[Talk-GB] Definitive map edits

Robert Whittaker (OSM lists) robert.whittaker+osm at gmail.com
Tue Mar 15 23:27:33 UTC 2016

On 15 March 2016 at 18:57, Neil Matthews <ndmatthews at plus.net> wrote:
> Anyone know whether "definitive maps" are suitable as sources for OSM?

The actual "Definitive Map" will almost certainly be a paper printout
of an OS map with Rights of Way drawn on top of it. OS's copyright
applies to this, and it's not something that they're likely to give
anyone permission to re-use.

However, most councils have in recent times created a digitised
version of the Rights of Way routes from their definitive map. They'll
use this for internal purposes and possibly display the routes on
their website on top of an OS base map. The OS base-map will still be
owned by OS, so we wouldn't be able to directly use the online maps.
(So it's misleading for them to be listed in the OSM wiki.) However,
OS are happy for council's to release the raw GIS data for the routes
under an open licence -- which we're then able to use if we display
them in OSM directly or on top of a base map we do have permission to

Originally, the licence mandated by OS for the data was their own "OS
OpenData Licence" -- this was problematic for OSM use because of its
additional attribution clause. OS has now abandoned its separate
licence and allows councils to release the data under the standard
Open Government Licence v3 -- which is ok for use in OSM.
Unfortunately, OS hasn't done much to publicise the licence change,
and many councils still have their data under the old OS OpenData
Licence. (Most of the datasets on http://www.rowmaps.com/ still say
they're under the old OS OpenData Licence.)

So if you have the Rights of Way data in the form of a GIS file, AND
you have permission from the council to use it under the Open
Government Licence, AND you only display the data in an OSM editor or
on top of a base map we can make use of, then it's ok.

The only two such datasets I'm aware of are for Norfolk and Suffolk,
where I had to specifically ask the councils to update their licences.
I've started work on a tool to help display and compare the council
data with Rights of Way in OSM at
http://robert.mathmos.net/osm/prow/progress/ . Hopefully there will be
more datasets under the OGL that can be added soon.


Robert Whittaker

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