Sites like naturalearthdata.com and many others (including US agencies such as NASA) provide lots of geographical information. To what extent does OSM want to import this data?

I've found everything from depth of the sea floor to land use/land cover to animal habitat data. I'd like to add it, but I suspect someone has already considered this before and there's a reason for not adding it?

asked 14 May, 20:37

barrycarter's gravatar image

barrycarter
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Generally, OpenStreetMap is a database created by mappers who survey an area or add their existing local knowledge. That's the "value add" compared to other data sets. In addition, OpenStreetMap tends to limit itself to "verifiable" data, which in this context does not mean "you can look it up on naturalearthdata.com" but "you can go there and see for yourself". And thirdly, OpenStreetMap tends to be relatively precise, whereas naturalearthdata.com is a generalised data set made for larger-scale maps.

Data imports do happen, but OpenStreetMap is not meant to be a repository of third-party data. When something is imported into OSM, it needs to be something that we (the community) can take ownership of, and can maintain going forward. If someone just wants naturalearthdata.com data because it has some nice features for map making, it is easy to set up a process that includes some of their shape files in the map creation process. (In fact, the map you can see on openstreetmap.org does contain one generalised boundary data set from naturalearthdata.com.)

See the Import Guidelines for more information.

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answered 14 May, 20:55

Frederik%20Ramm's gravatar image

Frederik Ramm ♦
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question asked: 14 May, 20:37

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