labradore

"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Your right to "No"

For your "Right to Know Week" entertainment, here's a totally true, long-running email exchange, verbatim other than with certain identifying details redacted to protect the... well, to protect them.


From: ME
Sent: Thursday, April 14, 2011 11:46 PM
To: Elections NL
Subject: Digital maps

Do you have shapefiles available of provincial electoral districts and polling divisions?

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From: [ELECTIONS NL PERSON 1]
Date: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 9:27 am
Subject: Digital maps

We do not have shapefiles available for our provincial electoral district or polling division maps. On our web page (www.elections.gov.nl.ca/elections/) we have the district maps as pdf's and our polling division map files will be available on our web page as pdf's for the general election.

Should you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards
[ELECTIONS NL PERSON 1]

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From: ME
Sent: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 12:57 PM
To: [ELECTIONS NL PERSON 1]
Subject: Re: Digital maps

When will such shapefiles be available? Most other provincial and the federal electoral agency make this data public.

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From: [ELECTIONS NL PERSON 1]
Date: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 2:05 pm
Subject: RE: Digital maps

Unfortunately our provincial office is not equipped with a geographic information system and will not have this software in the foreseeable future. Therefore all maps will be pdf's for the upcoming General Election.

Regards
[ELECTIONS NL PERSON 1]

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From: ME
Sent: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 3:54 PM
To: [ELECTIONS NL PERSON 1]
Subject: Re: RE: Digital maps

What were those maps generated with in the first place?

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From: [ELECTIONS NL PERSON 1]
Date: April 20, 2011 2:32 PM
Subject: RE: Digital maps

The maps were generated with a GIS software. We had this project contracted out as we do not have the software. Access to the contractor is not available.

Regards
[ELECTIONS NL PERSON 1]

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From: ME
Sent: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 4:04 PM
To: [ELECTIONS NL PERSON 1]
Subject: Re: RE: RE: Digital maps

What about access to the data produced by the contractor?

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From: [ELECTIONS NL PERSON 1]
Date: April 20, 2011 2:36 PM
Subject: RE: Digital maps

Access to the data is unavailable.

Regards
[ELECTIONS NL PERSON 1]

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From: ME
To: [ELECTIONS NL PERSON 2]
Date: Thursday, June 30, 2011 6:37 pm
Subject: Data

Can you please make available GIS shapes for electoral districts?

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From: ME
To: [ELECTIONS NL PERSON 2]
Sent: July 13, 2011 9:03 PM
Subject:

Resending.

----- Original Message -----
From: ME
To: [ELECTIONS NL PERSON 2]
Date: Thursday, June 30, 2011 6:37 pm
Subject: Data

Can you please make available GIS shapes for electoral districts?

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From: ME
To: [ELECTIONS NL PERSON 2]
Sent: July 21, 2011 12:06 PM
Subject:

Re-re-sending.

----- Original Message -----
From: ME
Date: Thursday, June 30, 2011 6:37 pm
Subject: Data

Can you please make available GIS shapes for electoral districts?

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From: [ELECTIONS NL PERSON 2]
To: ME
Date: Thursday, June 30, 2011 6:37 pm
Subject: Data

Not sure what you mean by GIS shapes, but we should have new district maps available on the web within the next month. Our, target date was, I believe Aug 22.

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From: ME
To: [ELECTIONS NL PERSON 2]
Date: July 21, 2011 12:45 PM
Subject: Data

Not sure what you mean by GIS shapes, but we should have new district maps available on the web within the next month. Our, target date was, I believe Aug 22.

Shapefiles which can be used in GIS (mapping) software. Your map guys will know what this is; it would be good to have these files available for third-party public use, just as Elections Canada and many other provincial CEOs have done.

- - -

From: [ELECTIONS NL PERSON 2]
To: ME
Date: July 21, 2011 12:52 PM
Subject: Data

I believe the maps we have will be similar to the Elections Canada maps.

- - -

From: ME
To: [ELECTIONS NL PERSON 2]
Date: July 21, 2011 12:57 PM
Subject: Data

I believe the maps we have will be similar to the Elections Canada maps.

But will the district boundary shapefiles for GIS applications be made available to the public?

