[Talk-ca] BC2020i - Solving the licensing issues

Matthew Darwin matthew at mdarwin.ca
Wed Feb 7 17:02:53 UTC 2018

Hi John,

I think this approach has merit.

Probably it would work if we take a similar approach to what 
BikeOttawa is doing with OSM data, they wanted a "Level Of Traffic 
Stress" map.  To that they defined the set of interesting tags, 
started collecting data, then draw a map.  Now people are looking at 
the map and pointing out errors in map data (which there are lots) or 
things that need improving in the algorithm (which probably there are 
also lots).  [The tagging scheme was previously discussed on this list]

So if someone had a building-related use case they were deriving from 
OSM data, then local mappers could check how the buildings in their 
area align to whatever is that goal.  Last week I started looking a 
building heights... I was using https://osmbuildings.org/ to look at 
the areas I know and then look for buildings that seem to be the wrong 
height then going out to count the windows (vertically) to get the 
number of levels. It will make the map look better. However, it would 
be better if there was a more defined project than just looking at the 

The buildings I changed: 
The Bike Ottawa test stress map: 
http://mobiletest.beyond2020.com/bikemap/ (give it a few seconds to 
load the overlay)

On 2018-02-07 11:44 AM, john whelan wrote:
> Unfortunately having a valid license is not the whole story.  In 
> Montreal we appear to have a valid license we can import from and 
> they have building data on their open data portal.  Unfortunately 
> technically the quality and ease of use appears to be lower than 
> Ottawa's.
> I suspect that we need to see how the NRC LiDAR data unfolds and my 
> gossip says there is work being done there on deep learning that may 
> well be useful.
> I think what we need at the moment is something to keep the project 
> moving forward and I suspect that will be adding tags to existing 
> buildings.  On the schools front some background as to the value of 
> the stats from tagging the buildings might be worth its weight in gold.
> Cheerio John
> On 7 February 2018 at 09:42, Alasia, Alessandro (STATCAN) 
> <alessandro.alasia at canada.ca <mailto:alessandro.alasia at canada.ca>> 
> wrote:
>     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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