[OSM-legal-talk] Google awarded patent on automatic correction of road geometry from imagery

Michael Collinson mike at ayeltd.biz
Wed Jun 4 09:26:46 UTC 2014

This comes to me via Simon Poole, so the OSMF board is aware.


The invention claimed is a "A computer-implemented method" so I am not 
sure scan-reading the patent whether that includes humans looking at 
digital imagery and making db corrections via computer. If so, then 
obviously (our) prior art is going to blow this apart. If not, then 
anyone working on automated road detection algorithms should be aware.

Interestingly, if you scroll down through the patent itself, you'll see 
that they specifically mention correcting US TIGER data.



Map data are overlaid on satellite imagery. A road segment within the 
map data is identified, and the satellite imagery indicates that the 
road segment is at a different geographic position than a geographic 
position indicated by the map data. The endpoints of the road segment in 
the map data are aligned with the corresponding positions of the 
endpoints in the satellite imagery. A road template is applied at an 
endpoint of the road segment in the satellite imagery, and the angle of 
the road template that matches the angle of the road segment indicated 
by the satellite imagery is determined by optimizing a cost function. 
The road template is iteratively shifted along the road segment in the 
satellite imagery. The geographic position of the road segment within 
the map data is updated responsive to the positions and angles of the 
road template.

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