As 13 September is fast approaching, some areas of the world that now enjoy high-resolution Yahoo imagery coverage, will soon be left without. Last year the OSM community was permitted by Microsoft to use its Bing imagery and that is a great addition to the OSM tool box, but there is a difference in coverage between Bing and Yahoo and without an alternative available, this meens a setback for mappers in affected areas, including myself. I expect Bing coverage will be expanded over time, but untill that happens mapping projects in forementioned areas will be forced to suspend or slow down their activities.

Yahoo is directing developers towards business partner Nokia Ovi Maps for replacement of their own services. Ovi seems to cover the same areas that are currently covered by Yahoo and more, including areas not covered by Bing. I'm curious whether or not Ovi has been considered as a source for satellite imagery? If so, will Ovi become available as a source? Have there been made any other efforts in securing additonal soures for satellite imagery?

asked 28 Jul '11, 01:46

Arie%20Scheffer's gravatar image

Arie Scheffer
accept rate: 0%

If someone could just close this question and delete it, then we could discuss it in on more appropriate forum (if someone would be so kind to let me no which one is best).

(28 Jul '11, 15:54) Arie Scheffer

OpenStreetMap is not primarily an aerial imagery tracing project. While, as you say, aerial imagery can be a very useful additional source for mapping, aerial imagery is not, and should not be, a core ingredient of OSM. If there are indeed "mapping projects [that] will be forced to suspend their activities" because they cannot use aerial imagery, then I wonder whether OpenStreetMap was the right thing for them in the first place.

OpenStreetMap has occasionally received positive feedback for action that was mainly driven by aerial imagery - e.g. the early tracing of Baghdad, or the Haiti work - but this should not detract from OSM's core mode of operation, which is to assemble a local community to act as a steward for data they have contributed. "Armchair tracing" where well-meaning OSMers try to "map" an area they've never set foot in from aerial imagery may be a nice pastime for some but it is not sustainable and doesn't bring the current and local knowledge which is so valuable to OSM.

Having said that, anyone is free to talk to potential providers of aerial imagery and ask them whether they would consider allowing the use of their data for OSM purposes. If you do so, it is important to get the license issue right. The imagery provider might say, in order of descending preference:

  • "We have all rights to the imagery but we don't believe we have any rights to data traced from it, so do what you want." - this is more or less the position that Yahoo was taking.

  • "We have all rights to the imagery and we believe that we also have all rights to data traced from it, but we will say that any tracing with the purpose of uploading to OSM is ok." - this is more or less the position that Bing are taking.

  • "We have all rights to the imagery and we believe that we also have all rights to data traced from it, and we allow anyone to distribute such traced data under [license or list of licenses]." - this is ok if the license is either (preferred) an attribution-only license (CC-BY) or a list of licenses that at least contains CC-BY-SA 2.0 and ODbL.

permanent link

answered 28 Jul '11, 08:18

Frederik%20Ramm's gravatar image

Frederik Ramm ♦
accept rate: 24%


With all due respect to Frederik, I consider OSM debuts a bit like Wikipedia's. Wikipedia today would just be a vague remembrance of an ambitious and hollow wiki if there hadn't be the huge, armchair-driven, once-at-a-time input of an old (and then free) english dictionnary that turned it almost exhaustive in the english language. Then, as it was useable, it started to be filled up 'à la wiki'. To me any wiki project with a worldwide ambition should remember this --and will anyway behave like this: quickly get a critical mass, or die. (continues next comment)

(28 Jul '11, 08:48) Herve5

Local-community-operations are cool and all, but they will never fill up a country exhaustively. While I consider my own country definitely useable, I noticed that my parent's remote village, with just no tourist appeal no main road around, was just a point in OSM. In such a case armchairs help, and also, maybe more than armchairs, block uploading of large chunks of data coming from free sources are vital. Dearly vital. These last ones only can come from expert people, not only on mapping but also on server computing. But honestly, local communities only can take on once bulk is initiated...

(28 Jul '11, 08:54) Herve5

@Frederik & Richard, I would have liked to have posted my question at a better suited place than this one, but there doesn't seem to be happening much at my local mailing list recently and as people are warned off from subscribing to the general talk-list -"For general OpenStreetMap user discussion. High traffic!"- I didn't know a better place where to put my question. If one of you knows where I could get an answer for my question, I would greatly appreciate it.

(28 Jul '11, 14:04) Arie Scheffer

Herve5, the idea that one has to have some substance at first to attract (more) people locally is one we often hear with regards to data imports, but I believe it is wrong; I even believe that by air-dropping data from afar you actually hurt the budding local community. See video from SOTM-EU import panel. If you want to continue this discussion, please choose a suitable medium (talk mailing list).

(28 Jul '11, 15:21) Frederik Ramm ♦

I go to see the video Frederik, and will stop discussing here (I should maybe delete my comments). Just to make my position clearer: I definitely believe in local updating and local 'maintenance' of the map, indeed I consider the destiny of OSM will be, like Wikipedia, to become entierely local-maintained. But i am a realist. In my parent's lost tiny village there will never be a mapping party. On OSM, either it will be 'armchair-added', or will remain just a point. Which would be wrong. It doesn't prevent me to believe, in three years from now all will be polished and updated by locals...

(28 Jul '11, 18:24) Herve5
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question asked: 28 Jul '11, 01:46

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last updated: 28 Jul '11, 18:25

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