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

Mike Harris mikh43 at googlemail.com
Tue Feb 24 22:36:23 GMT 2009

Not quite the case ... Are the grid references derived by the Highway
Authority from the OS maps or from their own GPS surveys that they (the
Highway Authority) carry out themselves on every right of way? Pre-GPS you
might have a point - but with the use of GPS technology, not only by us but
also by the Highway Authority, I'm not sure that it applies.

I fully accept your point re Google Maps correlated with OS maps but don't
think it is the same case. Indeed, in general I would agree with you re
geo-location using a copyright map but in this particular case (agreed, not
in general) it can be done *without* the map - not using grid references at
all - the information in this case would come from the public domain overlay
and not from the base map. I could look at the overlay *without* the base
map and compare the topology with the download of my own GPS trace to
identify the paths - especially as I know the area so well on the ground.

Even if the database (which *is* public domain - so can't be 'ripped off')
includes grid references - and even taking the most conservative view -
there could only be a problem if the database itself were derived from OS
mapping rather than from GPS surveys. And even then, I am not sure that
there is a problem as the grid references in the database are not strictly
necessary to identify the path given my local knowledge and my own GPS
surveys in parallel to and independent of those of my colleagues in the
Highway Authority.

The Highway Authority owns the information as to the status of 'footpath
nnn' and it is in the public domain as it is after all a *public* right of
way and the public has the right to know that it is a public right of way! -
or the whole concept of *public* becomes meaningless. The only issue is how
do we know which footpath on the ground is 'footpath nnn'. Sometimes there
is signage that includes the footpath number. Sometimes there is not, but I
have extensive records going back for years that discuss most of the public
rights of way in my area and I know half of them off by heart without even
looking at a map. I'm not going so far as to generalise and I would not
suggest using any old database outside my area of "geographical competence".

Incidentally, the next step that 'my' County Council is planning is to
enhance their public domain interactive mapping system (which acknowledges
that the *base* mapping is OS) by allowing any member of the public to click
on the map to report a problem with a public right of way (they already have
this working for highways on the list of streets - another public domain
database). No grid reference involved here - but I would myself be concerned
that the 'clicker' is 'using' the base map to decide where to click. What's
the view on this?

I'm not 'wishing the problem away' - I am arguing a case that may (or may
not - given the earlier West Sussex reference) be unique to Cheshire. We
could generate random number references for the rights of way and then I
could use local history and knowledge to correlate the random numbers with
the real numbers - but is this really a necessary game to play?

Do believe me, I am serious about copyright law and sensitive to the issues.
I am not a lawyer but have had responsibilities in this area in the past. So
we may have to disagree on the specifics of this case ...

Cheers ...


-----Original Message-----
From: David Earl [mailto:david at frankieandshadow.com] 
Sent: 24 February 2009 19:51
To: Mike Harris
Cc: 'Nick Whitelegg'; 'Someoneelse'; talk at openstreetmap.org
Subject: Re: [OSM-talk] amenity=doctor or amenity=doctors ? [tagging]

On 24/02/2009 17:02, Mike Harris wrote:
> 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! -

But you are overlooking Database Copyright. It's not the individual facts,
but the way in which they are collated as a collection that is
copyrightable. So if you are taking the information off their map, you are,
in effect, ripping off their database.

And yes, they do claim copyright over grid references, when they are derived
from their maps. See the letter they sent to licensees about superimposing
items geolocated from OS maps on top of Google maps recently.

You can't wish this copyright stuff away by disagreeing with it!


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