[talk-au] Sourcing street names form existing maps

Andrew Loughhead andrew at incanberra.com.au
Sat Nov 24 12:18:43 GMT 2007

I also have found errors in google maps data, and similar errors in Live 
Local maps, suggesting they have licensed the same source data.  I think 
that maps published directly by municipal authorities are very likely to 
be correct though.  Block & section maps, for example, are probably the 
reference used when municipal authorities put up street signs.  I also 
find it hard to imagine an easter egg appearing in a block and section 
map.  The tricky thing is that local governments seem to usually feel 
obliged to put in scary rights statements on their online mapping 
systems that provide the easiest access to things like block & section 
maps.  Note that those rights are additional to copyright as well. 

On the legalities and policy, OSM people have said often enough that 
they want to take a conservative stance, on the basis that even baseless 
legal action would be enough to threaten the project.  There have also 
been encouragements posted to refer such questions to osm-legal, so you 
might get better answers there.  The point that facts can't be 
copyrighted has certainly been made quite a few times.  Some 
jurisdictions have a kind of "database" copyright too.  The Wikipedia 
article on copyright is pretty good and runs through a lot of these 

The upshot, for me, is that in principle I only get street name data 
from signs, and in practice I haven't put many street names in at all!


Matt White wrote:
> I agree - you've definitely got to be cautious - and realistically, you've
> got to know the area reasonably well to even start. But scanning the maps,
> the majority of main roads are both in place, and the same name - the issue
> tends to be smaller streets, courts etc that either disappeared or got
> extended etc. Looking in my own area (Brunswick) there's probably 20 streets
> that no longer exist, and about 8-10 that have been renamed. But there's
> also some interesting stuff - named laneways that are still there, but no
> longer bear the name etc.
> I've found heaps of errors in Google maps (interesting a few of these were
> fixed in te last couple of days), and probably 10 or so in the Melways,
> including in one Melways edition what looks like a copyright trap.
> Matt
> -----Original Message-----
> From: talk-au-bounces at openstreetmap.org
> [mailto:talk-au-bounces at openstreetmap.org]On Behalf Of Stephen Hope
> Sent: Saturday, 24 November 2007 04:36
> To: Talk-au at openstreetmap.org
> Subject: Re: [talk-au] Sourcing street names form existing maps
> I'd be cautious of using these maps even for street names, whether it
> was legal or not, because they are so often wrong.  100m down the road
> from my house in Brisbane is a street where every map I've seen (and
> Whereis, my gps - everybody) has a different name to what is on the
> road signs.  My aunt in Bellingen lives on a road that has one name on
> my GPS map, a different name in the local Bellingen tourist map, and a
> third one on the street sign.  If you do end up cross-checking against
> a map, I'd only mark it as a potential conflict to check, don't assume
> the map must be right.
> Stephen Hope
> On Nov 24, 2007 3:16 PM, Matt White <mattwhite at iinet.com.au> wrote:
>> I realise this topic has sort of been discussed before, but I'm still
>> curious about the copyright implications of using a street map to source
> or
>> cross check street names (and only street names). Is it a closed issue
>> because someone has actually received legal advice indicating that, or is
> it
>> just nobody has any real idea, and erring on the side of caution seems
>> better way?
> snip
> _______________________________________________
> Talk-au mailing list
> Talk-au at openstreetmap.org
> http://lists.openstreetmap.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/talk-au
> _______________________________________________
> Talk-au mailing list
> Talk-au at openstreetmap.org
> http://lists.openstreetmap.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/talk-au

More information about the Talk-au mailing list