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The site Wikimapia is similar to OSM in content - it has "tags" that can be places, buildings or everything, and it has roads. Data is collected via user submissions. Wikimapia's license is proprietary - everything in its database is owned by the site owners and they can do whatever they decide with it, including using it for commercial purposes.

Recently I've noticed there is an OSM layer in Wikimapia. An user can switch to it, view the map rendered by Mapnik and copy places he seea to Wikimapia database. It does not happen via some sort of automated downloading and Wikimapia's copy of an object can't be absolutely the same (it depends how precise is the user who copies it), but it is still a data from OSM database copied to Wikimapia.

Is this permitted by the current OSM license? I think that (correct me if I'm wrong) objects in OSM database are "owned" by their creators. What Wikimapians are doing is copying data from an open database into a proprietary database.

asked 03 Nov '10, 10:05

ivanatora's gravatar image

accept rate: 7%

edited 03 Nov '10, 20:44

Jonathan%20Bennett's gravatar image

Jonathan Ben...

As of the "new" wikimapia, OSM tiles are again traceable. These had been removed or blocked previously:

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answered 23 Jul '12, 15:42

Bryce%20C%20Nesbitt's gravatar image

Bryce C Nesbitt
accept rate: 0%

edited 23 Jul '12, 15:42


Hi, Wikimapia team removed the possibility to draw over OSM layer, see here:

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answered 04 Nov '10, 13:48

leonardo18's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%


Hi, Wikimapia team removed the possibility to draw over OSM layer, see here:

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answered 04 Nov '10, 13:47

leonardo18's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%


This is not permitted by the OSM licence (in jurisdictions where the current licence is valid).

Wikimapia is encouraging people to trace from OSM tiles. Such tracings, and therefore the Wikimapia database, are derivative works from OSM. As such, they must be licensed under the same (or compatible) licence terms as OSM, under the "share-alike" provision.

Wikimapia do not offer their data under a compatible open licence. (Indeed, I suspect they cannot, because their data also includes very significant amounts traced from Google imagery, and Google claims rights in this imagery.) For example, Wikimapia expressly forbids commercial use, a restriction which is not compatible with OSM's licence.

I believe that Wikimapia has now been blocked from accessing OSM tiles for this reason: it directly contravenes OSM's Tile Usage Policy ("Do not actively or passively encourage copyright infringement").

If Wikimapia would like to provide OSM tiles for tracing into their database, they must therefore offer their database under an open licence compatible with OSM's.

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answered 04 Nov '10, 12:49

Richard's gravatar image

Richard ♦
accept rate: 18%

edited 04 Nov '10, 12:52

Some things will most certainly be a violation of our copyright. For example if I map all the points of interest in a mall, I often play around with the spacing to improve rendering. That's creative work subject to CC-BY-SA-2. Therefor copying all the PoIs in the mall in the same arrangement into wikimania will be a violation of our copyright.

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answered 03 Nov '10, 11:01

Nic%20Roets's gravatar image

Nic Roets
accept rate: 6%

a) Don't tag for the renderer.

b) In most jurisdictions, the test for a "creative" or "original" work will require it to be "substantial" in some degree. Adjusting the spacing to improve the rendering (which you shouldn't do) may not necessarily pass that test. I wouldn't say "most certainly" with that degree of assurance.

(03 Nov '10, 18:22) Richard ♦

I was referring to multistory malls where GPS receivers do not work. Then the human brain can struggle to accurately recall distance and direction. So by reviewing the placement for rendering purposes, it is quite likely for the brain to recall extra relationships between the PoIs that were not taken into account initially. So tagging for the renderer does not need to come at the expense of accuracy.

(03 Nov '10, 22:40) Nic Roets

In CC-By-SA on definition of Adaptation you can read :

"Adaptation" means a work based upon the Work, or upon the Work and other pre-existing works, such as a translation, adaptation, derivative work, arrangement of music or other alterations of a literary or artistic work, or phonogram or performance and includes cinematographic adaptations or any other form in which the Work may be recast, transformed, or adapted including in any form recognizably derived from the original, except that a work that constitutes a Collection will not be considered an Adaptation for the purpose of this License. For the avoidance of doubt, where the Work is a musical work, performance or phonogram, the synchronization of the Work in timed-relation with a moving image ("synching") will be considered an Adaptation for the purpose of this License.

So by doing this there make an adaptation of OSM content. Btw I'm not specialist. It would be interesting to report this at ML.

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answered 03 Nov '10, 10:49

frodrigo's gravatar image

accept rate: 13%

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question asked: 03 Nov '10, 10:05

question was seen: 9,709 times

last updated: 23 Jul '12, 15:42

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