Date of Award

August 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Rina Ghose

Committee Members

Rina Ghose, Zengwang Xu, Marcy Bidney


Digital Divide, Geographic Information, GIS and Society, Map and Geography Libraries, Open GIS, Spatial Data Infrastructure


This research explores public geospatial data sharing in Wisconsin. The research is informed by literature on GIS and Society, Participatory GIS, Spatial Data Infrastructure, Information Justice, The Digital Divide, and Library and Information Science. Original research consists of a survey and follow up interview to public land information professionals in Wisconsin gauging their interest in a UW System-wide geographic information portal for distributing public spatial data to UW System users. The research finds that social and institutional rather than technical factors are major drivers of data-sharing activities in Wisconsin. However, technical aspects of geographic information are changing quickly with a move to more hosted services in the cloud. This research explores how this shift influences data-sharing, academic library GIS services, and university level education. While social and institutional influences are critical, GIS professionals, students, and educators must be ready for the cloud.