[Talk-GB] [OSM-talk] Not-properly-Open-but-called-Open

Andy Allan gravitystorm at gmail.com
Sun Jan 3 12:58:03 GMT 2010

On Sun, Jan 3, 2010 at 12:18 PM, Andy Allan <gravitystorm at gmail.com> wrote:

> As for the name, it was originally "The OpenStreetMap Cycle Map" and I
> pondered long and hard on the use of the word "The" in the title since
> that sounded a bit exclusive. Eventually I gave up worrying about it
> since there actually only *was* one OpenStreetMap-based cycling map
> and there's more important things in life to get on with. Then I
> wanted to move it out of my personal domain and the host I'd just
> signed up to gave me a free domain name with the package, so I tried
> www.ocm.org (as in the _OpenStreetMap _Cycle _Map) but of course it
> was taken so I setted for www.opencyclemap.org instead. It's a nice
> title for what it always has been, a cycle map based on OpenStreetMap
> data, and a daft play on the title of OpenStreetMap itself. And I
> started a trend, since many other projects based on OpenStreetMap data
> have since called themselves OpenWhateverMap too, and it's a shorthand
> for showing that these projects are based on OpenStreetMap in a geeky
> in-joke kind of way.

Right, while I've got the soapbox out, (and while I'm not feeling as
ill as I was over the last few days), let me do a bit more explaining
about OpenCycleMap and its "openness". I make the styles for
OpenCycleMap. Just me. Dave helps out with the backend stuff that
makes it all work, but I can point to the cartography and say "I did
that". And I like the fact that the colours are all mine, and so on,
and I get enjoyment from it. It's my little project and my little
claim to fame. I'm happy to listen to people who have suggestions for
changes, but I don't want to disappoint people if they work on a patch
and I don't want to accept it. And most of all, I don't want someone
to make something that looks just like opencyclemap but with one or
two changes and call it their own, or anyone to think that project B
is mine when it isn't.

Now people often come asking questions about how I made the cyclemap,
and how I react depends on what they are doing. I've given people the
stylesheets for the cyclemap before, so long as they aren't trying to
make a rip-off. When people making other projects have asked how the
transparency works, or how to do contours, or whatnot, I've explained
how, and given them code if it helps them. So it's not like I'm
figuring all this out and not giving back to the community - but I do
it in a way that I'm happy with. And almost all of the cyclemap is in
fact completely open-source - it's only really the choice of colours
that isn't, and the void-filling code that isn't even mine to

There was a topic recently about reverse-engineering the OpenCycleMap
style. Please don't. We're standing on a great plain, 10,000km wide,
of possibilities of using OpenStreetMap data. If I've cordoned off 5
square metres of that plain and I'm happy building sandcastles on my
own then leave me in peace. If you have your own ideas about a cycling
map based on OSM data, then I'd encourage you to make it; everything
you need is available. And it's pretty easy to make another style
that's better than OCM, or that takes a different approach, rather
than simply deciding to copy my ideas.

(As for the carefully-worded comment made in another thread that
implied I would change the license of OCM, that's simply FUD. It'll
stay CC-BY-SA even if OSM changes to ODbL.)

I realise that for some people, this explanation will hold no water,
and their "righteous fury" will still be burning. So what steps could
you take to resolve the situation? You could ask for my reasons for
keeping things under my hat (nobody did, but I've now told you anyway)
and figure out if there is common ground - maybe some way of giving us
both what we want. You could find out what is already open source -
the osmosis tagtransform rules for OCM are PD, btw - not that anyone
was asking. You could try to encourage or persuade me to change my
mind - explain what would be the advantages from my side? Or you could
cast scorn and hatred, righteous indignation and the like, spreading
false rumours on the mailing lists and all that jazz, and make me feel
like an outcast. I don't think that would be constructive, but who am
I to say?


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