[Imports-us] Palo Alto, CA Building Outlines import

stevea steveaOSM at softworkers.com
Tue Jul 23 07:37:26 UTC 2013

Hello John:

The Terms of Use are either compatible with ODBL or not.  If you 
wanted to spend some expensive time, you might get an IP lawyer to 
help you determine that.  Better, end run that:  you need not accept 
these Terms.  Present Palo Alto with a counter-offer and some news. 
You might read up the LA Times article 
on the recent California Supreme Court case regarding digital mapping 
files being public records.  There was also a similar case in Santa 
Clara County in 2010 (2011?).  I am not an attorney, just a Citizen.

Politely request the data from Palo Alto as public records, 
essentially rejecting the stated Terms.  Together with the California 
Public Records Act (which compels data produced by public trustees to 
be released for only actual copying costs -- unless they meet certain 
qualified legal exceptions like personnel records) the records should 
be yours without strings attached.  For digital records, copying 
costs often cost just a pittance or are free if you offer a USB drive 
or blank DVD-ROM media, though since they seem to be already 
published on the web, it is the discussion and understanding (by Palo 
Alto that their Terms are outdated and not binding) that are 
important.  If they hand you a CD-ROM with properly requested public 
records, there can be no Terms:  they are already public records, and 
were just handed to you as such!

Reminded of Palo Alto's public duty to offer you/us our (not their) 
data, the records are (according to the Court's decision) yours 
already without those terms.  Do a little research, and/or just ask: 
you'll discover that when worded carefully, politely and correctly 
these strategies can and do work.  It may be helpful if a person who 
lives in the City of Palo Alto (a beneficiary of that public trust) 
makes the formal CPRA request, but I don't think that is strictly 
required, just a suggestion.

This is a powerful time for citizen requests of geographic data from 
public trustees in California.  The data are ours, especially as you 
make them yours.  Now that you have identified these records, enjoy 
them under your terms, not artificially-created Terms that appear to 
me to be an improper taking by the City.  Take back what's yours. 
You could pony up some lawyerly fees that set somebody back too much, 
and play a rich game with expensive imagined rights-dickering.  But I 
don't recommend that, it can get expensive.  As Palo Alto's 
insistence upon such Terms fades away in light of the Court's 
decision, such sand-castles-in-the-air will fall away eventually on 
their own.  Just lean against them gently and watch them crumble. 
They have ten days to produce records (especially when specifically 
identified) once you start the CPRA request clock.

I'm also glad to hear of the business names, apartment names, et 
cetera.  Good show, everybody!

If I had one suggestion to make about such a manual conflation of 
imported data it would be to break apart the large .osm file your 
workflow has created into 500 kilobyte to 2 megabyte chunks, arranged 
geographically in an easy-to-identify grid or snail (like 
arrondissements in Paris) pattern.  These can be given out to 
multiple people, and each person checks another person's work before 
it gets uploaded.  Yes, you can do this with as few as two people 
(and I have done so, with the Monterey County FMMP data), but it is 
better with three or more.  It doesn't work well with one, unless you 
have (as you are requesting) a QA Plan.  We could work on specifics 
of that in greater detail if you wish, off-list.

California (a great place for making geographic data-based public 
records requests)

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