[OSM-legal-talk] Adding UK post box information

Ed Avis eda at waniasset.com
Wed Jul 1 11:18:42 BST 2009

In Britain, the postal service has supplied a text file listing all
post boxes.  Each box has a 'ref' looking like 'W1 106', and of course
it has a location in the real world.  The text file doesn't give
lat/long or grid references, just the name of the street or
intersection.  Sometimes the address given is precise enough to deduce
the location of the postbox by looking at the OSM map, but other times
when it just gives a street name you must find the post box by hand.

The original file, converted into tab-separated format, can be
downloaded here: <http://edwardbetts.com/postboxes/postboxes.tsv>

<http://www.dracos.co.uk/play/locating-postboxes/> is a project to
locate all the post boxes on the list.  Its data partly comes from
OSM, but also from people manually locating a post box on the map
based on the street name given in the text file.  "By submitting, you
agree to place the location you submit in the public domain."

I would like to import this data into OSM - to add post box nodes with
'ref' tags.  As far as I can tell this data is in the public domain;
mere facts are not covered by copyright, and the lat/long data has
been derived by hand using the addresses in the file (and OSM data) as
a guide.  I know that some people (who are not lawyers any more than I
am) have differing opinions, and feel that any information derived
from the list of postboxes must still be subject to the Royal Mail's
copyright somehow.  (In which case I would argue that copying the
'ref' and delivery time information from the notice on the front of
each postbox must be equally infringing.)  Anyway, because there is
disagreement, I wanted to check with you people before doing anything.

Can the manually located postboxes, based on OSM data and a list of
postbox street locations from the Royal Mail, be added to OSM?

Ed Avis <eda at waniasset.com>

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