to charge a fee to recoup direct costs. It's the restriction of the release of the data to only commercial entities, that is the main issue. The FOIA clearly states, that any person, has the right to non classified data upon request, and in cases, where as the release of such data to any person would result in subsequent requests for substantially similar data, (as in charts) must b made available by computer telecommunications or other electronic means, for any data created after 11/1996.(Which is why it's on the net now) No where in the text of the FOIA, does it allow limitations of this nature. In fact it specifically states any person throughout the act.

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Tom

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As I stated, cost isn't the real issue, the FOIA clearly gives the government the right to charge a fee to recoup direct costs. It's the restriction of the release of the data to only commercial entities, that is the main issue. The FOIA clearly states, that any person, has the right to non classified data upon request, and in cases, where as the release of such data to any person would result in subsequent requests for substantially similar data, (as in charts) must b made available by computer telecommunications or other electronic means, for any data created after 11/1996.(Which is why it's on the net now) No where in the text of the FOIA, does it allow limitations of this nature. In fact it specifically states any person throughout the act.
The Freedom of Information Act is still irrelevant because it will be possible for an individual to by a chart through one of the FAA's approved Chart Agents - just as it is now.

Gerry Howard

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The Freedom of Information Act is still irrelevant because it will be possible for an individual to by a chart through one of the FAA's approved Chart Agents - just as it is now.
Who will charge a profit, which is also a violation of the act, and the act, show me where it states in the act, where it states that a federal agency can funnel data through a 3rd party commercial for profit entity to the public? The act specifically states any person may request government created data that is not classified or which fall within a few other 8 limitation categories, none of them of which would apply to FAA charts. They can charge a fee only for direct costs only.

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Tom

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Who will charge a profit, which is also a violation of the act, and the act, show me where it states in the act, where it states that a federal agency can funnel data through a 3rd party commercial for profit entity to the public? The act specifically states any person may request government created data that is not classified or which fall within a few other 8 limitation categories, none of them of which would apply to FAA charts. They can charge a fee only for direct costs only.
The law auithorises the FAA to publish charts and to charge for them,. It also authorises the FAA to enter into contacts to provide services. Do you really think that the FAA buys electricity to power its servers and paper to print charts on from non-profit making organisations?The Freedom of Information Act can't be used to avoid paying charges. If it could, don't you think someone would have done it already. If you're sure you're right why don't you request the FAA to provide you with charts under the Freedom of Information Act and, if when doesn't, engage a lawyer to seek an order compelling it to. Any honest lawyer would tell you not to waste your time and money.

Gerry Howard

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The law auithorises the FAA to publish charts and to charge for them,. It also authorises the FAA to enter into contacts to provide services. Do you really think that the FAA buys electricity to power its servers and paper to print charts on from non-profit making organisations?The Freedom of Information Act can't be used to avoid paying charges. If it could, don't you think someone would have done it already. If you're sure you're right then why don't you request the FAA to provide you with charts under the Freedom of Information Act and, if when doesn't, engage a lawyer to seek an order compelling it to. Any honestlawyer would tell you not to waste your time and money.
As I've stated multiple times now, I'm not arguing that the FAA can't charge, they can charge direct costs, but they can't limit distribution to commercial resellers, so they can charge the public extra. If you read the proposal, they aren't entering in a sub contractor arrangement. They are going to distribute to a commercial reseller which will pay the FAA the direct cost fee, then they will turn around and resell it to the public for a profit. There is nothing in the FOIA that permits this, pure and simple.

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Tom

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As I've stated multiple times now, I'm not arguing that the FAA can't charge, they can charge direct costs, but they can't limit distribution to commercial resellers, so they can charge the public extra. If you read the proposal, they aren't entering in a sub contractor arrangement. They are going to distribute to a commercial reseller which will pay the FAA the direct cost fee, then they will turn around and resell it to the public for a profit. There is nothing in the FOIA that permits this, pure and simple.
You should take the trouble to read and understand the Freedom of Information Act before relying on it. Section 4 A (vi) of that Act reads:
Nothing in this subparagraph shall supersede fees chargeable under a statute specifically providing for setting the level of fees for particular types of records.
That covers this situation because, as I said, the FAA is entitled to charge fees under its statute.
(g) Sale and Dissemination of Aeronautical Products.— (1) In general.— Aeronautical products created or maintained under the authority of this section shall be sold at prices established annually by the Administrator consistent with the following...

Gerry Howard

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