[osm-professional] Utility networks OSM initiative

Anthony Beck A.R.Beck at leeds.ac.uk
Wed Mar 3 08:28:19 GMT 2010

Dear Jochen, 

Thanks for your detailed response including the links through to the technology stack (very useful). I obviously did not explain myself clearly enough.

I should have stated these assumptions/criteria to make things easier:
This is not intended as a profit making business.
There will be no derivation of OSM data (the whole system should be mapping "wallpaper" agnostic subject to spatial accuracy limits) 
Utility data, derived from street survey and field based remote sensing, will be provided by industry under "open" re-use licences
Access to this data "may" need to be constrained to the professional utility sector

It's the latter two points which are at issue. The problem, as I see it, is ingesting "open" (open: would be uninhibit re-use and derivation as long as you are accredited to see it in the first place) and providing it to accredited viewers (i.e. an intrinsically "not open" approach).  My feeling is that the industry is in transition: i.e. over time the industry would be more open to data access outside the industry. At that point it may be appropriate to integrate such data into the sub-surface special interest groups and forks in OSM. 

I take your point on the technology stack and think that would be the direction for this to take: setting up a seperate server, using the tech stack and deploying our solution. I would imagine that the system articulate underlying data in the emerging integrated utility data standards. This can be shared with the community and may be able to influence the more open developments and forks for sub-surface data representation in OSM.

Many thanks


Anthony Beck
Research Fellow
VISTA Project
School of Computing
University of Leeds
From: Jochen Plumeyer [jochen at plumeyer.org]
Sent: 03 March 2010 05:04
To: Anthony Beck; osm-professional at openstreetmap.org
Subject: Re: [osm-professional] Utility networks OSM initiative

Dear Anthony Beck,

short answer first:

On Jue 25 Feb 2010, Anthony Beck wrote:
> So basically my question is: can a professional dataset aimed at a
> professional market that restricts access to the data be set up under the
> umbrella of OSM? I think I know the answer as I'm requesting to remove the
> open from OSM :-(.

You can use OSM data for your business under quite clear and easy conditions,
but the OSM umbrella I don't know.

> If not is it possible to take the OSM technology stack
> for such an initiative. Blanket refusal would be a shame as the benefit of
> such an initiative to UK PLC and Global business PLC would be phenomenal.

You can use the OSM technology stack in terms of software (hardware I doubt).

Long answer:

> By the looks of it I'm the first poster to this discussion list.
And it seems I'm the next, and responding neither as a legal person nor as an
OSM/GIS methusalem nor representative. But things are not so complicated, if
you read for instance http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Legal_FAQ and
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ .

To put your question into other words, you want to build a business out of a
matrix of data users and data pools from several suppliers.
Each data user can select the set of data pools of interest, and has to pay
according to the features/ data pools ordered. I interprete you, that the
suppliers are willing sometimes to merge, or unify data pools into one.
The value you plan to add, besides of a common platform for this utility data,
is providing a systematic approach to find information.

Within the set of data pools you want to use OSM data, and you have an
interest in an inexpensive, proven and stable platform, similar to
http://OSM.org itself.

If this is correct, then the answer would be: yes, no problem, if you give
credit to OSM and its license, but data derived from OSM data has to be
distributed under the same license like OSM data itself.
I interprete the content of a search index as derived work (moderator?).

If you use OSM data as a separate layer, without using traces or other direct
references from it, nor other modifications, then there is no need to
redistribute anything with an open CC-2.0 license.

The platform part is even simpler: this is all GPL licensed software, I think
even without using the Affero License extension of the GPL.
This permits not only to use it, you can even modify it without being forced
to publish your modifications, if you use the software for network services.
Hence, no issue there.

The "umbrella question" - I'm no OSM representative, but it does not look
realistic to me, to share hosting under OSM.org, although it would be great
to have some day the sub-surface data as a publicly accessible data set.

So, if you have a (powerful) internet server, you're in the business, you can
build your own OSM server
(http://weait.com/content/build-your-own-openstreetmap-server, this does not
cover everything and is a bit outdated ).

Legal implementation of client side:
To provide several data layers depending on the customer ID should not be
difficult, although unification would give better, more concise and more
userfriendly results, and possibly would have positive impact for data
suppliers to stimulate communication towards data merging and in the end free
data publishing.

Legal implementation of server side:
The CC-2.0 permits "remixing", so it seems you can pour (without altering the
original OSM data) all the data into one database if you want, and only have
to give credit. It should be even legal to redistribute this "remix" in a
closed way, only to certain customers, and not to the public, if the OSM data
keeps being unaltered.

The search index from the contents from OSM according to the license should be
available to the public I think, and, to be fair it would be good to have
improved search technology for OSM as well. This is what you can give back to
OSM, apart from donations.


Jochen Plumeyer

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