What is the official policy on sourcing things like street and road names from other sources, like published maps? There are a number of places where road data has been sourced from tracing Bing or other sources, but without the street names. Can these names be sourced from maps, and should this be sourced, and how? If it is a case of 'verifying personal knowledge' or 'helping you remember", does this make a difference?

asked 22 Nov '11, 07:01

robbak's gravatar image

robbak
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Even if it was legal to copy names etc from in copyright published maps (which may depend on the local legislation), we only want to use sources which we have either been explicitly allowed to use in OSM (and have a compatible licence) or have whatever the local equivalent of public domain status is.

That said, my personal opinion, besides copyright issues, is that it is counterproductive to simply use the same sources that everybody else uses. One of the greatest values of OSM is that it is an independently surveyed dataset and doesn't copy the same errors everybody else has. Further we should really only enter data into OSM that we can long term maintain and keep up to date, in other words information that we can survey ourselves.

Note: there is no such thing as "official" in OSM, only a rough community consensus that is open to interpretation.

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answered 22 Nov '11, 07:22

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SimonPoole ♦
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edited 22 Nov '11, 08:40

Even using them to "help you remember" is dubious at best. If you're just unsure between "High Street" and "Main Street" that might be ok, but if you want the correct spelling of "Mc Loughlin Street" it's not ok any more : the map you're looking up might very well have an error (intentional or not) and you'll have a hard time proving that you looked it up "just to double-check".

Even photos you didn't take yourself (aka gg streetview) are dangerous, because they're often out of date.

My advice : do your mapping with a digital camera. And if when you double-check an existing map there's any discrepancy with your own data or memory, dont trust that other map.

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answered 22 Nov '11, 11:13

Vincent%20de%20Phily's gravatar image

Vincent de P... ♦
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There seems to be quite a strict policy on this: No copying from anywhere, besides non-copyrighted (public, domain, copyright expired), compatibly licensed (explicit permission, general licence).
This is based on the assumption that OSM tries to create maps, not to explore the limits of IP law. Verifying personal knowledge or helping remember should be ok (unlike systematic reproduction).

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answered 22 Nov '11, 09:11

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LM_1
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So just to clarify: an area I'm mapping is only sparsely signed. Whereas those same trails and fire roads are often named on local government agency maps, such as those produced by the county open space district. Those maps don't appear to be copyrighted. Should I use the names from that source, or rely strictly on what I record in the field?

(22 Nov '11, 18:50) barte

If those government agency maps are really not copyrighted or protected by eg. database law, you can freely use them, citing them as source.
"don't appear to be copyrighted" does not sound very sure though. I recommend to start copying only after you can say "certainly not protected in any way"

(22 Nov '11, 18:57) LM_1

Hard to tell. I'm describing maps with no obvious copyright notice. But not with, say, a Creative Commons license either. I do think there's something to the idea of only tagging what you can verify with your own eyes and, perhaps, a camera. As a rule of thumb, that's an easy one to follow.

It's interesting: With Wikipedia, sourcing (though not copying) copyrighted material is encouraged, original research is discouraged. With OSM, it's the reverse.

(23 Nov '11, 14:39) barte
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In general copyright notices are not required to get protection, the absence of one does not indicate that the source is suitable for OSM.

(23 Nov '11, 15:50) SimonPoole ♦

Point taken. I'm going to be more conservative in my tags. Thanks.

(26 Nov '11, 03:23) barte
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question asked: 22 Nov '11, 07:01

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