[Talk-GB] Definitive Public Right Of Way map for Northumberland

Mike Harris mikh43 at googlemail.com
Fri Apr 22 19:53:46 BST 2011


The council concerned was Cheshire County Council - which is now two 
Councils as it was split under Local Government Reorganisation into 
Cheshire East and Cheshire West & Chester who have not revoked the 
earlier position. But I would want to be careful not to overstate what 
they are saying.

They are saying  it is OK to use the public rights of way information 
shown on the "definitive map" (and described in the corresponding 
"definitive statements") as this is seen as data which the public can 
use as of right. They are not saying that we can "use" the definitive 
map per se as (whether or not it meets the description of a "derived 
work") it is a composite of the underlying OS mapping and the lines that 
are drawn on it showing the public rights of way based on the original 
surveys and research by the then Local Authority  - physically drawn 
originally and now as a separate GIS layer in the current definitive map 
copies. The ONLY data that I use is the numbering  of the rights of way 
(which is used as an identifier e.g. if a member of the public wants to 
talk to them about a way). This information is also held by them and 
made publicly available as an Excel spreadsheet (no map). To be extra 
careful I ONLY map in OSM ways which I have physically walked in person 
and for which I have personally recorded a GPS trace - but I do add the 
descriptor from the information that the Council says I may use. For 
this reason, the line of a way that I might draw on OSM might differ 
from the line on the OS map (as I always walk the definitive line if it 
is physically possible as well as walking the line shown on the OS map). 
IMHO with these permissions, caveats and provisos I can use the 
identifiers (path status and number) from Council sources. The absolute 
'must' for me is that I have personally "walked the line" and recorded 
my own GPS trace (from my GPS receiver) and annotations (from my digital 
voice recorder).

I would be careful with FOI for the reasons stated by Tim and - in 
practical terms - because an FOI costs the Council a great deal of money 
(and they have none) and would likely harm otherwise excellent relations.

Cheshire West has also just completed a very detailed on-the-ground 
survey of the PRoW network in their area using (a lot of) public money 
to pay a contractor to use top-of-the-range GPS and photography of every 
stile, gate, details of path surface, level of disabled access etc.  
Unfortunately they are still trying to find out how to use the software 
output properly in GIS (or elsewhere) (!!) and also how to redact from 
the data confidential information such as the names and addresses of 
landowners and tenants. We are making slow progress on these technical 
issues but if they are resolved at the technical level I intend then to 
tackle with them the issue of whether this (much more detailed) data can 
be made available for OSM purposes (don't hold your breath - the wheels 
move VERY slowly) as it would appear to be uncontaminated by the dreaded OS!

As for OS out-of-copyright 7th Series in this area there are many very 
significant differences from the present day status of ways as rights of 
way so - even if the paths still exist where shown on the 7th srs 
mapping I would personally not dare to assume anything about status as 
rights of way as based on the mapping. Indeed even the most current OS 
digital mapping has many errors despite the work the Council (and I and 
my colleagues!) do to notify OS of changes to the PRoW network - and 
errors persist for 10 years or more before the OS catch up.

Hope that the above is clear and uncontroversial - but knowing OSM I 
doubt the latter (smiles!).


On 21/04/2011 13:50, TimSC wrote:
> On 21/04/11 12:14, Graham Stewart wrote:
>> Where do we stand if I manually create a way (i.e. by tracing from Bing
>> imagery or by surveying it) and then refer to this published definitive
>> map to determine if it is a designated footpath/bridleway/BOAT? (And
>> possibly get other details that could be used in tags/notes like an
>> identifier).
>> Presumably this would be using the council's data and we would need some
>> form of agreement with them?
> The most I do is to compare the maps and how well or badly we are 
> doing. It might also "inspire me" to go and find a footpath in the 
> real world. In the end, all data should come from direct observations 
> (or legally compatible data sets). I usually take extra care to 
> photograph the signs and upload traces to show we actually surveyed 
> things. I would strongly advise against taking the classification or 
> route number from any council map or data set without permission (and 
> some apparently do have permission). (Robert just made the same point.)
> If we can get agreement from them and OS, we can use the data in OSM. 
> Some councils seem to have a more permissive attitude. Mike Harris 
> mentions two councils that have no restriction on the definitive map 
> (as long as the underlying OS map not covered) [1]. Mike, which 
> council's are these, and are they willing to make a public statement? 
> (An FOI can be used to force a response, but strictly speaking, FOI 
> should be used for fractal data, not interpretation of law.) Contrary 
> to Robert's view, I don't think FOI can be used to get the information 
> directly, as the FOI response is still copyright.
> I still think that the PSMA exemption route might be necessary, 
> because it seems likely to me the definitive map is a derivative work 
> from OS maps. If anyone has relevant contacts in local authorities, 
> please make them aware of the option and encourage them to take it. 
> The council might release the data as "free to use" or as OGL or 
> Opendata, and I am not sure if the OGL or Opendata is compatible with 
> the CTs... (I suspect it isn't.)
> If you have patience, the OS 7th series sheets that are coming out of 
> copyright and have rights of way on them. Of course they are 50 years 
> out of date... (but it's mostly accurate in my experience).
> [1] 
> http://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/talk-gb/2011-March/011269.html
>> (God how I hate licensing/copyright issues!)
> I second that motion.
> Regards,
> TimSC

*/Mike Harris/*
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