Freemap: Free mapping site for walkers and cyclists: IMPORTANT UPDATE!

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Nick Whitelegg, Oct 2, 2004.

  1. Some of you may recall me mentioning the Freemap project in the past.
    Since my last update (about 6 months ago) several improvements have
    been made. For those
    of you not familiar, here is what Freemap is all about...

    Freemap aims to provide:

    * Free maps of any user-specified grid square, generated by
    OS-independent GPS surveys.
    * People can survey their own area and contribute to Freemap
    * Mapping to include rights of way, roads, and principal landscape
    features including essentials such as towns, villages, pubs, summits,
    viewpoints, railway stations and car parks, in addition to other
    features such as churches, farms and points of general interest.
    * Information about the area, such as recommended walks, pubs,
    viewpoints, etc
    * A bed and breakfast directory
    * Distance calculation facilities

    The main NEW features are...

    Since I last posted, I have surveyed a significantly greater area: now
    almost all paths in a triangle bounded by Petersfield, Midhurst and
    Hindhead in West Sussex/Hampshire/Surrey can be found on Freemap. In
    addition, I have done many paths in the Peckforton Hills area of
    Cheshire.

    The main improvement, though, since last time is that the contribute
    facilities are now up and running. Now you can survey your own area
    with a GPS and upload the results to Freemap, provided your data is
    indeed your own (not copied from an OS map!) To aid this, I have
    written one or two "helper" applications to make this process easier:
    more details on the website.

    The range of features shown on maps has been expanded: car parks,
    stations, churches and masts (TV, radio aerials etc) are now shown.

    Freemap maps now also contain shading for woods, heaths and urban
    areas: I have estimated this. Again more detail on the website.

    The main advantage of Freemap is that unlike rival services, Freemap
    maps have no restrictive licencing on them. Since Freemap maps are
    generated by Ordnance Survey-independent GPS surveys, you are able to
    use Freemap-generated maps on your own site, and download, print,
    annotate and redistribute them entirely at your own will. Also unlike
    other web mapping sites it is very much an outdoors/rights-of-way
    orientated site.

    Freemap can be found at: http://www.freemap.org.uk/

    Nick
    [email protected], [email protected]
     
    Tags:


  2. Nick,

    I applaud what you are trying to do with Freemap and well done for
    taking the time to set it up. Personally I feel there are a number of
    problems with it :-

    1. It's going to take forever to get any reasonable coverage. You've
    proved this by spending months (probably nearer a year) and you've only
    covered a tiny area around your home (presumably). Have you considered
    getting a boost by re-using Digital Chart of the World (DCW) data. This
    is public domain low resolution 1:250,000 scale data of major roads and
    other features. Alternatively if you want better accuracy you could
    trace roads, railways, etc from 1950's OS maps i.e. out of copyright.

    2. There are no height features - what use is a walking map with no
    contours ? You could use freely available NASA SRTM height data to
    generate contours have a look at the maps that you can generate in
    Trailgauge to see what is possible to do just from this one data set.

    3. The output quality is poor to say the least with garish colours, no
    anti-aliasing, no smooth curves etc. This could be much improved, I may
    be able to help you here, again have a look at the free maps generated
    from Trailgauge.

    4. How are you going to prevent your dataset being polluted with
    copyrighted OS data ? I see that you have the user agreement to ask
    people not to submit traced OS data but you have no way to prevent this.
    Indeed the OS could anonymously submit some of their own data to Freemap
    in order to close you down !

    Perhaps I'm being a bit negative here, what do others think ? but I'd
    hate to see you flogging a dead horse. Anyway if you think I can help in
    any way please drop me a mail.


    --
    Andrew Whaley, author of :-

    Trailgauge - Shareware 3D GPS Mapping Software
    Free Download from http://www.trailgauge.com
     
  3. > 4. How are you going to prevent your dataset being polluted with
    > copyrighted OS data ? I see that you have the user agreement to ask
    > people not to submit traced OS data but you have no way to prevent this.
    > Indeed the OS could anonymously submit some of their own data to Freemap
    > in order to close you down !


    Is there some way of submitting the 'raw material' as proof it was
    collected from GPS rather than copied off a map? Presumably the acuracy of
    it would be proof enough? Not sure how you'd check the accuracy of stuff
    other people have sent in tho.

    > Perhaps I'm being a bit negative here, what do others think ?


    It would be handy for people to whack up maps for suggested walks etc. The
    data should grow quite quickly once people start submitting their own data.
    Could be something for the uni walking clubs to do other than sit in the
    pub...
     
