Massachusetts communities can use bond money over a period of up to ten years to cover the cost of aerial photographs being used for preparing assessors maps (see MGL Ch 44, sect 7(18)). This source of funding could be used, at least in part, to cover the costs of developing orthophotos for a geographic information system.
MassGIS, with the assistance of the State 911 Department, is embarking on a multi-year project to fund digital parcel creation for communities without such data and for an upgrade to Level 3 of our Digital Parcel Standard (Version 2.0) for communities with digital data. This funding will not be in the form of competitive grants; rather MassGIS will manage the contracts for private companies to do the work. Dictated by the State 911 Department, a variety of factors will be considered while prioritizing scheduling of the work for individual communities.
Open Data Consortium
The Open Data Consortium web site distributes a useful document called "10 Ways to Support GIS". The document includes some useful examples from around the country of how GIS projects have brought in revenue.