[OSM-talk] Yahoo Aerial Imagery vs. OSM Spirit

SteveC steve at asklater.com
Thu Mar 29 16:43:22 BST 2007


Frederik Ramm wrote:
> But gifts can also do damage. On the one hand, we risk becoming  
> influenced (or should I even sy corrupted) in or thinking by the very  
> "intellectual property/licensing/corporate attitude" that was one  
> reason to start OSM. Call it political decision-making or whatever -  
> the fact that their data is there and they have nothing against our  
> tracing OSM data from the satellite/aerial imagery, but they want to  
> tell us exactly that one way of doing it is ok and other way is not.

What makes you think yahoo care about any of this? Their hands are tied 
by the agreement(s) made with their imagery providers. It's not like 
Yahoo own this stuff and can do what they like.

> Look at it like this: There's litte Fred in his computerized hut. One  
> evening, existing OSM data plus Yahoo imagery goes in; the next  
> morning, a lot of OSM data comes out. That's the basics. Nothing else  
> comes out, no traces remain. Now why in the world do Yahoo want to  
> tell Fred that he may do his work using the applet, but he may not do  
> it using other means?

Because they have contracts to honour?

> And we're starting to jump through loops. We're starting to speculate  
> what Yahoo's reasons might be and how we might "work with them" - how  
> we might tune our technical processes so that, while technically less  
> than optimal (or more complex than necessary), they will fit  
> soneone's license model.

No, I really don't think "we" are doing these things, like working with 
them. There's a bunch of pontificating about the moral wrongs and dark 
purposes, but only one guy, mikel, actually going to all the effort.

Really, your time is much better spent coding, suggesting a better way, 
getting better imagery...

> We're even starting to believe that the JOSM plugin might have  
> violated their terms of use by storing a temporary file, while at the  
> same time taking it for granted that browsers may make any number of  
> temporary files accessible for eternity just because that is "normal".

It's not a matter of belief, it's a fact that Yahoo! feel that it goes 
too far. So what? So we find a way to make it work. I couldn't give a 
monkeys about whether their reasoning is technically sound. It's just 
not their fault, they're protecting their investment and contractual 
obligations as would any sane person. I'm sure that if they owned the 
images outright they'd happily let us have them. As it turns out they don't.

They have an agreement on using this stuff through their API in 
principle and spirit. We ran up against that, we can still use things 
like potlatch. If we can't make it happen in JOSM then c'est la vie. So 
make potlatch do what you want, or go and spend the time to build a 
'better' relationship with someone else. We really don't need to throw 
the baby out with the bathwater.

> And there's another danger with the gift of Yahoo imagery as well: I  
> have heard people in my area say "don't bother mapping that, I'm sure  
> we will soon have better Yahoo imagery for our region and then wee'll  
> trace it from there". So the potential later availability of  
> satellite images is actually keeping people from making an effort to  
> get the data now. (Not Yahoo's fault, of course. But if we weren't  

What people? I'm not held back. Have you met any of these people? I've 
met tons of people who are held back due to a slow server, technical 
knowledge or what have you. Nobody's said to me they can't be bothered 
to map in case Yahoo decide to release aerial data... they'd have to go 
out _anyway_ to get the street names.

> involved with them, then the chances of having satellite images for  
> the region soon would be much more remote, motivating some people to  
> tackle it themselves instead of waiting for better days.)
> 
> For a third time: Satellite images are valuable and I would like to  
> have them. But even though Lars has used drastic words when he spoke  
> of queues on Soviet streets... I, too, find it tempting to walk away  
> in this case.

Walk away from something you didn't set up, because it can't be done 
with your favourite editor as it stands? Please.

have fun,

SteveC steve at asklater.com http://www.asklater.com/steve/




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