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Google Maps was recently updated in my region and it seems that they took some data from OSM, especially landuse-areas and forest paths.

In this comparison it is quite obvious, the gray paths and the landuse-areas were added to Google Maps:

Is Google allowed to do that, even with no attribution to OpenStreetMap?

asked 11 Dec '11, 11:10

tgx's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%


"In this comparison it is quite obvious". really? I don't see anything there which can't be explained by the fact that both google and OpenStreetMap are representing the same real world paths. In fact zooming in and scrutinising the details mostly reveals that they are not using the same data

(11 Dec '11, 17:12) Harry Wood

There are changes that I have put into OSM that have since appeared on Google Maps.

(17 Jan '14, 09:34) Stephen Paulger

Enquiring minds want to know where - can we have a permalink to the area?

(17 Jan '14, 09:38) SomeoneElse ♦

No, they are not allowed to copy without providing an attribution (and to merge it with proprietary data). Yet it is also possible that both OSM and Google Maps used the same third party source for their data.

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answered 11 Dec '11, 12:10

scai's gravatar image

scai ♦
accept rate: 23%


The data is not from OSM, Google bought it from the national carthograpy agencies, e.g. for Germany:

"Germany's Federal Agency for Cartography and Geodesy (Bundesamt für Kartographie und Geodäsie) supplied us harmonized data from surveying and mapping agencies of all 16 federal states (Länder)"
Google Lat Long Blog: Updating the Maps of the United Kingdom, Germany, Finland and Sweden

Most federal state cartography agencies have their own web map viewer, where you can see how detailed their Topo maps are (long before OSM, yet often quite outdated) and that the data is identical to what Google Maps now has. In your case that would be NRWs TIM-online.

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answered 11 Dec '11, 14:30

ikonor's gravatar image

accept rate: 18%

This has happened with walking and cycling paths in my area of the UK which I added to OSM. I added a cyclepath, a public footpath and a number of sets of access steps to the various paths. I used Bing and local knowledge as source data, but did not add source tag. Most of these paths have now been added to Google Maps, although the data is not exactly the same.

I think what Google may be doing is to use the OSM to alert it to paths or tracks which may need surveying, and then to actually 'survey' them itself, either directly or using aerial photography.

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answered 15 Apr '12, 10:39

DoctorRad's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%


Enquiring minds want to know where - can we have a permalink to the area?

(15 Apr '12, 12:31) SomeoneElse ♦

+1 @ Someone

(17 Jan '14, 15:45) malenki

Very obvious in the northern part of Singapore (especially when switching to the "public transport" layer):

The houses are almost identical between Google Maps and OSM (

I guess then it's only fair to take their maps as reference while updating osm ;)

(just kidding)

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answered 01 May '12, 00:51

rene78's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%


If OSM and Google both record what is actually there, the results should be 'almost identical'.

(01 May '12, 18:45) ChrisH

No, of course there are still a lot of houses missing and only a few "hotspots" are completely mapped. And those spots are identical. That is why it's so obvious.

(01 May '12, 21:22) rene78

I've used some of the tools found at and I can't find any areas with suspicious similarities to Google Maps in northern part of Singapore.

(01 May '12, 21:40) gnurk

Thanks for showing me those tools. But it just seems to confirm my thesis. If you check with Geofabrik Map compare it's obvious, that houses in GM are in the same area as in OSM. The only difference is, that the houses in GM are slightly "deformed" and a tad bit moved. I assume they programmed some kind of bot for that.

But maybe I'm wrong, I don't know. It doesn't matter, anyway.

(01 May '12, 21:54) rene78

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question asked: 11 Dec '11, 11:10

question was seen: 7,440 times

last updated: 17 Jan '14, 15:45

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