[OSM-talk] OpenStreetMap GPS Points Map

Ilya Zverev zverik at textual.ru
Wed Sep 12 06:23:28 BST 2012

Mike  Dupont писал 2012-09-12 00:56:

> I have been wondering what the license is on the gps points? is it
> affected by the change?

For a long time I though that all GPX traces are in public domain. 
There was no user agreement signed, no clauses in CT concerning GPX 
traces, and with anonymization means it is impossible to impose -BY 
licenses on them. Also, there is a case of "factual data", and the 
traces are obviously factual: they state where the GPS device was at 
specific time. That excludes, of course, imports done in GPX format, 
like this: 
(thanks to AndrewBuck for the find). But I consider that uploading such 
fabricated traces should be prohibited, with immediate removing of 
anything that looks suspicious, because it almost always breaches the 
license terms, regardless of actual license.

But in http://blog.osmfoundation.org/2012/04/01/bulk-gps-point-data/ it 
is clearly stated that the array of GPS points published on 
planes.osm.org/gps is release under CC-BY-SA license. Since we're 
changing (have already changed) our license to ODbL, we know that 
CC-BY-SA does not work. But nevertheless we have to respect it, so all 
extracts and all tiles made from the GPS points dumps should be 
published at least under CC-BY-SA license. This is the case for data on 
the http://zverik.osm.rambler.ru site.

Now, after the recent announcement 
http://blog.osmfoundation.org/2012/09/11/change-to-odbl-imminent/, it is 
stated that "API transactions ... will consist of ODbL-licensed 
OpenStreetMap data". It is debatable whether GPX responses are actually 
"OpenStreetMap data", but I presume the intention was that everything 
coming out of our API is now ODbL licensed, including GPX traces. That 
does not mean the license for older data, such as the data on 
zverik.osm.rambler.ru is changed, but the chance is, when the next GPS 
points dump will be made, its license most probably be ODbL.

Finally, that brings up the question, whether the traces uploaded by 
decliners or non-agreers were removed from the database. As far as I 
know, they haven't. But since those people didn't agree on relicensing 
all their "OpenStreetMap data" under different license, that means 
either that GPX traces are not considered OSM data, or that traces were 
never restricted by -BY clause in the first place (let alone -SA). And 
this gives up a possibility to be generous this time and release the GPX 
database under more permissive, non-copyleft license, such as CC0 or 
WTFPL. All in all, this whole question depends on whether an individual 
GPX trace is factual data, and how the OSMF would treat the database of 
such traces, the license for which can, and should be independent from 
individual traces licenses (an example of which being ODbL vs DbCL or 
postal codes databases).

I get the impression this hasn't been given much thought from LWG, 
because OSM data is considered far more important. But having the 
license change process for OSM data finished, I guess it is the time to 
make a decision for less important part of our database, which is "the 
largest collection of Open Data GPS points published". Are we confident 
enough in our map data to let others use this collection for no return? 
Or should we protect it as much as our map data? It is clear we don't 
consider GPX data on par with OSM data, but since I have just reminded 
everybody that it exists, does it mean everyone would start protecting 
it as vigorously? My opinion is that as an "Open" project we should try 
to make all our data as free and as open as possible -- CC0 being the 
ideal. And the GPX data is a perfect candidate to start with. But this 
is for you and for LWG to decide.


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