[Talk-ca] BC2020i - Solving the licensing issues

Alasia, Alessandro (STATCAN) alessandro.alasia at canada.ca
Wed Feb 7 14:42:13 UTC 2018

Dear all,

It is fantastic to see all these exchanges about BC2020i! There are a lot of great ideas and improvements being made. I cannot follow up on each point, though I wanted to update you regarding one area of specific relevance: the attempt to find a solution to the licensing issue for building related datasets. I believe this is one area where my team can contribute to support the BC2020i.

With my team, I am looking into the feasibility of compiling all available municipal open data files into one single file and then releasing this single file under one common license, specifically the open data licence of the Canadian federal government. This would, hopefully, solve the license compatibility issue. We are still exploring this possibility but are moderately optimistic.

So far we started with the "easy" task: compiling all the known files - a special thanks to those who contributed to the tables on the BC2020i wiki page! With that and other OD sources, we compiled an "OpenAddressRepository" file of nearly 11 million records (georeferenced) and an "OpenBuildingRepository" file of nearly 3.2 million polygons (still in progress). Preliminary analysis suggests that the coverage and geocoding are very promising. More importantly, given that the files all originate from official municipal sources, there should be no reason to doubt the quality of the data.

The next step, for us, is to look at the process required to release these files with a GoC open data license. We do not yet have a clear timeline for release, but if this idea is possible, we should almost certainly make it before the timelines that were discussed on Talk-ca for vetting each and all individual municipal open data licenses  - 2080s or 2030s if I recall correctly :-)

We believe this solution/approach, if successful, puts an end to the issue of license compatibility (at least for the files found thus far) and greatly facilitates the use of these open data by the general public as well as the private and public sector. Furthermore, and more importantly for BC2020i, this solution paves the way for the many local OSM groups to import these open data as they see fit. As well, once the large national level files are released, we might be able to collaborate with local groups and provide more manageable partitions of the larger files.

Of course, this approach will not necessarily solve the license compatibility issue for all types of municipal files. Thus, needless to say, anybody is obviously free to pursue submitting individual municipal OD licenses to the License Working Group of OSM.  Though, given that the Working Group resources are scarce, and assuming the approach outlined above works for building footprints, we would be happy to discuss the feasibility of compiling and re-releasing other municipal open data under the open data licence of the Canadian federal government.

Finally, as I mentioned in other communications, my team is also exploring other activities that will hopefully contribute to the BC2020i. These activities touch on data analysis, data monitoring, and building footprint extraction from satellite imagery. For this work, we are primarily using open source tools and applications that can be integrated in open source environments (more updates on all of this hopefully soon!).

More updates, feedback, and follow up on other interesting points of discussion later on.

Regards to all,

Alessandro and DEIL team

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