Sad day for VGI in Turkey

Posted by unen on 3 February 2020 in English (English).

This past week, on January 30, members of the Turkish parliament voted in favour of the proposed amendment to the National Geographic Information Systems law, regulating the acquisition, collection, dissemination and trading of spatial data.

With the law, the sole responsibility and authority on the national spatial data index is given to the Ministry of Environmental and Urban Affairs. Acquisition, collection, dissemination and trading of spatial data which is defined within the National Spatial Data Responsibility Matrix by third party individuals or legal entities are subject to prior approval of the ministry. Moreover, the approval will be subject to a fee of 25₺ for native, 50₺ for foreign parties per each 1/1000 plan corresponding to the study region(s) from the national topographical grid.

If not withdrawn or rephrased and applied in its full extent, the law will mean an end to volunteered geographic information in Turkey, and online non-profit data sources like OpenStreetMap.

The data layers which are included in the national spatial data responsibility list is as follows:

  1. Coordinate Reference Systems and Geographical Grid Systems
  2. Administrative Units
  3. Geographical Names
  4. Cadastre
  5. Buildings
  6. Addresses
  7. Elevation
  8. Orthophoto
  9. Transportation Networks
  10. Hydrography
  11. Geology
  12. Land Cover
  13. Land Use
  14. Soil Types
  15. Protection Areas
  16. Natural Risk Regions
  17. Infrastructure
  18. Energy Resources
  19. Mines
  20. Public Health and Safety
  21. Populaiton Demographics
  22. Environmental Monitoring Facilities
  23. Industrial Facilities
  24. Agricultural Facilities
  25. Public Administration Regions
  26. Flora and Fauna
  27. Habitat Zones
  28. Biogeographical Zones
  29. Sea and Saltwater Regions
  30. Atmospherical Data
  31. Meteorological Data
  32. NUTS Data
Location: Istanbul, Fatih, Istanbul, Marmara Region, 34126, Türkiye

Comment from mikelmaron on 4 February 2020 at 20:45

Do you have a sense of the intention of this law? Seems unlikely they’d have OSM in mind, but more likely commercial providers. What’s the risk that enforcement will actually focus on OSM activity?

Comment from Zverik on 5 February 2020 at 19:29

I think we have a similar law in Russia — but it concerns only professional mapping. Like, you need to get a license and send your maps for review to the mapping agency. OpenStreetMap or any other volunteer-driven maps are not considered “maps” legally: they are plans, or art, or any other word of that regard.

Comment from MapMakinMeyers on 6 February 2020 at 01:31

@unen do you have the webpage explaining this? Thanks!

Comment from unen on 16 February 2020 at 20:15

Mikel, there are speculations, but we don’t have a clear sense on its reason. It may be that an EU compatibility adjustment law gone wrong.

Zverik, the law mentions individuals as well as companies. There was already laws regulating spatial data production, and making them being subject to approval from the General Directorate of Mapping. You also needed to have a permit to perform street-level imagery collection. This law, different from what you’ve shared, mentions individuals as well as the mapping companies. So, the not-maps like OSM also falls in this definition.

Mikel, as far as I’ve heard (and they are all non-confirmable rumours so far) the law was not passed with OSM in mind, and OSM is not against a threat. But if practiced at its full extent, individuals contributing to OSM, and the OSMF itself might be subject to fines due to the production and sharing of the data falling inside the national spatial data definitions.

Comment from dorukata on 5 January 2022 at 11:19

Do you think this new law will affect companies that only show vehicles on the map? For example, the Vehicle Tracking Industry?

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