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#1
selapa.net

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Hi!

I'm trying to gather resources for making a educational poster-size world map. I only consider resources that can be freely modified and distributed.

Here's what I got:

Natural Earth
http://www.naturalearthdata.com/

Physical Map of the World
http://www.shadedrelief.com/world/

CIA - The World Factbook
https://www.cia.gov/...cs/refmaps.html

Wikimedia Commons - Category:Maps of the world
http://commons.wikim...ps_of_the_world

Blue Marble
http://visibleearth....categoryID=2363

True Marbleā„¢
http://www.unearthed...marble/download
http://www.unearthed..._cover/download

#2
Dennis McClendon

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Natural Earth is really about all you'd need unless you plan to map an unusual theme, or want particular control over placename language and spelling.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
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#3
Igor Brejc

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"be freely modified and distributed" is a bit vague. Do you mean free as in Public Domain? Or free meaning the license permits you to modify data and distribute it provided you adhere to the original license (like in the case of OpenStreetMap, which you haven't listed)?
Igor Brejc
author of Maperitive, an OSM-based mapmaking software

#4
Hans van der Maarel

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"be freely modified and distributed" is a bit vague. Do you mean free as in Public Domain? Or free meaning the license permits you to modify data and distribute it provided you adhere to the original license (like in the case of OpenStreetMap, which you haven't listed)?


I wouldn't use OpenStreetMap for a poster-sized world map. Apart from the fact that it's too difficult to actually get the data, the licensing situation is murky and it's not intended as a cartographic dataset, whereas Natural Earth is.
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#5
selapa.net

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Natural Earth is really about all you'd need unless you plan to map an unusual theme, or want particular control over placename language and spelling.


One of my ideas is indeed to provide translations... so this could be useful too:

List of countries, territories and currencies (in all EU languages)
http://publications..../en-5000500.htm



"be freely modified and distributed" is a bit vague. Do you mean free as in Public Domain? Or free meaning the license permits you to modify data and distribute it provided you adhere to the original license (like in the case of OpenStreetMap, which you haven't listed)?

I mean that you're allowed to create a map based on these data and you're allowed to distribute it so others could use it and adapt it (translate, for instance) for their needs. Public Domain, FDL, CC BY, CC BY-SA, and even CC BY-SA-NC since I'm looking for educational use, are fine.

CC ND wouldn't be ok, for instance.

#6
Igor Brejc

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"be freely modified and distributed" is a bit vague. Do you mean free as in Public Domain? Or free meaning the license permits you to modify data and distribute it provided you adhere to the original license (like in the case of OpenStreetMap, which you haven't listed)?


I wouldn't use OpenStreetMap for a poster-sized world map. Apart from the fact that it's too difficult to actually get the data, the licensing situation is murky and it's not intended as a cartographic dataset, whereas Natural Earth is.


I agree, but my point was that "free" is a very vague term when it comes to licensing. Both Public Domain sources and CC BY-SA sources (example) can be called "free", but they are very different kinds of animals when you distribute work that derives from them.
Igor Brejc
author of Maperitive, an OSM-based mapmaking software

#7
Hans van der Maarel

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I agree, but my point was that "free" is a very vague term when it comes to licensing. Both Public Domain sources and CC BY-SA sources (example) can be called "free", but they are very different kinds of animals when you distribute work that derives from them.


I agree. What always bothered me about OpenStreetMap is that it's so difficult to get a clear, simple overview about what you're allowed to do with it. In that respect, I think Natural Earth does it a lot better. For comparison:
Natural Earth Terms of Use
vs
OpenStreetMap Copyright and License
Creative Commons Legal Code
OpenStreetMap Legal FAQ
OpenStreetMap Common License Interpretations
and many more pages of discussion...

To be honest, and at the risk of upsetting people, I'd prefer that the OpenStreetMap foundation prioritizes some basic data cleanup practices (the roads data for The Netherlands includes 72 different types of road, including "residential" and two misspellings of that, several Dutch terms and "no"...)
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#8
Igor Brejc

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What always bothered me about OpenStreetMap is that it's so difficult to get a clear, simple overview about what you're allowed to do with it. In that respect, I think Natural Earth does it a lot better. For comparison:


Well, that's because Natural Earth has been released as Public Domain, while OSM wasn't. It's easy to write/interpret what Public Domain means - you can do _anything_ with the data and no attribution is needed.

The biggest reason why OSM hasn't gone the Public Domain route is that this would mean any "competitive" mapping provider (like Google, Microsoft, Navteq etc) could use OSM data freely and make money out of it, while they themselves don't offer that opportunity to others. A typical example is Google which offers users to contribute mapping data which the same users then cannot use freely.

So some legal babble is still needed to interpret what's allowed and what's not in OSM. I guess this is the price users will have to pay for getting so much free data. And the problem is that licensing is the Domain Of Lawyers and you get different opinions and interpretations of various licences' terms.

BTW take a look at Wikipedia's licensing (http://en.wikipedia....ntent_licensing) - they have a very similar problem OSM has and had also have to move from one license type to another due to unsuitability of existing standard licenses for different kinds of work (most were written for software and not data).

To be honest, and at the risk of upsetting people, I'd prefer that the OpenStreetMap foundation prioritizes some basic data cleanup practices (the roads data for The Netherlands includes 72 different types of road, including "residential" and two misspellings of that, several Dutch terms and "no"...)


