Hi, I am completely new to OpenStreetMap but as an academic spatial person I love the idea. I study malaria and one of the things we are interested in doing is mapping which households have malaria in a region. This requires data on the locations of all households in an area, which in most developing countries simply isn't known. I am trying to think creatively about how it might be possible to map the locations of households (and possibly define things like roof type), rivers and waterbodies without having to actually visit them all with a GPS. It strikes me that there is a lot of crossover with OpenStreetMaps, although unless I'm mistaken, I don't think it is currently possible to use satellite imagery like Google Earth for tracing/digitizing in OSM.

I know a group who have farmed off 1km x 1km tiles of Google Earth imagery to users of Amazon Mechanical Turk who then mark the locations of households which is kind of what I was thinking, although I would like to do it for free. I'm also not sure a) whether this breaks Google's copyright laws b) whether there is a better way. I'd love to hear people's thoughts/ideas. This could make a huge difference to us and to many other partners who would like to know where people live in the deprived settings.

Thanks a lot!

asked 08 Oct '13, 21:38

HughSt's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 08 Oct '13, 23:34

SomeoneElse's gravatar image

SomeoneElse ♦

You surely are breaking Google's copyright terms by "farming" their aerial imagery. Microsoft allowed the use of Bing's aerial imagery for OSM tracing. Other uses may be forbidden. For the water bodies/rivers, there are utilities available, like the Lakewalker plugin for JOSM. Note that an algorithm that could reliably trace households directly from aerial imagery without human intervention (if someone somehow developed it) would be very valuable.

Edit: Sorry, I missed the part "I know a group that...". So, you didn't break any copyright law...

(09 Oct '13, 16:38) MCPicoli

That sounds exactly like what The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) does. They have their own tasking manager to divide the areas into squares to help volunteers do the mapping instead of mechanical turks. Bing has allowed us to use their aerial imagery for tracing in general for OSM, so we don't need to worry about Google copyright. In the cases where better imagery is needed HOT has the contacts and experience for getting other imagery sources for humanitarian purposes.

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answered 09 Oct '13, 03:25

Dymo12's gravatar image

accept rate: 12%

Even when the goal is not humanitarian, OSM is arguably the best way to crowdsource geographical data.There are currently 93 million buildings in OSM, with many (most ?) hand-traced from Bing satellite imagery, and growing constantly.

(09 Oct '13, 10:38) Vincent de P... ♦
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question asked: 08 Oct '13, 21:38

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last updated: 09 Oct '13, 16:39

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