Bing offers some aerial imagery for use by osm editors, in osm editor apps, via an API. “Bird's Eye” is Microsoft's name for a separate category of their imagery. It contains amazing, high-resolution photos from low-flying aircraft, but it is only available in select areas, is often at rather oblique angles, and is poorly aligned. Back to osm, I found an earlier question here, on the use of Bird's Eye imagery, with only one answer, which said it is not permitted.

That answer cited the Bing Maps wiki article, which did make explicit that it was not allowed by Microsoft's license. But some time later, an edit to the article removed the mention of the Bird's Eye restriction, with commit comment "precision". It's remained unmentioned there since then.

Is the Bird's Eye imagery use disallowed?

In an effort to determine the state of things for myself, I read the related ToU, "Microsoft® Bing™ Maps Imagery Service Editor Application APIs Terms of Use"

By my layperson reading of it, the following text seems to be all the relevant bits (unaltered, but heavily-trimmed, and emphasis mine):

      2. What rights do I have?
            …
            Further, we grant you the limited right to use Street Side imagery provided by the StreetSide API in read-only format solely as an additional source of corroborating ground truth within OpenStreetMap editing environments. You may not use the StreetSide API to extract StreetSide imagery or for any other use.

            Restrictions on your use: We do have some restrictions on your use of the service. You may not:
                - use Bird's Eye, StreetSide, or Photosynth imagery (except as expressly set forth herein).

—and that's it. So Bird's Eye, StreetSide, and Photosynth imagery are explicitly restricted, except where they make exceptions. And there's only one exception: StreetSide for corroboration of ground truth while in an osm editor apps.

I'd hate for us to be violating Microsoft's generous license. Before I correct the wiki or go around the forum commenting on mentions of using Bird's Eye, I wanted to get the the bottom of it. Can you settle the matter?

asked 15 Jun, 14:37

Joel%20D%20Reid's gravatar image

Joel D Reid
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accept rate: 0%

Basically you are allowed to use Bing imagery which appears in editors and not that which appears on the Bing site. Removing reference to Bird's Eye seems appropriate in a paragraph discussing the pitfalls of assuming standard orthoimagery is correctly rectified.

(15 Jun, 16:51) SK53 ♦

@SK53 Agreed. I think the problem is any who read the wiki and head off to start mapping with the naïve takeaway, "Bing imagery is a licensed source!"

(15 Jun, 16:57) Joel D Reid
(19 Sep, 14:53) eteb3
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question asked: 15 Jun, 14:37

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