This is not how OSM works. It's community based and there are no strict rules enforced (other than not violating 3rd party copyright). You should talk to the Dutch community about these tagging issues - although these problem are present in all parts of the world. A bit anarchic, I know, but nobody has yet come up with a better organization. When you have so many contributors there's bound to be problems with data quality, but there are a lot of dedicated people fixing these things. And I guess you could be one of them :)
Igor Brejc
author of Maperitive, an OSM-based mapmaking software

#9
Hans van der Maarel

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The biggest reason why OSM hasn't gone the Public Domain route is that this would mean any "competitive" mapping provider (like Google, Microsoft, Navteq etc) could use OSM data freely and make money out of it, while they themselves don't offer that opportunity to others. A typical example is Google which offers users to contribute mapping data which the same users then cannot use freely.


A valid point, but given the current state of the OSM data model (and the fact it's not consistently followed) I don't consider this to be very likely. The big companies (Tele Atlas and Navteq) succesfully blocked the opening up of a Dutch road centerlines dataset a few years ago using the "it would hurt our business" line, but given that that dataset didn't even have a road classification in it makes it very unlikely somebody could turn it into a product that supports navigation...

This is not how OSM works. It's community based and there are no strict rules enforced (other than not violating 3rd party copyright). You should talk to the Dutch community about these tagging issues - although these problem are present in all parts of the world. A bit anarchic, I know, but nobody has yet come up with a better organization. When you have so many contributors there's bound to be problems with data quality, but there are a lot of dedicated people fixing these things. And I guess you could be one of them :)


I've got some contacts with the Dutch OSM community, I'll carefully poke them about this.

At the risk of making myself even more unpopular with the OSM people, this data issue and lack of consistancy, plus the unreliability that stems from it makes me weary of using OSM. I've done so on a number of occasions, but always as a last resort. I fully agree that commercial or governmental sources aren't always very accurate or reliable either, but at least they (with some notable exceptions...) are generally consistent.

Another thing that's holding me back from using OSM is the licensing situation. Take for example the London Map I posted in the Map Gallery yesterday. It doesn't have footpaths in Hyde Park. I can get those out of OSM, but what would that mean for my (or my client's) ability to sell the map either in paper or digital form?
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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#10
Birdfree

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Im in hurry so sorry for my short answer:
http://www.geodressi...arten-downloads

free to use. Have fun.

Birdfree

#11
Igor Brejc

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First of all let me just say that I'm not speaking for the OSM community. I am an OSM contributor and I develop software which relies on OSM data, but I'm not too much involved in day-to-day OSM discussions and deciding future directions - I simply don't have time to do that and I like writing software much more than talking/writing mail. I do have my own gripes as regards inconsistent tagging, access to vector data etc, but I guess this is the nature of the beast.

given the current state of the OSM data model (and the fact it's not consistently followed) I don't consider this to be very likely. The big companies (Tele Atlas and Navteq) succesfully blocked the opening up of a Dutch road centerlines dataset a few years ago using the "it would hurt our business" line, but given that that dataset didn't even have a road classification in it makes it very unlikely somebody could turn it into a product that supports navigation...


Navigation - probably not, in the current state. However there are many more uses for OSM data than simply navigation. I agree the data quality is questionable, but I think comparing OSM to any kind of commercial provider is misleading - the business model (if you can call that it in OSM) is totally different, so is the way the data is collected, processed and what providers offer is very different. OSM is simply something different. Whether it has a bright future, I don't know, we will see. A lot of it depends on what commercial providers do in the future.

But simply said: OSM is the only source of free, global and detailed vector geographic data. We can talk about data quality all day, but nobody else can give me a free vector database of, say, my home town or my country or a random place on the Earth. I can understand that for bigger players paying for data is not a big issue, but OSM is not about big players, is about disseminating geo data to anyone who has any use of it and knows how get hold of the data.

One problem OSM has is that because of financial reasons its hardware infrastructure is pretty poor compared to, say, Google, so the access to data is limited and fetching it can be a bit of PITA - there are several ways, but they usually require hardware resources.

Another thing that's holding me back from using OSM is the licensing situation. Take for example the London Map I posted in the Map Gallery yesterday. It doesn't have footpaths in Hyde Park. I can get those out of OSM, but what would that mean for my (or my client's) ability to sell the map either in paper or digital form?


That would mean you can still sell the map in any form, however:
1. The map must contain a visible attribution to OSM (something like the one in the lower right corner of this map: http://www.flickr.co...157623561783546)
2. All map forms have to be released under the current OSM license (I think it's still CC BY-SA). That means that anyone can, say, photocopy or scan the printed map and distribute it themselves (again, under CC-BY SA). Anyone can copy the digital map and use/edit/distribute it.

So it's an issue if you want to have an exclusive copyright of the map, that's not possible if it contains some OSM data. You can still sell it, of course, but you cannot prevent anyone else making a profit out of it.
Igor Brejc
author of Maperitive, an OSM-based mapmaking software

#12
Michael Schmeling

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Another thing that's holding me back from using OSM is the licensing situation. Take for example the London Map I posted in the Map Gallery yesterday. It doesn't have footpaths in Hyde Park. I can get those out of OSM, but what would that mean for my (or my client's) ability to sell the map either in paper or digital form?


I completely agree that this is a big problem. Only yesterday I lost a customer because I had to tell him that his map would be under a CC BY-SA license.

He will probably get his map from someone else who also uses OSM but doesn't tell the client... oh well.
Michael Schmeling
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