Nepal, OSM License, and the NGA

Posted by MapMakinMeyers on 29 April 2015 in English (English)

unfortunately, tragedy brings about open data and huge osm efforts in remote locations that lack any data. Recently after the earthquake in Nepal, imagery, vector data, and tons of information are appearing on the internet every hour. very good sources are listed here:

Also, the NGA has some data available: (ebola and nepal)

if you go to the main Nepal page they have several pdf atlases:

the red icons are for the pdfs that use OSM data.

Did anyone see the Sochi maps they leaked after the olympics started? same source: OSM.

the question i have is can governments use OSM data, then make it classified? Once you take the data and build upon it, don't you have to share it back ( you can file FOIAs until your blue in the face and they would never confirm/ deny OSM exists... but shouldn't they follow license agreements put in place? I have reached out to them with regard to their open data for Ebola months ago. They do not respond to my e-mails. More of a rant I guess then a question. Cheers!

Comment from Alan Trick on 29 April 2015 at 21:11

the question i have is can governments use OSM data, then make it classified.

I am not a lawyer, but it seems to my that while you you could sue the government for copyright infringement, you probably won't get the remedy you're looking for (government opening up data) based on some sort of vague "not in the public interest" or "issue of national security" reason.

Comment from pnorman on 29 April 2015 at 23:19

if they're modifying OSM data, rendering in into a produced work (e.g. a map) and publicly distributing produced work they have to make the modified database available*. Looking at the NGA atlases they appear to be layering OSM data with other data, not modifying OSM data. There are some minor attribution problems where they've mangled the OpenStreetMap name slightly and haven't provided license information or a link to it.

The same is probably the case with the Sochi maps, but I'm less sure without comparing geometries.

Using ODbL data within a company or government and not releasing anything publicly is allowed by the license. The share-alike obligations only come into play if something is released publicly.

  • Or other similar options under ODbL 4.6

Comment from ika-chan! UK on 30 April 2015 at 12:30

Even with the governments out of the way, we can't practically force everyone to comply with our licence unless we have an aggressive legal team like RIAA.

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