[Talk-us] USA Rail: Calling all OSM railfans! (especially in California)

stevea steveaOSM at softworkers.com
Thu Apr 2 21:05:03 UTC 2015

Russ Nelson writes:
>There are maps which are canonical sources of facts about the world,
>such as a BNSF map naming subdivisions. No one can own a fact about
>the world, because it's a fact. Just like you can't patent math. Same
>idea. You can copyright a collection of facts. You can copyright the
>arrangement of facts. You can copy the presentation of facts. But you
>can't copyright the individual facts.

I take this brief opportunity to encourage OSM volunteers who wish to 
"better" named rail subdivisions in the USA that "these data are out 
there."  These are indeed "facts about the world" and just because it 
seems as though they are "locked up" in private hands (a rail company 
or protected by copyright on a particular map) does NOT mean that 
such "facts about the world" cannot be put into OSM.  THEY CAN!

Of course, I adhere to "don't copy from other maps" but I explicitly 
agree with OSM's maxim to "be bold" entering data when they are 
clearly "facts about the world."  We have the ability to discern 
this, and we should.

Railways are big, long, industrial things that snake hundreds and 
thousands of kilometers through our landscapes.  Chunks of them have 
names, just as you would expect anything else hundreds of kilometers 
long to have names.  They are regulated by many levels of 
governmental agencies, whose job it is (partly) is to keep track of 
these names.  Go get 'em, and go put 'em in OSM.  Thanks to all who 


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