[OSM-dev] A bit of developer philosophy...

Chris Browet cbro at semperpax.com
Fri Sep 26 10:39:53 BST 2008

> If someone _has_ genuine, self-researched KML (why?), it's not much of a
> hurdle to use gpsbabel to convert it to GPX (cf other discussion ;) ). Their
> GPX will then fail because there are no timestamps, so they will look at our
> FAQ, find out why, and then realise the dangers of importing copyrighted
> data.

On the matter at hand, I tend to think that gpsbabel is as evil as the site
you mention later. As you say, an unaware, well-intentioned, user might as
well convert some copyrighted KML to GPX. If this GPX will be rejected
directly on OSM, there would be no problem importing it in Merkaartor, just
that there won't be a "big-fat warning".

> But if you offer an import option, you'll get people simply importing a big
> heap of KML they created with Google geodata because it's really easy and it
> simply hasn't entered their mind that there might be a problem. It _might_
> be ok if you were to add a load of boilerplate explaining the risks, but (a)
> people won't read it, (b) good luck explaining the intricacies of derived
> works within the space of one dialogue box.
> For me, the clincher is that (when it's misused) the offending author will
> just disappear, and some other poor sod is going to have to go back and
> remove all the copyrighted data. I would rather our mappers spent time
> creating new stuff than undoing other people's vandalism.

I have given thought to this one. I was thinking about some read-only hidden
(Merkaartor-wise, of course) KML batch id which would be uploaded to OSM. A
copyright infringment being detected, it would be pretty simple via a client
and the OSMXAPI to delete the offending features.

- Chris -
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