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

I have been playing around with some different sources of speed limit data in the UK and have created a map using OSM (of course). The lack of a complete UK map which can be accessed relatively cheaply is a real problem, the only 'accurate' map I can find costs >£30k per annum to licence and that doesn't have anywhere near 100% coverage.

I think there could be a good opportunity here to build on the various sources I have found so far and get something a whole lot better. In fact, I may even be able to get some funding to do it but the project plan requires the final database to be sold to cover all of the costs.

If my new database is based on the OSM layer then correct me if I'm wrong but I can't stop the customer redistributing it for free. E.g. I could sell the new map for £500 with all of my hard-collected data and the user could simply give it away on a free download.

I had planned to produce a free-to-view map for the public which would have been my way of 'sharing' the results but it's the raw data that holds value.

Can someone put me out of my misery?

asked 17 Sep '12, 21:14

RichardOwen2000's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 17 Sep '12, 21:15

Hi Richard We are currently doing exactly the same can we work on this together.


(17 Sep '12, 21:52) Progressive ...

OpenStreetMap speed limit data is also increasing as time passes, so if you do follow Richard's suggestion below, the timeframe for it making money might be only a couple of years. See for example

(18 Sep '12, 13:07) EdLoach ♦

I have seen the ITOWorld visualisation before, it's very nice.

My motive is less about making profit than actually getting the map right (and I mean 100% right, or at least 99.9%). The map will always need updating though as limits change and relying on volunteers alone probably won't suffice.

(03 Oct '12, 09:46) RichardOwen2000

Hello Richard

Interested in any progress you have made and current obstacles you are up against..


Fred F.

(15 Dec '12, 21:19) Fred F

I have 3 students here in Thy who wants to try building a speed limit map of our local area - we are in Thy Jutland Denmark. I read this thread with interest - though we have no commercial aspect - and also we'd have to contact Danish official map authorities instead of the Ordonance Survey. So if we decided to go with OSM - what would be the technical approach? I saw the word "layer" - can we add a layer of speed limits to the OSM of our region?

(16 Apr '13, 12:51) SteenOluf

Hello SteenOluf, certain kinds of data are not added by layers to the OSM database, there is only one big database with all nodes, ways and relations, where in all cases the maxspeed information is added to each way as a feature, or how we say, a tag.

Get familiar how OSM data model is working, with its elements, therefore read the OSM wiki and in special the wikipage about "maxspeed".

(16 Apr '13, 16:31) stephan75
showing 5 of 6 show 1 more comments

The ODbL does indeed require that, if you add to OpenStreetMap data, you have to make that data freely available under the same terms - that's the quid pro quo for getting access to such a huge amount of geodata. It's what's known as a "share-alike" licence. I'm afraid that 'free-to-view' generally doesn't have any special bearing under open source licences - you'll often hear people make this point with the phrase "free as in speech, not free as in beer".

If you want to build on a UK map database but not share the results, you'd be better off looking at the Ordnance Survey OpenData datasets. These have no "share-alike" requirement, so you can do whatever you want as long as you retain a credit to the Ordnance Survey. Their main datasets are Meridian2 (low-resolution street data, probably the best for your purposes); VectorMap District (may be relevant, but unroutable, only partially attributed, and possibly too high-resolution); and StreetView (a raster product so less relevant).

permanent link

answered 18 Sep '12, 11:15

Richard's gravatar image

Richard ♦
accept rate: 18%

edited 18 Sep '12, 11:41

Thanks for the response Richard. I have looked at Meridian 2 and it's pretty poor compared to other networks I have used in the past. It's OK for free but not a patch on OSM.

I really want to share the data with the public but only charge commercial users a small fee to cover costs as I believe the lack of an accurate speed limit map is holding back road safety projects.

(03 Oct '12, 09:37) RichardOwen2000

As far as our license is concerned, commercial users are part of "the public".

This doesn't mean you cannot try to charge commercial users. You still have something to offer: They will always get the latest version of your dataset, not an outdated version that someone else bought and uploaded a year ago. They have a known, trustworthy data provider (you) that they can contact if they need help or additional services instead of a questionable download. You might even provide different data formats or different extracts on demand. It's your call if that's attractive for your intended audience.

(03 Oct '12, 10:34) Tordanik

Follow this question

By Email:

Once you sign in you will be able to subscribe for any updates here



Answers and Comments

Markdown Basics

  • *italic* or _italic_
  • **bold** or __bold__
  • link:[text]( "title")
  • image?![alt text](/path/img.jpg "title")
  • numbered list: 1. Foo 2. Bar
  • to add a line break simply add two spaces to where you would like the new line to be.
  • basic HTML tags are also supported

Question tags:


question asked: 17 Sep '12, 21:14

question was seen: 11,072 times

last updated: 16 Apr '13, 16:31

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