Significant Developments in Geographic Information Systems
Amendments were made to the Geographical Data Permissions Regulation (Permission Regulation) and the Geographical Data License Regulation (License Regulation), and new provisions were introduced regarding geographic information systems by the new regulations in the Official Gazette dated 31 March 2023. Most of the changes are related to geodata licensing. We have summarized below the main amendments in the regulations:
Geographical Data Subject to License/Permit. The definition of geodata subject to permission/license was expanded.
Geographical data subject to permission/license was defined as “data containing more than one location information”
in the former regulations. With the amendments, geographical data subject to permission/license now includes data
containing location information, data that can be associated with a digital map base or address data, and data collected
online or offline from the field via sensors specified in data definition documents.
Classification of Licenses. In the previous version of the License Regulation, geographical data licenses were not classified. With the amendments, the licenses to be obtained are classified as A, B and C group licenses according to which geographical data activity is carried out:
Group A License: It refers to the license to be granted to domestic or foreign real and legal persons in case of collection and/or production, sharing and sale of data.
Group B License: It refers to the license to be granted to domestic and foreign real and legal persons in case of data collection.
Group C License: It refers to the license to be granted to domestic or foreign real and legal persons in case of collection and/or production, sharing and sale of data.
Obligations of persons/organizations that will obtain licenses were differentiated as per the license types.
Information Sharing with the Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change (Ministry). The scope of this obligation, which was also included in the old version of the License Regulation, has been expanded. With the amendments, licensed institutions are now obliged to record the data and data information regarding the activities specified in the license agreement in the electronic infrastructure of the Ministry in the format determined by the Ministry in the periods specified in the license agreement.
Additionally, the licensee companies are obliged to ensure that all kinds of geographical data and data information included in the National Geographical Data Responsibility Matrix are submitted to the National Geographic Information Platform (NGIP), an electronic infrastructure integrated into the e-Government portal created by the Ministry, within the license period.
Obligation to Hire a GIS Specialist. Within the scope of the amendments in the License Regulation, the obligation to employ a Geographical Information System specialist or a geographical information system operator has been imposed on those who want to obtain/renew their licenses according to their license groups. This provision will not apply until 1 January 2025.
Data mining. While License Regulation stated that a license should be obtained when it comes to data mining, the definition of data mining was not regulated. Data mining with the amendments is defined as “all of the activities and transactions carried out to help decision support mechanisms by making it possible to reach useful information, reveal the correlations between the data, and make accurate predictions for the future by using large-scale data that is the subject of cooperation”. Those who will conduct the activities that fall under this definition have been subjected to comprehensive obligations.
Another important amendment to data mining is the payment of the “revenue share” to the Ministry or the relevant public institution. In light of this, the income to be obtained from the data and/or information produced by new data generation and data mining will be shared over the share ratio determined in the protocol to be signed between the Ministry, the data controller institution and the licensee company.
Expiration of Geographical Data Permit. As per the changes in the Permit Regulation; the organizations are obliged to update the geographical data and data information regarding the activity fifteen days before the expiry of the permit period and share it with NGIP and submit the relevant information and documents to the Ministry.
Data will continue to be shared with NGIP after the expiry of the permission period. In case of failure, the data will be submitted to Ministry. Ministry will be able to share these data with or without charge, with the consent of natural persons and private law legal entities.
Sanctions. If the geographical data permission or license is not obtained, or the geographical data license is revoked, real persons and private law legal entities will be deemed to have operated without permission, and within this scope; the owner of the activity will be given at least ten days for the license/permit application. The activities of those who do not apply within the time limit will be suspended and an administrative fine of five times the permit fee will be imposed on them.
With the amendments in the Regulations, it is foreseen that the Ministry will follow a stricter approach, especially with regard to licensing and data usage. Most of the amendments to the Regulations have entered into force on the date they were published. You can reach the License Regulation here (only available in Turkish) and the Permit Regulation here (only available in Turkish).