[OSM-talk] The Case for Open Geo Data - resources?

Richard Weait richard at weait.com
Wed Aug 29 18:09:25 BST 2012

On Wed, Aug 29, 2012 at 12:05 PM, Mike N <niceman at att.net> wrote:
> I map in OpenStreetMap for fun, but when it comes to talking to local
> governments or the media, I don't have a good idea of how to justify open
> data.    I'm thinking in terms of being able to tell local government how
> open Geodata would benefit them.
>   Are there any resources that discuss the benefits of open Geodata or open
> transportation data (GTFS), as well as the best license - Public Domain?
> Other License?

The Toronto Open Data pilot saved the city a half a million dollars in
the first year.  iirc, the quote from the Toronto CTO.

The "right license" is a more complex issue to discuss.  In part,
because the concepts are new to most people.  In part because this
area of law appears to be both new and rapidly evolving.  This summary
will be shot to ribbons, no doubt.

In general, "Public Domain" can't be assigned. Instead Copyright has
to expire, then a work enters the public domain.  One noteworthy
exception to this is the US Federal (not State or local) government
publications (not all of them) that fall in the Works of the US
Government[1].  This exemption does not extend to you and me being
able to say, "my document is public domain".  Any government body
other than the US Federal government is unable to take advantage of
the Works of the US Government PD-loophole.  So Open Data publishers
need to select a license with which to license their rights to the

When I speak to government bodies and other potential Open Data
publishers, I recommend the Open Data Commons, Public Domain
Dedication and License, ODC-PDDL[2].  I do so because it is drafted
and maintained by experts in the evolving field of international open
data law.  It is drafted and maintained in consultation with Open Data
communities.  It is drafted with portability and inter-operation in

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Work_of_the_United_States_Government
[2] http://opendatacommons.org/licenses/pddl/summary/

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