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From: [ELECTIONS NL PERSON 2]
To: ME
Date: July 21, 2011 1:21 PM
Subject: Data

Again, I’m not sure what you mean. The general public will be able to look at the maps if that is what you mean. I personally do not understand the technology but I believe you may be talking about access to computer code or something like that. If so, I would have to refer your question elsewhere as we do not actually have our own mapping people or mapping division such as Elections Canada has. Our maps were developed by another government entity, NL stats, I believe.

- - -

From: ME
Sent: Thursday, July 21, 2011 2:15 PM
To: [ELECTIONS NL PERSON 2]
Subject: Re: RE: Data

Not sure what you mean by GIS shapes, but we should have new district maps available on the web within the next month. Our, target date was, I believe Aug 22.

Shapefiles which can be used in GIS (mapping) software. Your map guys will know what this is; it would be good to have these files available for third-party public use, just as Elections Canada and many other provincial CEOs have done.

- - -

From: ME
To: [ELECTIONS NL PERSON 2]
Date: August 15, 2011 3:12 PM

Not sure what you mean by GIS shapes, but we should have new district maps available on the web within the next month. Our, target date was, I believe Aug 22.

Have you enquired with your map people about making GIS files publicly available?

- - -

From: ME
To: [ELECTIONS NL PERSON 2]
Date: August 24, 2011 1:30 AM

Any update on these two fronts?

- - -

From: [ELECTIONS NL PERSON 3]
To: ME
Date: August 25, 2011 10:24 AM

Your e-mail was forward along to me for a response.


As for the maps, I am not sure what type of maps you are referring to. We have maps for each of the districts which are currently on our website. We also anticipate posting the map for each of the individual polls in the district over the next couple of weeks. However, this may take a bit of time as there are approximately 1500 maps to post.

You can give me a call if you have any questions.

- - -

From: ME
To: [ELECTIONS NL PERSON 3]
Date: August 25, 2011 10:28 AM

As for the maps, I am not sure what type of maps you are referring to.

Shapefiles. Maps which third parties can import into GIS software and USE, not just look at. Are these types of files going to be made public, as many other provincial electoral offices (and municipal, and Elections Canada) have done?

- - -

From: ME
Sent: Monday, March 12, 2012 3:39 PM
To: [ELECTIONS NL]
Subject: Map GIS files

Are GIS (such as Shapefile or KML) files of district and polling division maps, files which would have been used to generate the PDF versions on your site, available for download?

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From: [ELECTIONS NL PERSON 4]
Subject: FW: Map GIS files
Sent: March 13, 2012 7:30 AM

I do have shapefiles and have also created a KLM file of the electoral boundaries. I'm in the process of working with the GNL IT office to see if I can somehow incorporate them on our website. I also am planning to place those files (likely in KLM format) online for download sometime in the near future. Check back to the website or follow us on Twitter (@NLElections) for updates. Thanks.

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From: ME
Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 8:23 PM
To: [ELECTIONS NL PERSON 4]
Subject: RE: Map GIS files

Shapefiles would be ideal! I'm actually playing around with retro-projecting past results on a municipality level into current municipal boundaries, but for the latest election, shapefiles of current districts and PDs would be ideal. A few of the other provincial CEOs do the same already, noteably BC and QC.

- - -

From: [ELECTIONS NL PERSON 4]
Subject: FW: Map GIS files
Sent: April 30, 2012 10:03 AM

Attached are the shapefiles for which you are looking. The original author at the Department of Environment and Conservation has informed me that they can be released to the public if requested.

Any questions, please contact me again.

- - -

From: ME
Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 2:04 AM
To: [ELECTIONS NL PERSON 4]
Subject: Re: Map GIS files

Thanks again for the ED boundary shapefiles.

Is there a similar release available for the sub-district polling divisions?

- - -

From: [ELECTIONS NL PERSON 4]
Subject: FW: Map GIS files
Sent: May 16, 2012 7:50 AM

I asked the same thing when I initially received the file but unfortunately the author only created the singular provincial file. I think if you, or someone you know, were adept enough at working with these types of files you could parse out the 48 districts. I might try that at some later point once I get a chance to look at it.