  4. Tim Lamb

    Tim Lamb Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, Mark
    Thompson <[email protected]> writes
    >> Perhaps I'm being a bit negative here, what do others think ?

    >
    >It would be handy for people to whack up maps for suggested walks etc. The
    >data should grow quite quickly once people start submitting their own data.
    >Could be something for the uni walking clubs to do other than sit in the
    >pub...


    I don't know enough about the technology to comment but suggest that
    some mechanism be incorporated to ensure that the status of the uploaded
    route is checked with the definitive map before inclusion. E.g. few
    cyclists seem able to differentiate a footpath with stiles from a
    bridleway with gates:)

    I would need more detail/landmarks to be able to follow the displayed
    map.

    regards

    --
    Tim Lamb
     
  5. Andrew Whaley <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...

    > Nick,
    >
    > I applaud what you are trying to do with Freemap and well done for
    > taking the time to set it up. Personally I feel there are a number of
    > problems with it :-
    >
    > 1. It's going to take forever to get any reasonable coverage. You've
    > proved this by spending months (probably nearer a year) and you've only
    > covered a tiny area around your home (presumably).


    I've managed to get a lot done since around May. But if more people
    did a similar area, large areas could be built up quite quickly.

    > Have you considered
    > getting a boost by re-using Digital Chart of the World (DCW) data. This
    > is public domain low resolution 1:250,000 scale data of major roads and
    > other features.


    OK I'll check it out.

    >
    > 2. There are no height features - what use is a walking map with no
    > contours ? You could use freely available NASA SRTM height data to
    > generate contours have a look at the maps that you can generate in
    > Trailgauge to see what is possible to do just from this one data set.



    > 4. How are you going to prevent your dataset being polluted with
    > copyrighted OS data ? I see that you have the user agreement to ask
    > people not to submit traced OS data but you have no way to prevent this.
    > Indeed the OS could anonymously submit some of their own data to Freemap
    > in order to close you down !


    I doubt they'd do something like that, despite enforcing their
    copyright in rather draconian ways I'd expect them to behave
    honourably. Wouldn't that be illegal (against competition laws)
    anyhow? If not, very sleazy. I really can't see the OS descending that
    low.

    > Perhaps I'm being a bit negative here, what do others think ? but I'd
    > hate to see you flogging a dead horse. Anyway if you think I can help in
    > any way please drop me a mail.


    I really don't see that it is flogging a dead horse - as I said, if
    enough people had faith in it as I do, it could build up into
    something big quite quickly.

    Nick
     
  6. Mark Thompson <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > > 4. How are you going to prevent your dataset being polluted with
    > > copyrighted OS data ? I see that you have the user agreement to ask
    > > people not to submit traced OS data but you have no way to prevent this.
    > > Indeed the OS could anonymously submit some of their own data to Freemap
    > > in order to close you down !

    >
    > Is there some way of submitting the 'raw material' as proof it was
    > collected from GPS rather than copied off a map? Presumably the acuracy of
    > it would be proof enough? Not sure how you'd check the accuracy of stuff
    > other people have sent in tho.


    Wouldn't people clicking the "I agree that this is non-copyright data"
    button mean that they are legally responsible for the data though, and
    that it would be they that were guilty of any OS copyright
    infringement? If not, maybe them sending in a paper agreement would be
    valid? I thought agreements were legally binding.

    Nick
     
  7. Tim Jackson

    Tim Jackson Guest

    Nick Whitelegg wrote on 3 Oct 2004 14:41:43 -0700....
    > I doubt they'd do something like that, despite enforcing their
    > copyright in rather draconian ways I'd expect them to behave
    > honourably. Wouldn't that be illegal (against competition laws)
    > anyhow? If not, very sleazy. I really can't see the OS descending that
    > low.


    Likewise.

    I can't immediately see an argument that it would be against
    competition laws. However, I suspect a court would be receptive to an
    argument that the OS had impliedly given you a free licence to use the
    data they sent you in your database, since that was the apparent
    purpose of them sending it. From their point of view, that would be
    self-defeating.

    --
    Tim Jackson
    [email protected]lid
    (Change '.invalid' to '.co.uk' to reply direct)
    Absurd patents: visit http://www.patent.freeserve.co.uk
     
  8. Tim Jackson

    Tim Jackson Guest

    Nick Whitelegg wrote on 3 Oct 2004 14:47:23 -0700....
    > Wouldn't people clicking the "I agree that this is non-copyright data"
    > button mean that they are legally responsible for the data though, and
    > that it would be they that were guilty of any OS copyright
    > infringement? If not, maybe them sending in a paper agreement would be
    > valid? I thought agreements were legally binding.


