[OSM-talk] OpenBuildingModels repository

Matthias uden at uni-heidelberg.de
Fri Aug 3 12:51:41 BST 2012

Hi Tobias,

thanks for your valuable feedback. I agree with your opinions regarding 
3D model repositories, collaborative work etc.

Tobias Knerr:
> I'm a bit worried that this might be too strongly tied to the Heidelberg
> OSM-3D globe. In particular, I have the following concerns:
> * Is there, or will there be, an equivalent to the OSM planet files,
> i.e. a possibility to download the entire content of your repository
> (including metadata)?

At the moment it certainly is strongly linked to "our" OSM-3D approach.
However, the idea is to make the models of course available to any other 
3D viewer that wants to use them.
So far the models can only be browsed via the website and downloaded 
manually in .zip format. So there is no "Download All", let alone an API 
or Web Service for the repository data.
This is definitely desirable and on the "wishlist" for future features.

> * The VRML format is an odd choice. Afaik it is not commonly used in the
> 3D OSM community. What are your reasons for choosing it?

That's right. The reason for choosing VRML for the time being is the 
internal compatibility with our OSM-3D databases. This is to be changed 
in the future or at least an automatic conversion (with e.g. MeshLab) 
should be integrated, so that the user doesn't have to bother about the 

> * Will yo make the source code for the website freely available, and do
> you plan to accept outside contributions?

Due to security issues (uploads to our servers) this is currently not 
planned. However, in general I do agree and would like to make it 
OpenSource. I have to discuss this with colleagues first :-)

>> However, the
>> models can just as well be freely used for any other purpose (ODbL
>> license).
> That's a worrisome choice, too - it seems that the models stored in the
> repository will therefore become incompatible with OSM data if we ever
> choose to use the relicensing clause of the Contributor Terms to switch
> to a different license?
> In my opinion, it would be more future-proof to define legal terms for
> your repository that would always at least allow the models to be used
> under the same license as the one used by OSM at that point in time. An
> appropriate legal arrangement would have to be found, but I think that
> this would be an important effort.

OK, maybe I got something wrong here. I chose ODbL because I thought 
that it is the new OSM license?! Admittedly, I don't know much about the 
recent license change and might have confused something.
But in general I get your point, that the license should always "be the 
same as OSM". I don't know, though, how to formulate that properly in 
the licensing terms. If you know more about this, you could maybe 
suggest a concrete licensing text.

So... it is basically a working platform, but still many open issues 
remain :-)


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