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Hello everyone,

I'd like to include a few graphs in my Ph.D. thesis with GPS logs displayed on OSM map tiles. My question is how to correctly deal with the CC licence in this case.

I've had a look at and and from what I've learned, my approach would be as follows:

Include in the label below the graph a text like: "Plot of the GPS data of all driving logs. Displayed on map data from OpenStreetMap available under a creative commons CC BY-SA licence, (c) OpenStreetMap-contributors - see and attachment A".

And add an attachment at the end of the thesis with a clarification that all graphs including map data are published under the same CC BY-SA licence + include the Matlab Code for creating the renderings.

I'd deeply appreciate comments on what can be improved or changed.

Clarifications and additional information:

  • I'm no native english speaker and the thesis is written in german. So please kindly ignore typos and weird grammar in this post.
  • The matlab code I've written basically does this: Take a lot of GPS logs and transform them to the OSM map projection for a certain zoom level. Then locate the corresponding tiles on the hard drive (so it requires downloading those first - I've used JTileDownloader and a small dump of ~2000 tiles), import them into a figure and afterwards add all the GPS plots on top.
  • I'd very much like to publish the thesis on a CC-licence which would probably very much simplify the licence attribution for the map graphs, but since many other parties like university and corporate partners need to be involved in this discussion I currently cannot predict the outcome. Issuing a CC-licence for the graphs with map data should be feasible in any case.

asked 16 Sep '14, 11:56

dosox's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 18 Nov '14, 00:49

aseerel4c26's gravatar image

aseerel4c26 ♦

I am in the same situation: I use OpenStreetMap as the background for my scientific results.

Based on the existing literature, the best I found is

Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors, CC BY-SA

(Fig. 1 in Vladimir Vukadinovic, Fabian Dreier, Stefan Mangold, Impact of human mobility on wireless ad hoc networking in entertainment parks, Ad Hoc Networks, Volume 12, January 2014, Pages 17-34, ISSN 1570-8705.) for an image with only OSM data.

So when there are GPS points, or any other information on the map, I would go for:

My GPS points (background: © OpenStreetMap contributors, CC BY-SA)

Possibly with the link to OSM.

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answered 01 May '15, 12:52

antonind's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%


You're approach looks good to me (but then again, I'm the original poster). You may want to add links to and though. has helped me, so you might want to have a look at it.

Cheers, Daniel

(01 May '15, 23:20) dosox_

For such questions, it would be more appropriate to submit your case on the dedicated mailing list:

(subscription required, see

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answered 19 Sep '14, 13:23

Pieren's gravatar image

accept rate: 15%

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question asked: 16 Sep '14, 11:56

question was seen: 6,824 times

last updated: 02 May '15, 00:06

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