[OSM-dev] USGS fork of OpenStreetMap

Alan Millar amillar503 at gmail.com
Fri Jul 30 06:04:05 BST 2010

On Jul 29, 2010, at 9:47 AM, Eric Wolf wrote:
> Yes. I realized after I sent the email that I meant to say ODbL but  
> then read more on the wiki about the current license OSM uses: CC- 
> BY-SA. Yet the end result is the same. The USGS is funded to  
> produce public domain data. So either Congress or the President  
> have to change what the USGS is funded to do or OSM can only  
> continue take data upstream from our efforts.

When I started working on OSM, I wondered why some people thought all  
of the data should be PD.  It wasn't until later that I realized that  
this is one of the good reasons for it.

I wish there was a way for a user to flag all their contributions as  
PD in the database, so that if a node or way came from a PD source  
and only had been worked on by PD users, then it would still be PD.    
I'm sure if it were that simple, it probably would be in the works  

I've sent in a few fixes to geonames.usgs.gov for local features when  
they had the wrong name or were significantly out of place.  I wish  
there could be an easy way for me to feed my OSM updates on GNIS  
objects back to the USGS.  For example, a lot of minor alignment like  
moving the school POI from the street to the school grounds, etc.

What would be REALLY cool would be a Potlatch or Mapzen-style OSM  
editor hosted by the USGS, where a user could do updates to OSM and  
GNIS simultaneously.  It could tie in to their OSM account like  
Mapzen does, for full OSM editing.  And it could send a diff of their  
edits on GNIS objects to a usgs reviewer for basic quality control,  
for updates into GNIS.

I think a lot of people would feel really good about not only  
contributing to a community project, but also to an official  
government database too.

- Alan

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