    You would still be infringing by running the website, so the OS could
    in theory take legal action against you. I don't think you can
    shuffle that off onto the person who supplied the data by making them
    sign an agreement (though they might be liable *as well* as you, if
    the OS chose to sue them).

    Nevertheless, I still think it's a good idea to get the supplier of
    the data to sign an assurance about where it came from (or to click an
    online agreement button with a prominent warning, as you do at
    present).

    This is partly because it may help to dissuade some people from
    polluting the data. But also because it would hopefully mean that you
    wouldn't have to pay damages to the OS, since you had no reason to
    suppose that the data was subject to their copyright. It's what's
    called an "innocent infringer" defence.

    In these circumstances, all the OS would be able to gain from legal
    action would be an injunction to prevent you carrying on the
    infringement, and maybe an order to pay over any profit you'd made
    from their data. But not damages (e.g. the loss of their normal
    licensing fees for such use of their data).

    So in practice, if you removed the offending data as soon as they
    notify you about it, and hadn't made any profit, then it wouldn't be
    worth their while to sue you.

    You might consider having an agreement which says that the person who
    supplied you with the data will be liable for any costs you incur if
    you do get sued. However, I think that will be rather difficult
    legally. One reason is that if you are not paying for the data, or
    giving the person who supplies it any other form of consideration,
    then there's no legally-binding contract.

    --
    Tim Jackson
    [email protected]lid
    (Change '.invalid' to '.co.uk' to reply direct)
    Absurd patents: visit http://www.patent.freeserve.co.uk
     
  9. GusTav

    GusTav Guest

    [email protected] (Nick Whitelegg) wrote in
    news:[email protected]:

    > Andrew Whaley <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:<[email protected]>...
    >> 4. How are you going to prevent your dataset being polluted with
    >> copyrighted OS data ? I see that you have the user agreement to
    >> ask people not to submit traced OS data but you have no way to
    >> prevent this. Indeed the OS could anonymously submit some of
    >> their own data to Freemap in order to close you down !

    >
    > I doubt they'd do something like that, despite enforcing their
    > copyright in rather draconian ways I'd expect them to behave
    > honourably. Wouldn't that be illegal (against competition laws)
    > anyhow? If not, very sleazy. I really can't see the OS descending
    > that low.


    In short, No. If fact they'd be perfectly within their rights. But,
    if you weren't commercially expoliting the info, and noone else was
    they might turn a blind eye ... Might!

    GusTav.
    --
    Summum ius, summa iniuria
     
  10. Nick Kew

    Nick Kew Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    [email protected] (Nick Whitelegg) writes:

    > Wouldn't people clicking the "I agree that this is non-copyright data"
    > button mean that they are legally responsible for the data though, and
    > that it would be they that were guilty of any OS copyright
    > infringement? If not, maybe them sending in a paper agreement would be
    > valid? I thought agreements were legally binding.


    Well, the major open source software projects have to deal with the
    possibility of someone illegally contributing work that's copyright
    someone else. It seems to me a somewhat-analagous situation.

    Example: when I became a member of the Apache team, I had to sign
    an agreement to take responsibility for ensuring my contributions
    don't infringe anyone's copyright. They had to hold that on file
    before creating an account for me, and of course CVS keeps track
    of where every contribution comes from.

    In the worst case, you might have to remove infringing material.
    That's where traceability is important: don't let one bad contribution
    taint your entire project.

    > Nick


    Likewise :)

    --
    Nick Kew
     
  11. [email protected] (Nick Kew) wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > In article <[email protected]>,
    > [email protected] (Nick Whitelegg) writes:
    >
    > > Wouldn't people clicking the "I agree that this is non-copyright data"
    > > button mean that they are legally responsible for the data though, and
    > > that it would be they that were guilty of any OS copyright
    > > infringement? If not, maybe them sending in a paper agreement would be
    > > valid? I thought agreements were legally binding.

    >
    > Well, the major open source software projects have to deal with the
    > possibility of someone illegally contributing work that's copyright
    > someone else. It seems to me a somewhat-analagous situation.
    >
    > Example: when I became a member of the Apache team, I had to sign
    > an agreement to take responsibility for ensuring my contributions
    > don't infringe anyone's copyright. They had to hold that on file
    > before creating an account for me, and of course CVS keeps track
    > of where every contribution comes from.
    >
    > In the worst case, you might have to remove infringing material.
    > That's where traceability is important: don't let one bad contribution
    > taint your entire project.


