[Talk-us] ODBL for Spatial Analysis

Richard Weait richard at weait.com
Mon May 26 21:51:36 UTC 2014

On Sat, May 24, 2014 at 11:40 AM, William Morris
<wboykinm at geosprocket.com> wrote:
> Please let me know if I should direct this at a different list, but I
> have a basic question about the implications of the ODBL:
> OSM is brimming with great POIs and network features; I'd like to use
> some of these categories to answer broad questions like "How far is
> this customer from the nearest park/school/whatever"? Unfortunately,
> I'm not precisely sure of my legal obligation once I've answered that
> question. Specifically, would I be required to contribute the location
> of the customer back to OSM? If not, does that still hold when I
> upscale it to millions of customers?
> Thanks for the assistance, in any case. I know this is a somewhat
> contentious issue for the community, and I'd rather not make any
> assumptions.

ODbL isn't contentious among OpenStreetMap contributors at all.  We've
all agreed to ODbL as a matter of course, in getting our contributor
accounts. Sounds like you've been mislead by somebody with a bone to
pick.  Ignore them.  :-)

The right mailing list for license-realted questions or discussions is

On the face of your question, I would be surprised if OpenStreetMap
would want to know the current location of an individual.  That seems
to fly in the face of the respect for individual privacy that
OpenStreetMap demonstrates.  I've presumed that your customer is a
person, as they go about their day.  That presumption could be way off

It could go the other way, I suppose.  If your customer is a business
or POI that isn't included in OpenStreetMap, well then, yes
OpenStreetMap would like that data.

But again, you should have this discussion on legal-talk at .

[1] https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/legal-talk

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