Introduction to OSM for Business Users

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Introduction to OSM for Business Users

You heard about OpenStreetMap and you think it sounds interesting. You even think that OpenStreetMap might be able to help your business but you aren't quite sure where to start. This is a good place for you to start.

Can I use OpenStreetMap for Business Purposes?

Main article: Legal#Free_and_open_geographic_data_for_the_world

Yes. The OpenStreetMap License allows commercial use.

What Licence? I Thought OpenStreetMap was Free?

OpenStreetMap data is Free. You don't need to pay for access to the data. You might need to buy your own servers or hire your own programmers depending on how you want to use OpenStreetMap data.

Can I Include OpenStreetMap on my Web Site?

For how to embed OSM in your website or blog, see Export.
For tile usage policy, see Tile usage policy.
For commercial services, see Commercial OSM Software and Services.

Yes, but please don't overuse our web site or services. OpenStreetMap is built entirely by donations and volunteers. You can show your support for OpenStreetMap by donating

I Want to Put my Cafe on OpenStreetMap and OpenStreetMap on my Web Site

Main article: Beginners' guide

You should! First, make sure that your cafe is in the OpenStreetMap database.

Then put OpenStreetMap on your web site. Note: insert examples and links for a static map image and for an openlayers map object. What else?

If your web site is very popular, your use of our resources might hurt our other users. Popular web sites can use OpenStreetMap without impacting other users by building their own OpenStreetMap server.

I Want to do More. How do I Combine my Data with OpenStreetMap?

That depends on what you want to do and in some cases it depends on how you want to do it.

Derivative works vs. Collective Works

This section might need to be split into CCBYSA and ODbL sections. It probably needs a short summary to explain the difference and importance of understanding both for now.

When combining your data with OpenStreetMap data you need to be aware of the differences between Derivative Works and Collective Works. The difference effects your obligations to Share Alike.

If you combine your data with OpenStreetMap data in a Collective Work you are obligated to attribute OpenStreetMap and the OpenStreetMap License, and your Share Alike obligations for OpenStreetMap might not be triggered. See CCBYSA and ODbL differences above.

You may still have other obligations to the other data in your collective work depending on the sources of that data and the licenses relating to it.

If you combine your data with OpenStreetMap data in a Derivative Work you are obliged to Share the data in the Derivative Work.

Is there a Simpler Way to Share Alike Data from a Derivative Work?

Yes. Contribute that data to OpenStreetMap first, then use OpenStreetMap data without changing it. This way OpenStreetMap gets your improvements for everybody just as you get the benefits of improvements from everybody else.

Can I Display Trip Data on OpenStreetMap?

You have a GPX track file from a flight of your model plane, from your trip on your snow machine, or your participation in the New York Marathon and want to display the track file over OpenStreetMap.

Yes. Provide attribution for OpenStreetMap and the OpenStreetMap License. Your data is created without reference to the OpenStreetMap data.

Can I show available parking spaces on OpenStreetMap

You own several parking lots with many parking spaces. You want to show the best available parking position to each driver as they arrive at your parking lots. Can you use OpenStreetMap for this?

Yes. [To be continued]

I'm not sure if our Use is Permitted by the OpenStreetMap License

Our use isn't covered in the examples and seems to fall in a grey area. How do we do this the right way?

Ask the community by participating in a mailing list. Or ask the OpenStreetMap Foundation by contacting email address to follow.

But I can't Expose my Business Plan

You could contact a firm that offers consulting around OpenStreetMap. You could contact and individual OpenStreetMap user rather than a mailing list.

What Data Belongs in OpenStreetMap?

Location data belongs in OpenStreetMap. Ideally location data that is verifiable, significant and permanent belongs in OpenStreetMap.

Object Details included in OpenStreetMap Details not included in OpenStreetMap
Homes /apartment buildings. Location, address, building outline. Homeowner, tenant names.
Hospital. Name, location of hospital, services (emergency?), building outline. Patient records, current beds available.
Parking lot. Capacity, outline, position of driveways, parking lanes, operator, name, etc. How many spots are occupied currently.
Plants. Outline of forest, garden, lawn, large or notable individual trees (matter of individual preference). Flowers in a flower bed, individual blades of grass.
Please add more examples of data that should or should not be included in OSM.

What Data Does Not Belong in OpenStreetMap

See also