    Thanks for all the replies. It's a bit disturbing that I have to
    legally take responsibility for data submitted to Freemap, and that
    somehow I would be seen as the guilty party rather than the actual
    offender.

    It's encouraging that some people have indicated that the OS would
    only ask me to remove the offending data, but I have had a private
    email indicating that if *any* copyright data was there they could ask
    me to remove the *whole* project. Don't really see how this would
    legally make sense, as if I removed the bad data, there would no
    longer be any copyright data there.

    Anyhow if you are interested, I'll keep you posted. The main
    priorities now are:

    Add contours (thanks Andrew for pointing out the freely available
    database)
    Add a contribute suggested walks facility
    Add a user comments (on areas, pubs, etc) section
    Bed and breakfasts?

    Nick
     
  12. In uk.rec.walking Nick Whitelegg <[email protected]> wrote:

    > It's encouraging that some people have indicated that the OS would
    > only ask me to remove the offending data, but I have had a private
    > email indicating that if *any* copyright data was there they could ask
    > me to remove the *whole* project. Don't really see how this would
    > legally make sense, as if I removed the bad data, there would no
    > longer be any copyright data there.
    >


    How would you prove that there was no other copyright data present ?
    Removing all the data from the same contributor isn't enough, and
    the OS wouldn't need to bother, as the item they'd found would be
    sufficient proof that you (didn't/couldn't) check it.

    I don't like to argue this position as I'd like to see copyright-
    free maps as much as anyone, but it needs thinking through.

    -adrian
     
  13. Geoff Berrow

    Geoff Berrow Guest

    I noticed that Message-ID:
    <[email protected]> from Nick Whitelegg
    contained the following:

    >
    >It's encouraging that some people have indicated that the OS would
    >only ask me to remove the offending data, but I have had a private
    >email indicating that if *any* copyright data was there they could ask
    >me to remove the *whole* project. Don't really see how this would
    >legally make sense, as if I removed the bad data, there would no
    >longer be any copyright data there.



    Seems a little draconian. Is ordnance survey privatised?

    Who paid for the surveys in the first place?
    --
    Geoff Berrow (put thecat out to email)
    It's only Usenet, no one dies.
    My opinions, not the committee's, mine.
    Simple RFDs http://www.ckdog.co.uk/rfdmaker/
     
  14. James Annan

    James Annan Guest

    Geoff Berrow wrote:


    > Seems a little draconian. Is ordnance survey privatised?
    >
    > Who paid for the surveys in the first place?


    I did, and I object to people destroying their value by making illegal
    copies and giving them away. If the OS lose out on sales, they'll just
    need more taxpayer support.

    James
    (no, I don't _really_ believe this)
    --
    If I have seen further than others, it is
    by treading on the toes of giants.
    http://www.ne.jp/asahi/julesandjames/home/
     
  15. In article <[email protected]>, Adrian Godwin wrote:
    >In uk.rec.walking Nick Whitelegg <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >> It's encouraging that some people have indicated that the OS would
    >> only ask me to remove the offending data, but I have had a private
    >> email indicating that if *any* copyright data was there they could ask
    >> me to remove the *whole* project. Don't really see how this would
    >> legally make sense, as if I removed the bad data, there would no
    >> longer be any copyright data there.

    >
    >How would you prove that there was no other copyright data present ?
    >Removing all the data from the same contributor isn't enough, and
    >the OS wouldn't need to bother, as the item they'd found would be
    >sufficient proof that you (didn't/couldn't) check it.


    But not proof that there was other copyright data there. If Nick has
    made reasonable efforts to reject OS copyright material, and is prepared
    to remove anything they complain about, surely it ought to be up to the
    OS to prove further infringement, not Nick to prove his innocence?

    But maybe he needs to talk to a lawyer before this takes off.
     
  16. Geoff Berrow <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > I noticed that Message-ID:
    > <[email protected]> from Nick Whitelegg
    > contained the following:
    >
    > >
    > >It's encouraging that some people have indicated that the OS would
    > >only ask me to remove the offending data, but I have had a private
    > >email indicating that if *any* copyright data was there they could ask
    > >me to remove the *whole* project. Don't really see how this would
    > >legally make sense, as if I removed the bad data, there would no
    > >longer be any copyright data there.

