[OSM-dev] OpenStreeetMap and X-Plane for collecting GIS data

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Thu Oct 30 18:38:25 GMT 2008


Ben Supnik wrote:
> X-Plane would benefit from the existing shared data collection 
> infrastructure of OSM.  OSM would benefit from a group of user's data 
> collection efforts increasing the fidelity of the map.

I'm all for adding aviation related stuff to our database.

But keep in mind the license issue. Whatever you enter into 
OpenStreetMap is generally, currently considered CC-BY-SA licensed, no 
matter how trivial or factual the information is. That means if you 
later extract that data and combine it with something else into, say, a 
scenery file, CC-BY-SA mandates that the final product (the scenery 
file) be CC-BY-SA licensed as well - and that means *not* public domain, 
*not* GFDL, *not* GPL. This is ok for you as long as your other data 
sources are CC-BY-SA or of another license that does not have a viral 
componenent (PD, BSD, US gov't data), but as soon as your other data 
includes something that is viral itself, e.g. GFDL, then you have a 
collision that means the end product would have to be exclusively 
distributed under two different licenses which, of course, is impossible.

If this is an issue for you, you would have to try and work with a 
"collected" instead of "derived" work, i.e. your flight simulator would 
have to individually read one file from OSM (CC-BY-SA licensed) and 
another file from other data sources (whatever licensed). That would 
work, but as soon as you combine both data sources into one 
non-separatable whole then the viral license applies.

Martin Spott, of FlightGear, has from time to time raised this issue 
here but not received satisfactory answers I believe (google for 
flightgear and site:lists.openstreetmap.org). Unless X-Plane and 
FlightGear are sworn enemies, it would certainly make sense to try and 
join efforts with him!

There is a planned change in license, and you'll find a lot more than 
you want to know about this over at our legal-talk mailing list (to 
which I'm cc'ing this), however I'm unsure whether this license change 
would make things easier for you. The key element of the new license is 
to allow "spin-off" products to have any license as long as any 
improvements made to OSM data in the course of generating the spin-off 
product are licensed under that same license, i.e. the new license 
attempts to go one step back in the production chain and affect the 
database that leads to the end product, instead of the end product itself.

Another possible way out of the quagmire is to ask your contributors to 
explicitly state that everything they add to OSM should be considered to 
be in the Public Domain, thus effectively dual-licensing their 
contribution; but as soon as someone not on that list makes a nontrivial 
change to any of these data objects, they would again fall under the OSM 
license and be "lost" to anyone who wants to make a PD extract.

I'm sure this is solvable somehow but you'll probably have to invest 
some brainpower to find a solution that works for everybody.


Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"

More information about the dev mailing list