[OSM-legal-talk] Interesting use case of combining OSM with proprietary data

Christoph Hormann chris_hormann at gmx.de
Fri Jan 12 12:20:06 UTC 2018

On Friday 12 January 2018, Rory McCann wrote:
> As near as I can see, the only data they are distributing (publicly)
> is the 2 GeoTIFF files in the "map.ox.ac.uk" page. The question is:
> Is a GeoTIFF file created like this from OSM data which has been
> mixed with other data, a Produced Work, or a Derived Database?

No, that is not significant - see 4.4c of the ODbL:

Derivative Databases and Produced Works. A Derivative Database is
Publicly Used and so must comply with Section 4.4. if a Produced Work
created from the Derivative Database is Publicly Used.

So the question is only if there is a derivative database involved in 
the production of the GeoTIFF, not if the GeoTIFF itself is a 
derivative database.  My view would be that the aggregation of data 
from the OSM database and the Google roads data when creating the 
raster map constitutes a derivative database even if the two data sets 
are not physically merged into a common table because this happens on 
the fly.  See:


"Technically a reference between non-OSM and OSM data can be by a 
database key or any other method of identifying a specific OSM or 
non-OSM element that may be used with a database join."

So if for the purpose of creating the raster map you query all OSM roads 
within each pixel, determine which Google roads are within a pixel size 
distance of the pixel center (or something like that) and calculate the 
minimum friction value of those this is technically "a reference 
between non-OSM and OSM data" IMO.

> *But* (possibly stupid question time) I'm reading the ODbL and it
> (Sec 4.6) only requires that you make the derived database available
> *or* the original scripts, and original contents. By releasing the
> GeoTiff file(s) they've fulfilled Sec 4.6(a), no?

No, the GeoTIFF is quite clearly a produced work as per the ODbL:

"a work (such as an image, audiovisual material, text,
or sounds) resulting from using the whole or a Substantial part of the
Contents (via a search or other query) from this Database, a Derivative
Database, or this Database as part of a Collective Database."

And the produced work guideline:


"The published result of your project is either a Produced Worked or a 
Derivative Database within the meaning of the ODbL. If the published 
result of your project is intended for the extraction of the original 
data, then it is a database and not a Produced Work."

One point you could argue is that you could produce the friction map by 
separately rasterizing the OSM and Google roads data and then merge 
what is already a produced work with a minimum operator on the two 
raster files.  Since the raster is already a produced work you could 
argue that the ODbL does not apply then.  But on the other hand you 
could argue (as you already did in your mail) that once you use a 
produced work in a database-like fashion it becomes a derivative 
database again - the same way as if you trace features from a rendered 
OSM map.

Christoph Hormann

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