"Microsoft has donated far more valuable map data to the project". Really ?

Posted by Pieren on 30 March 2012 in English (English)

Many recent articles in the media are speculating about the role of Microsoft boosting OSM vs Google. One of the facts reported is saying that "Microsoft donated map data to the project". I've seen this first in the NYT

(and blindly repeated in other mediums like PCWorld :

I'm just wondering if Bing aerial imagery can be considered as "map data". It needs a considerable amount of work to be converted to vector data and attributs, the real value of OSM "map data". It is just very irritating.

Comment from !i! on 30 March 2012 at 17:03

I was surprised how much channels just copy the basic informations, without any further investigations :/ I feel very much the same as you, but indeed I would agree that Bing aerial imagery is a huge booster for OSM data quality (just track the development of building=* or landuse=* tags). Nevertheless the current moment is a bit surprising to me, even without mentioning the strange blurring of military areas here in Germany.

Comment from Pieren on 30 March 2012 at 17:47

To clarify, I have nothing against the donation of Microsoft. It's only about the journalists using the wording "map data" about aerial imagery. It is very valuable but only a source for the "crowd", not direct data.

Comment from ArjanO on 31 March 2012 at 10:58

I don't see the problem. I'm happy there's that donation from microsoft. Whether you call it map data or aerial imagery. And also the replication of news articles makes sure OpenStreetMap is in the spotlight again.

Comment from Socratestravels on 31 March 2012 at 14:19

Bing sat is provided with official support from Microsoft. This is very good. I'm very surprised because I know Windows is one of the 2 greatest closed-source OS's out there. Although surprised, I'm very very happy that Microsoft provides us aerial/satellite images. Compared to Yahoo or even our "new national maps for Greece"(CC-BY 3, incompatible with odbl) it is way better.

Yahoo never gave us their official support but just some of their employees helped osm to solve some interpretation issues of their terms of service.

Thanks Microsoft for your kind donation of Bing maps! People, the media misinforms people on a regular basis. It's their job.

Comment from chillly on 31 March 2012 at 15:28

It wouldn't hurt to point out to the journalists concerned the mistake they have made. Perhaps, once the servers are at full speed again, you could invite them to try editing OSM for themselves, either using Bing imagery or joining (sponsoring?) a mapping party somewhere. Their inaccurate, copied work might turn into a real piece that other journalists copy and OSM gets more coverage.

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