[OSM-talk] amenity=doctor or amenity=doctors ? [tagging]

Mike Harris mikh43 at googlemail.com
Tue Feb 24 17:02:16 GMT 2009


Fwiw - I hold the view that the OS cannot own the status in any way as it is
the Highway Authority that decides / maintains the status. The only way the
OS even know about the status is by the Highway Authority telling them - as
they do (and a few years later the OS *might* amend their mapping! -
although I have plenty of examples where this has not been done for the past
ten years). The practitioners in Cheshire County Council regard the status
information as public domain and would agree wholly with West Sussex -
though I have not tested it with their lawyers. I simply don't see how
anyone can have copyright over something they only know about because they
have been told about it by someone else! On the other hand the cartography
IS copyright to the OS and clearly verboten for OSM purposes - no dispute
there. So strip away the base layer and look only at the overlay.

Another way of looking at it - which is effectively just this - is that, in
Cheshire at least, all of the status information is also available direct
from the Highway Authority (including an on-line downloadable version) as an
Excel spreadsheet that simply lists the grid references of the beginning and
end of each path, its reference number and its legal status. No map
involved. Does the OS have a copyright over a grid reference? It is only a
mathematical transform of latitude and longitude. Do they hold copyright
over latitude and longitude? And in any case, given that I would only ever
be mapping paths that I had physically walked and for which I had a timed
GPS trace, I know the latitude and longitude anyway (who knows which grid I
have set in my GPS receiver? and I could also transform between any grids
quite trivially on return to base or even eyeball which path was which once
I had loaded the trace into JOSM).

My bottom line is that I would never use the Highway Authority's cartography
- neither as a map nor as a means of positioning a path using grid
references even from a spreadsheet. But if I have walked the path and have a
live GPS trace, then identifying reference number and status from the
spreadsheet is surely OK.

After all, if I were, say, a Finn on vacation in England I would walk the
path with my GPS, recording the data in the Finnish uniform grid or some
such - and then compare with the spreadsheet. On finding that the
spreadsheet used something funny (called the British Grid and the OS datum)
I would realise that this was how the Highway Authority had recorded their
survey for the convenience of people in the UK who might want to use the
data with an OS map. Having no interest in the OS or their maps, I then
convert this peculiar spreadsheet thing into WGS 84 and the Finnish grid -
or WGS 84 and latitude and longitude - so that I could see what's going on
in my own "language". In this context the position reference is just a way
of saying where something is on the Earth's surface - the "language" in
which it is expressed - whether OS grid or latitude/longitude etc. is

Mike Harris

-----Original Message-----
From: Nick Whitelegg [mailto:Nick.Whitelegg at solent.ac.uk] 
Sent: 24 February 2009 15:35
To: Someoneelse
Cc: talk at openstreetmap.org
Subject: Re: [OSM-talk] amenity=doctor or amenity=doctors ? [tagging]

>Actually that raises another issue (notwithstanding the point below) - 
>in cases where the legal status is only available on either a copyright 
>map (either bought or on the wall at the local council) - it's 
>sometimes not possible to know what the legal status of all traffic on 
>e.g. a former railway line is.

I'm not 100% sure whether the status on a council map is copyright actually
- this has come up several times but never been definitively resolved. While
the council maps are overlaid on an OS map, presumably the
*council* decides the status of the path, so while the course of the path
might be subject to copyright, I would assume that the status on a
definitive council map is not. Also I distinctly remember one council (W
Sussex) mentioning "public domain data overlaid on a copyrighted OS map". 
However I don't *know* this as *fact*, so do not use them as a source for
status unless someone has definitely said that it's OK.


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