Business Rules

The intended audience for the Geoportal for Mapping Long Island includes Stony Brook University faculty and students as well as all users across a broad spectrum of policymakers, analysts, scientists, planners, businesses, and the general public.  Long Island Geospatial Commons will apply the following business rules for populating the site with resources, including documents, data, maps, and tools.

I. Relevancy


Preference will be given to resources that provide information about the Long Island, NY counties of Suffolk and Nassau. We aim to include a mix of resources that are relevant at different geographical scales, ranging from village, township, and county.

We will include resources with other geographic focuses if the content is relevant to Long Island. Examples could include resources from other areas within New York, around the United States, or as far-reaching as other countries that have relevant parallels (e.g., information about climate change on other islands that may be applicable to Long Island).

Subject Matter

Preference will be given to resources that provide information about or otherwise help to address problems or geospatial phenomena on Long Island.  A guiding consideration is whether the content addresses one or more of the categories: Agriculture, Buildings, Land Use, Coastal Zones, Ecosystems, Energy, Government, Demographics, Public Health, Recreation, Telecommunications, Transportation, History, and Water Resources.

Some decisions about subject matter relevancy of resources will be made on a case-by-case basis by the curator and the content team.

Updates to Information

If Long Island Geospatial Commons contains a resource and a new version or successor is released, the content providers will generally add the new version, retain the old one, and indicate through metadata the relationship between them.

An exception to this might be if an older version was found to have substantial errors, in which case we would not want to encourage its distribution.  Another case might be if data or resources expire, thus creating useless information.

II. Utility

Information type

Long Island Geospatial Commons is intended to help users find data that they can put to practical use.  Preference will be given to information that can be applied “in the field” by practitioners or utilized in some fashion for public benefit.


Long Island Geospatial Commons will include a mix of broadly applicable and narrowly focused material.

Where appropriate, Long Island Geospatial Commons will strive to include resources that will be of use across multiple sectors, although resources of more narrow focus will also be included if important to at least one category (defined above).  


Long Island Geospatial Commons will include resources with the purpose of sharing knowledge and information, but not those meant to influence for financial profit or political purposes.  The main intent of Long Island Geospatial Commons is to support information sharing amongst organizations and entities across Long Island, to better educate the public and to improve cost-effective decision-making within local communities.

Long Island Geospatial Commons may include links to commercial websites, such as companies that provide relevant software tools or analysis. Examples might include links to various leading GIS software developers, links to download software extensions, or links to instructions for downloading mobile phone applications.

Multiple Resources Covering Same Information

In many cases various resources covering similar information will be available.  For these instances, we will provide enough information to allow for the user to draw conclusions about each data set and choose the appropriate data source(s).  Metadata will be provided by the data providers and checked by the curator and site content team.  

III. Credibility


Preference will be given to resources that are widely used by professionals within Suffolk or Nassau counties.  An example might be zoning maps released by a particular township within Nassau County, or information regarding salt marsh habitat in Suffolk County, provided by the NYSDEC.  


Long Island Geospatial Commons (curator and site content team) will accept content that is from reputable sources, such as: peer-reviewed articles, government-created data, data or releases from organizations demonstrating expertise and contributing information pertaining to said expertise, and grey literature and publications, particularly if the information is unbiased and references to peer-reviewed sources are provided.

Citizen-collected information can be provided by accepted data providers if said information has demonstrated rigor (and for which no other widely used resource exists).  The origins of such data should be meticulously noted in metadata or notes provided.

IV. Access


Preference will be given to resources that are available through government websites or other open access sources.

Long Island Geospatial Commons will limit resources which can only be obtained by fee or require registration to access, however, if these resources meet all of our criteria, they will not be excluded, particularly if the fee or registration to access the information is to cover the costs of producing said information (not to make a profit).  

Format of information

Data providers should make documents available for download in the following formats, although Long Island Geospatial Commons holds the right to make exceptions on a case-by-case basis.

  • Microsoft Office (Word .DOCX, Excel .XSLX, .CSV, Access. .ACCDB)
  • Microsoft Office (Word .DOC, Excel .XSL, .CSV)  
  • Adobe Portable Document Format (.PDF)  
  • Photos (.JPEG/.JPG, .PNG, .TIF/.TIFF, .BMP)

Data for GIS or other software programs may be included in different formats. Data providers will share a link to the source and provide key information about the data, enabling users to learn about the format and make decisions on which format (if multiple) to download.  Metadata for each dataset should also be provided. For more information please see our Metadata Best Practices.

Information is only accessible from the original source, and is not held on site by Long Island Geospatial Commons.  Therefore, information, particularly data for GIS or other software programs, can be given in a variety of formats as determined by the data provider.  

V. Disclaimer and Endorsement

Long Island Geospatial Commons includes hypertext links, or pointers, to information created and maintained by other organizations.  Long Island Geospatial Commons only provides these links and pointers for your information and convenience. When you select a link to an outside website, you are leaving the Long Island Geospatial Commons site and are subject to the privacy and security policies of the owners/sponsors of the outside website.

  • Long Island Geospatial Commons does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information contained on a linked website.
  • Long Island Geospatial Commons does not endorse the organizations sponsoring linked websites and does not endorse the views they express or the products/services they offer.
  • Long Island Geospatial Commons cannot authorize the use of copyrighted materials contained in linked websites. Users must request such authorization from the sponsor of the linked website.

Long Island Geospatial Commons is not responsible for transmissions users receive from linked websites.