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

I accidentally stumbled on to UC San Diego Digital Collections website while looking up for something else. There are about 1000-ish old maps, e.g. nautical charts which may be useful to add names of hydrographical features.

Looks fine to use, for example, this nautical chart is in Public Domain. However, this particular bit of statement has baffled me:

Use: This work is available from the UC San Diego Library. This digital copy of the work is intended to support research, teaching, and private study.

Constraint(s) on Use: This work may be used without prior permission.

The Public Domain label is clear cut, but is there any other legal implications before I can start using them?

asked 02 May '17, 13:17

AkuAnakTimur's gravatar image

accept rate: 6%

edited 02 May '17, 13:18

In general the licence/copyright information for maps distributed by US institutions can not be trusted and you need to investigate what the actual source of the map(s) was and if it was produced from original survey or if it is simply a re-labelled work from a third party.

The easy way to find out is to ask the distributor to warrant that the licence information is correct and indemnify you against any claims from third parties.

permanent link

answered 02 May '17, 14:01

SimonPoole's gravatar image

SimonPoole ♦
accept rate: 18%

edited 02 May '17, 16:59

Clicking through, it shows the agency of the US government that released the map. If released by a US government agency it is public domain. And a further click though shows other maps they have from that agency some of which are old enough (pre-1923) that they would be in the public domain regardless of the original copyright.

My concern with using them for getting hydrological names is that they may have the US name for the feature and not the local name.

(02 May '17, 15:48) n76

Hi stf, use the name:us=name tag then and hope or make a note to stimulate other mappers to add the local names.

(02 May '17, 16:20) Hendrikklaas

What does it say at the bottom of the page? "From British and Netherlands government survey", likely these were simply maps that were copied, so while the US government might not have any rights in the maps, others may well have some.

(02 May '17, 17:08) SimonPoole ♦

@Hendrikklaas, for names in English, one has to use name:en . We do not use country codes in combination with name

(03 May '17, 06:55) escada

(re language vs country code) shows one way to do it when the same language (but different locales) have different names.

(03 May '17, 08:40) SomeoneElse ♦

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: 02 May '17, 13:17

question was seen: 1,898 times

last updated: 03 May '17, 08:40

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