[OSM-talk] will we be nuked from orbit?

Chris Fleming me at chrisfleming.org
Tue Jul 24 23:35:37 BST 2007

Steve Coast wrote:
> On 24 Jul 2007, at 22:38, Andy Armstrong wrote:
>> On 24 Jul 2007, at 22:25, Steve Coast wrote:
>>> Two things have happened over the past few days in the community
>>> mapping world, of which we /were/ the only participant.
>> [snip]
>> What am I missing? Either they release their data under a suitably  
>> free licence - in which case OSM's aim's will have been realised  
>> sooner than expected - or they don't - in which case OSM's raison  
>> d'etre still exists.
> Indeed. But you need more than a reason for existance, you also need  
> people, money, server and so on.
>> Presumably it's not OSM's primary mission to have a monopoly on  
>> community mapping?
> It's not clear to me that there's room for more than one. Or more  
> than two perhaps. I didn't say that there isn't room - just that it's  
> not clear.
> Hypothetically, what if Google started accepting GPS data and making  
> their own map tomorrow? Without license problems or flaky servers,  
> clearly they would be able to attract a lot of potential OSMers. As I  
> said, I don't know how it will pan out, but I think it's really worth  
> thinking about.

I've also been thinking about this today...

Yes google could probably get more people than we have in a day; but I 
doubt that they would be willing to provide a "free" licence back. This 
still leaves plenty of space for OSM, and for most of our the current 
"community" this still provides a complling reason to stick with OSM and 
also to try and get more people involved. If nothing else most of what 
I've read on google's stuff has always included "and openstreetmap are 
doing this already".

If we take things further, if a "big company" starts an open mapping 
project that takes off, then I think that Steve is right there is 
probably only room for a few of these so other companies in this space 
may well decide that rather than start from behind, it might  be better 
to help and promote OSM as the "community map" in order to co-operate 
and effectivly compete?

In this context, it's interesting to note that we already have access to 
the yahoo's arial imagery and not googles.

Throw AND into the equation and things get more interesting. The one 
thing I've been pondering over and haven't seen anything about is what 
do AMD plan to get out of it? Once the data is merged do they plan to 
pull back OSM data and do interesting things with it? or is it purely 

One thing is for sure  comparing OSM's space and wikipedia's space makes 
less and less sense from a commerical perspective every day, from what I 
can see commercial companies are interested in OSM both in terms of 
contributions and possible uses of data. I can't see into the future but 
it sure is interesting, and I'm fairly convinced that there is room for OSM.


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