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From: ME
Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 4:51 PM
To: [ELECTIONS NL PERSON 4]
Subject: Re: Map GIS files

The poll maps were prepared by NL Stats over in the Department of Finance. They must have the GIS data.

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From: [ELECTIONS NL PERSON 4]
Subject: FW: Map GIS files
Sent: May 17, 2012 7:30 AM

The GIS data is embedded in the file I sent. If you had the proper software/knowledge you could parse it out.

- - -

From: ME
Sent: Thursday, May 17, 2012 12:32 PM
To: [ELECTIONS NL PERSON 4]
Subject: Re: Map GIS files

The data for district boundaries, yes. Not the polling divisions, though. And having recently mapped provincial election results in four other provinces, at a poll-by-poll level, I have a rough idea what I'm looking for and doing.

I'll ask the others, then.

- - -

From: [ELECTIONS NL PERSON 4]
Subject: FW: Map GIS files
Sent: May 17, 2012 7:33 AM

You may contact the author of the file directly if you're looking for further information. His contact info is:

[ENV/CONS PERSON 5]

- - -

From: ME
Sent: May 17, 2012 11:02 AM
To: [ENV/CONS PERSON 5]
Subject: Re: Map GIS files

Where might a body obtain a copy of the GIS files of provincial electoral polling divisions (not districts)?

"Elections NL" is the wrong answer, apparently.

- - -

From: [ELECTIONS NL PERSON 4]
Subject: FW: Map GIS files
Sent: May 17, 2012 11:03 AM

Sorry I may have misunderstood. Polling divisions are not GIS-based but instead are defined by physical boundaries - most notably streets.

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From: ME
Sent: May 17, 2012 12:27 PM
To: [ELECTIONS NL PERSON 4]

Yes, but those polling division boundaries HAVE been mapped.

Using GIS.

By someone.

- - -

From: [ENV/CONS PERSON 5]
To: ME
Sent: Thursday, May 17, 2012 12:33 PM

My understanding was that Elections NL has been working on creating a file for all of their polling divisions. I thought that this work was completed by contract. If they are telling you that it is not available, then I do not know of anyone else who would go to the trouble of creating that data set.

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From: ME
Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 3:39 PM
To: [ENV/CONS PERSON 5]
Subject: Re: NL provincial polling division GIS data

They told me to ask you guys.

I think the technical term is "runaround".

Oh well.

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From: [ENV/CONS PERSON 5]
To: ME
Sent: May 23, 2012 2:42 PM
Subject: RE: NL provincial polling division GIS data

They contracted the work out to the NL statistics agency to create that data set for them. The gentlemans name who did the work for them was [FINANCE PERSON 6]

- - -

From: ME
Sent: May 31, 2012 9:55 PM
To: [FINANCE PERSON 6]
Subject: NL provincial polling divisions

How might a body get the shapefiles (or similar such data sets) of the provincial electoral polling divisions?

- - -

From: [FINANCE PERSON 6]
To: ME
Sent: June 1, 2012 12:37 PM
Subject: NL provincial polling divisions

Maps of the current Provincial polling division boundaries are available at the website of the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer at http://www.elections.gov.nl.ca/elections/Voters/districtmaps.html

Poll boundaries change as conditions warrant. Frequent changes due to ongoing maintenance preclude us from distributing alternate versions of these source files.

- - -

From: ME
To: [FINANCE PERSON 6]
Sent: Friday, June 1, 2012 12:37:22 PM
Subject: RE: NL provincial polling divisions

Those are in PDF format.

I am looking for the GIS files.

I am not worried about "frequent changes" one bit.

- - -

[June 4, 2012: Filed ATI request with Finance for DIGITAL copies of DIGITAL polling division maps]

- - -

[June 11, 2012: First reading of Bill 29]

- - -

[June 14, 2012: Third reading of Bill 29]

- - -


From: ME
To: [FINANCE PERSON 7]
Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2012 1:13:51 PM
Subject: Access to Information request

Have you received my request of June 4th?

