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Concerning the Nepal mapping project, - the area I've been assigned around (27.86713,86.23494) has vastly better aerial images on Google.

Just wanted to check that it's OK to reference this data without tracing, ie I can check on the nature of a building - for example in the Bing aerial data I see what might be a building, on Google I can see it's a temple, it's named and there are photos available.

  • How much of that info can I use?
  • What's the best way to reference it for other mappers (and possibly for rescuers on the ground)?


asked 29 Apr '15, 00:10

pbhj's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 29 Apr '15, 00:45

aseerel4c26's gravatar image

aseerel4c26 ♦

Just my personal opinion as a mapper, IANAL:

That would be a very very slippery slope (note that you would not only look at a aerial photograph of a building but also using google's georeferencing/positions to find the location). Please just don't use them – maybe except for finding locations to which you want to go on the ground (visit in person) and survey (gps, your personal handwritten/electronic notes, …) and then do your OSM based on your own survey. Also, see the somehow similar (also not about a full tracing) question using-google-satellite-images-to-align-my-paths.

Try other imagery resources OSM is currently allowed to use: currently e.g. Mapbox's aerial images (as preconfigured in iD and JOSM).

As tempting as may be: a HOT activation does not mean to abandon our project's principles. The data which you now add will also stay in the future. If google (or its sat provider) does not want to release images in such situations, it is that way.

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answered 29 Apr '15, 00:19

aseerel4c26's gravatar image

aseerel4c26 ♦
accept rate: 18%

edited 29 Apr '15, 02:51

So I see a blob on the Bing aerial view, could be a patch of scrub, flick to Google and see it's a well defined building ... that's not copying is it? Google don't own the information the image represents only the particular presentation of it.

(29 Apr '15, 01:17) pbhj

@pbhj: yes, saying that some dark spot on bing looks like a building on google is not copying it. But e.g. how do you know at which location to look on google's imagery? Yes, I think this is a grey area – but if we want to have free (as in free speech, not necessarily as in free beer) content, then we cannot possibly infringe other people's rights. This would make our content unfree. By the way, but this is not our problem: as far as I see you would break their "terms of use" (e.g. § 2 (g)).

(29 Apr '15, 01:21) aseerel4c26 ♦

I appreciate the desire to err on the side of caution - S2(g) of Terms I don't think is valid in the UK on the basis the contract can't overrule the allowance under database rights law of such activities (see eg for caselaw). Would be interested to here an IP lawyers take on it. I'll assume however given your rating that you speak authoritatively for OSM in this and abide by your suggested restriction. Thanks.

(29 Apr '15, 02:24) pbhj

@pbhj: in general, if you want to hear people who are possibly more an expert as I am, try to contact the legal talk mailing list (if you like mailing lists). However, I have asked a member of the LWG to comment here. So wait for this.

Please note, that I do not speak authoritatively for "OSM" (whoever this is ;-) ), sorry if something in my previous answer text version made you believe this. I am just a OSM contributor like you.

(29 Apr '15, 02:36) aseerel4c26 ♦

General remarks (too long for a comment):

  • OSM is used globally, what is ok in one country may not be permissible in another, given that the goal of OSM is to provide open data that in as unencumbered by 3rd party rights as possible, we should be very conservative.
  • legal arguing belongs before a court not on the OSM help site and yes there is never a guarantee that you will win so you should realistically consider what it means to loose. Naturally in light of "Database not protected by copyright or the sui generis right — Contractual limitation on the rights of users of the database" google would argue that its imagery is not subject to DB regulation and that their ToS apply.
  • the proper way to resolve the issue is to ask google for permission, in the past (aka the Haiti earthquake) they have given such permission, you should suggest doing so to HOT
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answered 29 Apr '15, 07:51

SimonPoole's gravatar image

SimonPoole ♦
accept rate: 18%

edited 29 Apr '15, 12:15

aseerel4c26's gravatar image

aseerel4c26 ♦

"you should suggest doing so to HOT" - how?

(29 Apr '15, 13:13) pbhj
(29 Apr '15, 13:16) SimonPoole ♦

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question asked: 29 Apr '15, 00:10

question was seen: 6,588 times

last updated: 29 Apr '15, 13:24

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