    >
    >
    > Seems a little draconian. Is ordnance survey privatised?
    >
    > Who paid for the surveys in the first place?


    Sorry if any confusion - the OS didn't send this private email,
    someone else did suggesting this may be the case.

    Nick
     
  17. [email protected] (Alan Braggins) wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > In article <[email protected]>, Adrian Godwin wrote:
    > >In uk.rec.walking Nick Whitelegg <[email protected]> wrote:
    > >
    > >> It's encouraging that some people have indicated that the OS would
    > >> only ask me to remove the offending data, but I have had a private
    > >> email indicating that if *any* copyright data was there they could ask
    > >> me to remove the *whole* project. Don't really see how this would
    > >> legally make sense, as if I removed the bad data, there would no
    > >> longer be any copyright data there.

    > >
    > >How would you prove that there was no other copyright data present ?
    > >Removing all the data from the same contributor isn't enough, and
    > >the OS wouldn't need to bother, as the item they'd found would be
    > >sufficient proof that you (didn't/couldn't) check it.

    >
    > But not proof that there was other copyright data there. If Nick has
    > made reasonable efforts to reject OS copyright material, and is prepared
    > to remove anything they complain about, surely it ought to be up to the
    > OS to prove further infringement, not Nick to prove his innocence?


    I'd have thought so, isn't that the way law works, innocent until
    proven guilty.

    > But maybe he needs to talk to a lawyer before this takes off.


    How much would this cost? I'd want to talk to someone who was an
    expert in this area. Possibly not just yet, I really want to put the
    enhancements in first that I mentioned in my last email, but *if* I
    could afford it (this is a Free Software style project, I don't get
    paid a penny for it, in fact it *costs* me between GBP10-20/week in
    train fares to get out to typical areas I'm surveying) I might well
    do.

    Apologies for those who don't know what I'm going on about, but maybe
    it would be worth talking to some Linux/Open Source/Free Software
    people who know about this sort of thing.

    Nick
     
  18. Tim Jackson

    Tim Jackson Guest

    Alan Braggins wrote on 06 Oct 2004 15:02:15 +0100 (BST)....
    > In article <[email protected]>, Adrian Godwin wrote:
    > >
    > >How would you prove that there was no other copyright data present ?
    > >Removing all the data from the same contributor isn't enough, and
    > >the OS wouldn't need to bother, as the item they'd found would be
    > >sufficient proof that you (didn't/couldn't) check it.

    >
    > But not proof that there was other copyright data there. If Nick has
    > made reasonable efforts to reject OS copyright material, and is prepared
    > to remove anything they complain about, surely it ought to be up to the
    > OS to prove further infringement, not Nick to prove his innocence?


    Yes, in any litigation the burden would be on the OS to prove that
    there was copyright material present, not on Nick to prove that there
    wasn't. And for the reasons I gave in an earlier post, provided he
    was willing and able to remove any material they did complain about, I
    doubt if it would be worth their while to sue. They might write him a
    nasty letter, but as long as he has traceability and reacts promptly
    I'd be very surprised if it went any further.

    --
    Tim Jackson
    [email protected]lid
    (Change '.invalid' to '.co.uk' to reply direct)
    Absurd patents: visit http://www.patent.freeserve.co.uk
     
  19. On Sun, 3 Oct 2004 18:37:10 +0000 (UTC), Andrew Whaley
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >other features. Alternatively if you want better accuracy you could
    >trace roads, railways, etc from 1950's OS maps i.e. out of copyright.


    Are they out of copyright? Copyright exists for a set number of years
    after the death of the owner. The OS hasn't died yet! So even the very
    first map they produced would still be copyright to OS.

    Is there something specific about OS that I don't know about?
     
  20. Dave Pickles

    Dave Pickles Guest

    Richard Bates wrote:

    > On Sun, 3 Oct 2004 18:37:10 +0000 (UTC), Andrew Whaley
    > <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >>other features. Alternatively if you want better accuracy you could
    >>trace roads, railways, etc from 1950's OS maps i.e. out of copyright.

    >
    > Are they out of copyright? Copyright exists for a set number of years
    > after the death of the owner. The OS hasn't died yet! So even the very
    > first map they produced would still be copyright to OS.
    >
    > Is there something specific about OS that I don't know about?


    http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/oswebsite/business/copyright/consumer/

    Copyright expires 50 yesrs after the end of the year of publication.
    --
    Dave
     
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