- - -

From: ME
To: [FINANCE PERSON 8]
Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2012 10:09:45 PM
Subject: Fwd: Access to Information request

See below:

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: ME
To: [FINANCE PERSON 7]
Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2012 1:13:51 PM
Subject: Access to Information request

Have you received my request of June 4th?

- - -

From: [FINANCE PERSON 8]
To: ME
Sent: Friday, June 22, 2012 12:43:52 PM
Subject: RE: Access to Information request

I am confirming that we have received your request.

- - -

[June 27, 2012: Bill 29 receives Royal Assent]

- - -

From: [FINANCE PERSON 9]
To: ME
Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2012 1:23:49 PM
Subject: Your New ATIPP Request (JUS/17/2012)

Please see attached a letter acknowledging receipt of your ATIPP Request. A paper copy will be mailed this week.

- - -

From: ME
To: [FINANCE PERSON 9]
Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2012 1:42:06 PM
Subject: Re: Your New ATIPP Request (JUS/17/2012)

Will my requests be processed under the ATI act as it subsisted before yesterday, or after?

- - -

From: [FINANCE PERSON 9]
To: ME
Sent: Tuesday, July 10, 2012 8:23:00 AM
Subject: RE: Your New ATIPP Request (JUS/17/2012)

Your requests will be processed under the ATIPP Act as it subsisted after June 27, 2012.

---

From: ME
To: [FINANCE PERSON 9]
Sent: Tuesday, July 10, 2012 9:27:58 AM
Subject: Re: Your New ATIPP Request (JUS/17/2012)

Why?

---

From: [FINANCE PERSON 9]
To: ME
Sent: Thursday, July 12, 2012 12:45:44 PM
Subject: RE: Your New ATIPP Request (JUS/17/2012)

It will be processed this way because subsection 34(2) of Bill 29 states:

"Where, before the coming into force of this Act, an application had been made to a head of a public body, the commissioner or a judge but the head of the public body, the commissioner or judge had not yet begun to consider, review or decide upon the matter, the application shall be considered, reviewed or decided upon in accordance with the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act as amended by this Act."

---

From: ME
To: [FINANCE PERSON 9]
Sent: Thursday, July 12, 2012 12:46:38 PM
Subject: Re: Your New ATIPP Request (JUS/17/2012)

The request was received, and acknowledged to have been received, well before Bill 29 received Royal Assent.

---

From: [FINANCE PERSON 9]
To: ME
Sent: Thursday, July 12, 2012 12:59:05 PM
Subject: RE: Your New ATIPP Request (JUS/17/2012)

As it states below the new amendments apply to ATIPP Requests that were received prior to Royal Assent (June 27, 2012) if the head of a public body "had not yet begun to consider, review or decide upon the matter, the application shall be considered, reviewed or decided upon in accordance with the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act as amended by this Act."

---

July 12, 2012

Excerpt from the cover letter accompanying a data disk containing the long-sought Shapefiles:

Please note that any future request for Shapefiles should be directed to Elections Newfoundland and Labrador as Newfoundland and Labrador Statistics Agency must seek approval before being able to release responsive records pertaining to Shapefiles from Elections Newfoundland and Labrador.

Sincerely,
[FINANCE PERSON 7]

Labels: ,

8 Comments:

At 1:16 PM, September 25, 2012 , Blogger Peter said...

How much do you charge to haunt a house?

 
At 1:38 PM, September 25, 2012 , Blogger WJM said...

How much do you charge to fluff?

 
At 4:01 PM, September 25, 2012 , Blogger Peter said...

$39.95

 
At 11:41 AM, September 26, 2012 , Blogger Interested Party said...

So, a GIS shapefile produced by a public servant will not be provided to a member of the public?

 
At 10:08 AM, October 02, 2012 , Blogger Wm. Murphy said...

and there you have it folks....one of the sick reasons for Bill 29.

Reminds me of the house fly causing havoc in the kitchen

 
At 12:59 AM, October 04, 2012 , Blogger WJM said...

Huh?

 
At 6:46 PM, October 08, 2012 , Blogger Wm. Murphy said...

Huh???

Exactly what I uttered after reading the exchange.....bzzzzz!

 
At 12:05 AM, October 09, 2012 , Blogger WJM said...

Bye, Murph.

 

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