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I am an artist who does a lot of painting from maps. I would be using the shapes and lines mostly as they are but altering colours. Given the nature of painting by hand, the scale would change to some extent and I wouldn't be using any text. Basically it would be recognizable but very different than the original. I would then want to sell these paintings. Is this acceptable under the creative commons license?

Thank you for any help anyone can give. I think this is a great project and I just want to make sure I'm not doing anything I shouldn't be.

asked 29 Mar '12, 18:27

exitmanifesto's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

retagged 30 Mar '12, 12:03

jaakkoh's gravatar image


Not really on topic, but I cannot resist a link to this map rendering that looks like a painting.

(29 Mar '12, 22:53) Vincent de P... ♦

A painting based on OpenStreetMap maps would most likely be considered a derivative work. The Creative Commons BY-SA license requires that a derivative work is provided under the same license.

This means that you are allowed to sell the paintings, and you are not required to give your paintings to people who don't pay for them. However, people buying the paintings would have the right to create and distribute copies of the paintings as they wish. You would need to inform your customers that they have this right, and that you have used OpenStreetMap data in the creation of the paintings.

If this is acceptable for you, you can stop reading now - this is the easiest way to work with OSM material.

However, there is an alternative solution, as OpenStreetMap will begin to provide its database (not the finished maps) under a new license within the next few weeks: The Open Database License (ODbL).

So far, this answer has been based on the assumption that you start from a ready-made map provided by OpenStreetMap, licensed CC BY-SA. But alternatively, you could run a rendering software yourself to turn the raw OpenStreetMap data into graphics to base your art on. Doing so requires more work on your part, but would give you more choice regarding the license of your paintings. You would still be required to inform your customers that you have used ODbL-licensed OSM data in the creation of the paintings, but your paintings themselves would not have to be licensed freely.

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answered 29 Mar '12, 20:15

Tordanik's gravatar image

accept rate: 35%

Thank you so much for your help! Forgive my ignorance but what kind of rendering software can you use (I'm using a Mac) to use the database files? It seems like it would be a real limiting factor to not be able to sell prints/have people be allowed to make prints of paintings that take hours so creating my own graphics seems like the way to go.

Is there any amount of changes that I could make from the original map to the finished art piece that would not force me to advertise that people can make as many copies as they want?

Thank you again.

(29 Mar '12, 20:34) exitmanifesto

It somewhat depends on your requirements regarding the style of the graphics. A complete overview of rendering software is available; many of those are not at all usable by beginners, though. You might want to start with something relatively accessible like the freeware renderer Maperitive.

By the way, don't forget that the database will only be available under the ODbL after the license change is complete, which might still take a few weeks or so!

(29 Mar '12, 21:22) Tordanik

@exitmanifesto: There's a shortcut/easy way that might work for your purposes very well.

Since you don't (perhaps) need to create printed maps nor something super polished but rather something that looks like a (proper) map -- and inspires you artistic work -- you could use the easily available "Mapnik (true)" Map Paint Style of JOSM, the Java OSM editor.

You can check out this option by:

1) downloading and installing JOSM from ,

2) Choosing Map Settings from Edit > Preferences (it's the third tab from the top on the left pane),

3) activating the Mapnik (true) paint style (choose from available paint styles, click the right-way pointing triangle in the middle of the paint style boxes, and click OK, then

4) activating the Mapnik paint style by first opening the paint style window from the left pane of the main window (its icon is a color palette) and then clicking the box next to "Mapnik (true)" in the Map Paint Styles box -- and unchecking any other styles, and finally

5) downloading data for your desired area.

Unless I missed something or the Mac JOSM works completely differently than Windows or Linux version (which to my understanding it shouldn't), then that might be your solution -- after the license change, that is.

Or did miss something, anyone?

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answered 30 Mar '12, 11:58

jaakkoh's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 30 Mar '12, 12:01

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question asked: 29 Mar '12, 18:27

question was seen: 8,662 times

last updated: 31 Mar '12, 14:21

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum