I don’t know how long this link will stay live on the New York Times’s site; after a few days, they deny access to their archives. Nonetheless, I invite pilots’ (and citizens’) attention to an issue that will affect all of us: the Pentagon’s proposal to end public access to the topographical / aeronautical data from its main mapping agency. This is the “DAFIF” data that is used in countless charts. The DAFIF issue has been raised in other aviation discussion boards; it actually is important, IMHO.
If the link above doesn’t work, here are the relevant paragraphs (which I can quote by “fair use” standards, and because it’s by me):
In reply to:
Next up, public access to publicly financed data. Previously I mentioned the Bush administration’s admirable decision to let the National Weather Service keep distributing its data on free Web sites, rather than funneling it through commercial services. But now the administration is proposing an enormous step in the opposite direction.
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, or N.G.A., is the main map-producing office in the Pentagon. Its detailed topographic studies, produced at public expense, have for decades been the basis of many other products; in particular, virtually every chart used by the nation’s airlines relies on the agency’s data. Citing security concerns and a few other reasons, the administration now proposes to withdraw all of its aeronautical material from public use on Oct. 1. Through June 1, the N.G.A. will accept comments on this proposal at its Web site, http://www.nga.mil>http://www.nga.mil.http://www.cartographic.com, and let the agency hear from you.
Updated PS: Here is the link for the comment form at the DOD’s site. It’s a PDF and loads slowly.