[Talk-ca] Crowdsourcing buildings with Statistics Canada

john whelan jwhelan0112 at gmail.com
Sun Jan 22 13:41:25 UTC 2017

There is another way forward for Stats at the moment and that would be to
use the Statistics Canada address file which is available on the Federal
Government Open Data portal under the Federal Government Open Data
licence.  The addresses are nodes rather than building outlines but there
is nothing to stop building:levels, and postcode etc. being added to a node.

This was the file that Metrolink used to add addresses in the Toronto
area.  It also has the benefit that it uses less storage in the OSM

Cheerio John

On 21 January 2017 at 21:34, john whelan <jwhelan0112 at gmail.com> wrote:

> It's to do with the way government works and is structured.  What you have
> is an official interpretation which carries weight.  Quite a lot of weight.
> Essentially both Canada and the UK are run by acts of parliament.  However
> these are normally interpreted by civil servants to keep things running
> smoothly. For example in the UK by an Act of parliament of 1837 bicycles
> are not permitted to  use the sidewalks but administratively you will not
> be prosecuted for cycling on the sidewalk in certain parts of the UK.  The
> act hasn't been repealed but it is simply not enforced.  The decision was
> taken by a civil servant after consultations but is upheld by the
> government.
> The day to day running is done by civil servants interpreting the
> minister's wishes or act of Parliament.  There will be discussion and
> debate at a greater depth than either a minister or Parliament have the
> time for and the decision will be recorded together with the reasons for
> and against it.  This can lead to a formal report with a recommendation.
> It is a brave manager or minister who doesn't accept the recommendations.
> Have a look at Yes Minister and you'll see that brave here means foolish.
> There has to be a level of trust between the politicians and the civil
> service for this to work.  The direction is set by the politicians but the
> day to day stuff by the civil servants.  If a civil servant screws up then
> its special assignment time which is the civil service way of terminating
> you.  So an interpretation is not given lightly.
> It has taken three or four years of discussion to get this far.  My
> understanding is the City of Ottawa licence actually makes reference to the
> Federal government licence in the FAQ basically because all the expertise,
> hard work and effort on licensing was done at the federal level.
> I think in this case you have to rely on civil servants and retired civil
> servants expertise.  Both Bjenk and I are of the opinion, as his his
> manager, that for practical purposes the OGL-CA and the Municipal
> equivalent are identical.  There are a number of CANVEC employees and
> retired employees floating around as well who will have an opinion but I
> think it will be supportive.  The open data manager at Ottawa is also of
> the same opinion.  My casual contacts at TB on the Open Data side are also
> of the same opinion.
> My hope is that we can accept Open Data from municipalities that are
> covered by the equivalent of the OGL-CA.  What you seem to be asking for is
> a resolution or vote by each municipality of their councillors before OSM
> can use the data.  This I think is getting towards the unreasonable and
> unwieldy side of things.
> Canadian cities would like to encourage their citizens to walk, cycle and
> use public transport.  Tagging which paths maybe used by cycles helps both
> sides.  In Ottawa until I sat down with the cycling specialist and pointed
> out on their cycle maps one path running through a park was on their cycle
> maps and an identical one in the same park wasn't so how was I to know
> which could be used?  I was armed with photos from both paths and of the
> signs, they were identical.  After that the city expanded its official
> cycle path network by many kms.  "The *city of Ottawa* has a vibrant
> *cycling* culture and now boasts over 600 km of multi-use pathways, *bike*
> lanes, off-road paths and paved shoulders"  We need the City to identify
> these so they can be correctly tagged on the map.  Often there are no signs
> on a path to say if it maybe used by cyclists or not.
> Metrolink has done a fair bit of address mapping in OSM in support of
> getting people to use public transport.  They're in Toronto by the way.
> Both sides are better off with imported bus stops.
> Life was so much simpler when OSM was just a group of cyclists going round
> with GPS devices recording tracks but I think times are changing and there
> are benefits.  The main problem in my mind is controlling the quality of
> data for an import and in its careful merging with existing data.  For the
> City of Ottawa data the quality is reasonably good and some of it is
> already present in the CANVEC data.  The GTFS bus stop position data is far
> better than many American cities because of the automated stop announcement
> system to assist blind or partially sighted people.  They went out and very
> carefully checked the position of each and every bus stop with a high
> accuracy GPS system so it would be correct.
> There is another issue and that is volume of data.  If you are using OSM
> data on a phone off line the smaller the database the faster it is but that
> is a different kettle of fish.  At least if its there you can filter out
> those things you don't need.
> My suggestion is both the OGL-CA and the municipality equivalent should be
> acceptable to OSM based on the interpretations you have from civil servants.
> Cheerio John
> On 21 January 2017 at 19:37, Paul Norman <penorman at mac.com> wrote:
>> On 1/21/2017 4:34 PM, john whelan wrote:
>>> What you have is an interpretation of the Federal Government license.
>>> From my background in the civil service my understanding is for a statement
>>> it would have to be over a minister's signature or by act of parliament.
>>> No one else has the authority unless it is delegated.
>> If that's true and we can't rely on a statement from a government
>> employee to interpret their license, then we can no longer use OGL-CA data.
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