[OSM-talk] OpenStreetMap usage in scientific studies (Mateusz Konieczny)

Nuno Caldeira nunocapelocaldeira at gmail.com
Sun Mar 3 20:30:58 UTC 2019

> Thanks for pointing me to it! I commented there about two cases where Mapbox itself is
> using OSM data without attribution.
> Hopefully this time I will get an useful reply from Mapbox (so far I tried contacting support
> but I got no useful reply since 24th January) - though after 4 years author of diary entry
> may no longer work at Mapbox.
> If anyone has idea how to contact  somebody at Mapbox who is able to fix missing
> attributions in Mapbox examples/docs - let me know.
Don't waste your time, they wont do a thing. If you are naive, like i 
was you can contact them through this form 
. But dont worry, the birds will let them know your thoughts if you 
express your concerns here in the mailing list. I already asked several 
times since August 2018 with emails back and forth til December with 
ridiculous replies, like asking me url of apps (when i clearly mentioned 
which app and device the screenshots were.

Good Mapbox visibly attributes OSM in such tiny maps examples on their 
HOW IT WORK page at https://docs.mapbox.com/help/how-mapbox-works/

The most funny thing about this, is Mapbox attribution page at 
page which states:
>       Mapbox wordmark
>       <https://docs.mapbox.com/help/how-mapbox-works/attribution/#mapbox-wordmark>
> The /Mapbox wordmark/ is a small image containing the stylized word 
> "Mapbox". It typically resides on the bottom left corner of a map. 
> While you may move the wordmark to a different corner of the map, we 
> require the Mapbox wordmark to appear on *our maps* so that _*Mapbox 
> and its maps get proper credit.*_ If you wish to otherwise relocate or 
> to remove the Mapbox wordmark, please contact our sales team 
> <https://www.mapbox.com/contact/sales> to discuss options available 
> under our Enterprise plans.
So Mapbox deserves credit, not OSM. Funny. Guess money or just a 
Entreprise plan can buy anything, even attribution on "our maps".

>       Text attribution
>       <https://docs.mapbox.com/help/how-mapbox-works/attribution/#text-attribution>
> The /text attribution/ contains at least three links: |© Mapbox| 
> <https://www.mapbox.com/about/maps/>, |© OpenStreetMap| 
> <http://www.openstreetmap.org/about/> and |Improve this map| 
> <https://www.mapbox.com/map-feedback/#/-74.5/40/10>. This attribution 
> is _*strictly **/required/*_ when using the Mapbox Streets tileset 
> _*due to OpenStreetMap's data source **ODbL 
> <http://opendatacommons.org/licenses/odbl/summary/>**license*_. Some 
> other Mapbox-provided tilesets require additional attribution which is 
> stored in the TileJSON 
> <https://docs.mapbox.com/help/glossary/tilejson> of the tileset.
So Mapbox is conscious of it (also that 2014 blog post that someone 
already shared). Guess mobile devices getting bigger since then had the 
counter effect of "less" space for visible attribution... plausible.

Thought my email exchange with Mapbox, alert them several times that 
some of their clients, more notoriously facebook and instagram, had 
static/thumbnail maps that are not attributed and do not fit into our 
non substantial for not being attributed, as they have more 100 OSM 
elements. So lets read what Mapbox attribution page says:
> Static <https://www.mapbox.com/api-documentation/maps/#static> and 
> print maps *need to be attributed* in the same fashion as you would 
> cite a photograph: in a *textual description near the image*.
> If you can include HTML, use this code snippet that includes links to 
> Mapbox & OpenStreetMap:
> |© <a href='https://www.mapbox.com/about/maps/'>Mapbox</a> © <a 
> href='http://www.openstreetmap.org/copyright'>OpenStreetMap</a> 
> <strong><a href='https://www.mapbox.com/map-feedback/' 
> target='_blank'>Improve this map</a></strong> |
So they do ask for attribution. Lets read Mapbox Terms of Service at 
https://www.mapbox.com/tos/#[IotuWyuo] :

> 7 - .....You may make static exports and prints for non-commercial 
> purposes such as flyers, posters, or other short publications for 
> academic, non-profit, or personal use. *All static and print materials 
> must contain the required Mapbox attribution*. Commercial printing 
> requires a custom plan, please contact our team for pricing. 
Great they do have the word MUST instead of SHOULD. Shame on us for 
their interpretation of should and would, their clients must, they 

> 16 - You may make static exports and prints for non-commercial 
> purposes such as flyers, posters, or other short publications for 
> academic, non-profit, or personal use. *All static* and print 
> materials must contain *the required Mapbox attribution*. Commercial 
> printing requires a custom plan, please contact our team for pricing. 
So Mapbox clients do not comply with their TOS (which i have alerted 
several times, both the clients and Mapbox directly). Did Mapbox do 
anything, no. OSMF did anything? No. Lets be fair, who would bite the 
hand that feeds.... its just attribution. shenanigans as someone said. 
its their map after all as they state.

Which brings to a question that has already been mentioned, the conflict 
of interest. This clearly needs to be sorted, Mapbox (nothing against 
them) they are just the ones that are having clients setting the bad 
examples which are a incentive to others to do the same and not 
attribute OSM (which, as i pointed out in my previous post of a couple 
of developers/companies that quoted that for their lack of attribution).

Now the worst case, Facebook. Here's Facebook reply to my email back in 
October 2018:
> We don’t currently have attribution on the map “previews” as the map 
> in preview form isn’t very informative and the intent is that users 
> will click into the experience to actually make use of the map. Once a 
> user clicks on the map, the attribution experience is readily 
> available.  I believe that this is the approach taken by many services 
> which offer a map feature.
> With respect to the use of the “i” indicating attribution, we 
> understand that may others in the industry have adopted a similar 
> approach –most likely to address the limited map real estate and the 
> multiple sources of attribution.  We believe that it’s common 
> knowledge that additional information, including license information 
> related to the mapping feature, can be accessed by clicking the “i.”  
> This appears to be common industry practice and reasonably calculated 
> to make users aware that OSM is a contributor of a map.
> Again, we thank you for your suggestions, and we value our partnership 
> with the OSM community.
So they also have their own interpretation of when and how attribution 
needs to be shown. Screen size doesnt matter here, not even on desktop 
they visibly attribute OSM, you have to click 3 times to figure out 
what's the map is from. When they had HERE maps, they visibly credited them.
Sounds good that the industry standard is not attributing. Applause. I 
replied, never got a reply back in October. Reached Facebook again in 
January the 6th 2019 with CC to Mapbox, received the email reading 
receipt ( on the 8th), but never a reply. Guess they have better things 
to do than to reply to a contributor of OSM.

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