[OSM-talk] Organizational mapping policy

Christoph Hormann chris_hormann at gmx.de
Wed May 14 08:47:37 UTC 2014

On Wednesday 14 May 2014, Frederik Ramm wrote:
> Personally, I think that a policy like that should cover any kind of
> (for lack of better word) "directed" mapping, where a mapper doesn't
> act on their own accord (because they want to) but on someone else's
> (because they're told to).
> The boundary is of course blurry - if you report for duty at your
> local CSO, on your own accord, because you want to make the work a
> better place, and then are told that this week's project is fixing
> TIGER roads in rural Pennsylvania - are you "directed"?

Exactly.  It seems to me the distinction between those activities you 
specifically do not want to regulate and those you do want to cover is 

The core question seems to me what exactly the aim of such a policy is.  
If it is aimed at companies who have people edit in OSM the policy 
should define its scope in terms of these companies, not in terms of 
the editing activities they endorse.  One possible point is that 
organizations developing certain rules for mapping on their own (like 
regarding tagging or use of geometries to represent certain things) and 
instruct others to use these rules they are required to 
discuss/document these with the community first.  Such policy would be 
independent of how exactly people are instructed by the organization - 
if they are paid or just volunteers.

If on the other hand the editing activities themselves are considered 
the primary issue the question is what aspect of them is considered to 
be the problem and this should make the core of the definition.  Based 
on the issues in Wikipedia Paul refers to for example the possible 
conflicts of interest might be the main issue and if that is the case 
it might be best to require any mapper to disclose possible conflicts 
of interest on their user page.

The use of proprietary third-party sources is for example an issue not 
limited to organizational mapping at all, it is a frequent occurence 
that people use proprietary data they have access to (for example as 
part of their work but without their employer being involved) as a 
mapping source - such sources should probably be required to be 
disclosed even if the mapping itself is a totally private activity.

Christoph Hormann

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