[OSM-talk] Crowdfunding for OpenStreetMap in Bénin : 275km² high resolution satellite imagery for Cotonou by 1-May 2016!

Christoph Hormann chris_hormann at gmx.de
Mon Apr 25 18:01:54 UTC 2016

On Monday 25 April 2016, Frederik Ramm wrote:
> > You are not seriously suggesting that paying a proprietary data
> > vendor for a likely restrictive license to use some imagery for
> > mapping in OSM is in support of the idea of open data?
> I, too, am wary of this initiative because of the underlying idea
> that working without aerial imagery is a waste of time. IMHO the
> non-availability of aerial imagery primarily means that there will be
> less armchair mapping which I consider a good thing (but I know that
> my position on that is a minority position among humanitarian
> mappers).
> Having said that, paying for propietary imagery isn't without
> precedent in OSM, see for example http://wiki.openstreetmap.org and
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/WissensWert/40_-_Luftbilder_f%C3%BCr_

Yes, given the inherent ambiguities in the matter my statement was 
probably a bit too undifferentiated.

Paying for licensing commercial imagery and then making them available 
for OSM can be good for OSM and therefore open data of course - this is 
what Bing and Mapbox are doing on a significant scale for example but 
generally the application for mapping in OSM is only a secondary use 
here.  On the other hand if the community tries to acquire funds for 
image licenses themselves for the sole purpose of mapping this is 
highly questionable and i am not sure if i can imagine a situation 
where i would consider the gain by this justifies both the expense (the 
money could be used otherwise) and channeling money into non-open data 

Another perspective i consider important here: the open data movement 
and in particular OSM have been very successful in breaking the 
dominance of proprietary data and achieving a significant stand in the 
overall market of map data, in particular human infrastructure mapping 
(roads, buildings, POIs, addresses etc.).  In the field of imagery OTOH 
open data has - although clearly on the rise these days - still a much 
weaker standing.  This has reasons of course, like the significant 
upfront investments necessary to produce this kind of data, but solid 
support from the already much more successful OSM world by emphasizing 
the need and desire for truly open image data would certainly help this 
sector a lot.

Christoph Hormann

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