I'd like to use online maps published by local park systems to add park boundaries to OSM. My idea is to use the maps along with Bing aerial photos to determine the boundary locations. Is this OK or might it be an infringement? The maps don't have copyright notices on them, if that matters.


asked 12 Feb '13, 21:39

oobleck's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 12 Feb '13, 22:51

Vclaw's gravatar image



Thanks for the input. I'll contact the park systems to see if I can get permission to use their maps, or even better if I can get the data electronically -- that hadn't occurred to me.

(13 Feb '13, 14:57) oobleck

Hi Oobleck, Welcome, your starting the right way, beiing a new member with the idea to contribute to the OSM community. Most of the time you would upload traces out of your GPS system. So in this case could you tell a little more about the maps youll using ? The best way to copy the boundaries is tracing them, it gives you a nice time outside in the Free Air. Please look at the Wiki at How to upload traces or maps and the conditions youll have to live by. Greetz

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answered 12 Feb '13, 22:36

Hendrikklaas's gravatar image

accept rate: 5%


Unfortunately the park boundaries aren't marked on the ground, so I can't map them myself but must rely on maps. The maps are published online and on paper by local park systems; here's an example: Park map

I planned to look at these maps to locate the boundaries relative to GPS tracks I've uploaded and landmarks visible on aerial images. This wouldn't be the most accurate method, but better than nothing. I wouldn't be tracing the maps; would this be acceptable?

(13 Feb '13, 01:55) oobleck

Aren't park boundaries matter of public record? I mean, they are not exactly secret, so maybe you would do a lot better by asking the operator of the park for a public domain dataset of their parks?

(13 Feb '13, 09:43) gormo

Please do not copy directly or indirectly from any source that is likely to be protected by copyright (as the map in question).

If in doubt the simple rule is: don't copy.

In the specific case, the best approach is likely to be to approach the organisation in question and ask for explicit permission to include the data in OSM (for example by tracing from the map). If you get such permission, please add a clear source tag to the changesets you generate and document it in the wiki.

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answered 13 Feb '13, 06:29

SimonPoole's gravatar image

SimonPoole ♦
accept rate: 18%


To put it another way, the maner in which you copy from a copyrighted source does not mater. Wether you're automatically importing vector data, tracing over, or just reproducing names or geometry from memory, it's still the same act of copying copyrighted data. The argument that, in the later case, only non-copyrightable facts remain, is annoyingly not strong enough. See also "map easter eggs".

(13 Feb '13, 09:12) Vincent de P... ♦
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question asked: 12 Feb '13, 21:39

question was seen: 3,436 times

last updated: 13 Feb '13, 15:44

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