[Talk-us] Chicago Buildings Redux

Ian Dees ian.dees at gmail.com
Thu Feb 21 03:31:11 UTC 2013

Hi imports,

Earlier last year I downloaded the Chicago building footprints shapefile
[0] from the Chicago data portal, chopped it into manageable bits and
started importing it into OSM. Halfway through the process of merging and
uploading this data I read the data portal's license [1] closer,
discovering a clause that makes the datasets offered there incompatible
with OSM. The troublesome clause allows the City of Chicago to require
removal of any City data at any point in the future:

"The City may require a user of this data to terminate any and all display,
distribution or other use of any or all of the data provided at this
website for any reason including, without limitation, violation of these
Terms of Use or other terms as defined by City agencies or departments
contributing data to this website."

When I noticed this I immediately stopped uploading data and began a
conversation with the city's data team to discuss ways OSM could move
forward with using the datasets listed on the portal.

After several months of phone calls, meetings, and waiting, I'm pleased to
announce that the City of Chicago has started to release some of its
datasets under the MIT license on GitHub: [2].

As a result of this new license, I will be able to continue importing the
excellent buildings and address data into OSM (more on that later) and
businesses will be able to use this data in their apps and tools without
worrying about an untested license.

I'm pretty excited about this, as Chicago is seen as a leader in municipal
data and other OSM/Open Data folks can point to this as proof that open
licensing is a very important part of open data.


[0] https://data.cityofchicago.org/Buildings/Building-Footprints/w2v3-isjw
[1] http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/narr/foia/data_disclaimer.html
[2] https://github.com/chicago/
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