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I'm in the UK. I am using OpenStreetmap to look at my local area. Is the map that I am looking at, of my local area, the subject of a licence that has obtained from Ordnance Survey? I would like to annotate or tag (whatever it is) my local public footpaths with their ID numbers, as recognised by my local council. Would this be a breach of any copyright? And if so, why? Thanks.

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asked 07 Sep '11, 09:01

richard7117's gravatar image

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To serve as clarification: We must be saying that for information to be added by the public two kinds of permissions must be granted.

If someone produces a map, that map is copyright. That means no-one can copy the identical map and publish it. Now, let us say (in this matter of general principle) permission is given for the map to be published digitally. Is another kind of permission required if additions are made to the map, by the public or anyone for that matter? If the answer is yes, then someone identifying a public footpath, by it's identification number, would be acceptable because:

a) there is permission from the the map maker that data can be added

b) permission from the local council to use the ID numbers in the way proscribed.

As to OSM then, whatever permission has been given by the map maker(s), it does include the right to add to the map. Of course, when I say add, I mean from members of the public, or whoever. This comes under Contributor Terms - not from a general permission derived from OS Opendata arrangements.

This is my understanding.

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answered 07 Sep '11, 14:30

richard7117's gravatar image

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OpenStreetMap is comprised of data that

  • has been surveyed specifically for the project, or
  • has been traced from aerial imagery where the providers have given us permission, or
  • has been 'imported' from other data sources with a compatible licence

In the UK, the last-named includes a small set of Ordnance Survey data known as OS OpenData. However, this does not include footpath information. Maps such as Landrangers and Explorers are not included in OpenData and therefore absolutely must not be used in OSM. You will find that most footpaths in OSM for the UK have been surveyed by volunteers walking them with GPS sets to record their position.

If you would like to add the id numbers for footpaths, you need to either

  • get permission from your local council for them to be used by OpenStreetMap (essentially, you will have to ask them for a disclaimer of copyright), or
  • survey them individually, where they are noted 'on the ground' (typically on signposts)

In general we would strongly recommend the latter. Going out and surveying almost always produces a better result than copying someone else's data, even if you have permission.

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answered 07 Sep '11, 10:44

Richard's gravatar image

Richard ♦
accept rate: 18%

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question asked: 07 Sep '11, 09:01

question was seen: 10,648 times

last updated: 07 Sep '11, 14:30

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