Open Data License/Bulk Import Support Page

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Bulk Import Support Page

We have started the process of asking contributors to license or re-license their data under the ODbL. This includes bulk imports. However, we will NOT cut over from CC-BY-SA 2.0 until we have a critical mass of acceptance.


If you have been involved in importing data from third-parties into the OpenStreetMap database, here is what we ask you to do:


  • Check that their licensing terms are compatible with the proposed change to the Open Database License 1.0. If you need any help, the OpenStreetMap Foundation's License Working Group can be contacted at legal-questions@osmfoundation.org and will be glad to help. You can also help them by adding to http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Import/Catalogue

After you have checked the license:

  • In some cases, you need do nothing further. This includes data released as "Public Domain" or under a Public Domain-type license.
  • In some cases, permission has been given only to release the data the existing CC BY SA 2.0 license. You will need to ask for their permission, prefereably in writing, to also release under the ODbL 1.0. We have included some template letters below that may help. You can emphasise that the license remains an Attribution and Share-Alike license and the intent to provide free and open geodata without charge to anyone who wants it remains unchanged. Including this link gives a longer overview of why we want to change the license and what the changes are 'We Are Changing The License'
  • In remaining cases, it is a good idea to write or email them as courtesy and inform them of what we are planning to do. Then, if they have any objections or questions, they have been given an opportunity to contact us. The template letters below may help.

Here are links to the new license

Here are the new Contributor Terms. Invididual contributors will have to accept these. We hope organisations donating data will also use them but can make alterations in specific cases provided that the general spirit it kept. Provisions allow the OpenStreetMap Foundation to publish the data, provided that it is always and only made under a free and open license.


Template Letter ( Formal approach to big data donors)

In some cases data is released specifically for use under CC-BY-SA (and therefore must be explicitly re-licensed) and in some cases under more general terms (in which case the letter is a courtesy) ... the language of the individual letter will need changing to reflect these cases. Instructions of what we are expecting/asking them to do need to precise in order to get a positive response. And of course the letters should be in the native language of the publisher!

See Discussion for further remarks.

Template letter for data publishers

Dear $data_publisher,

OpenStreetMap is upgrading its data license from CC-By-SA v2 to ODbL v1, Open Database License, v1, a license specifically written for open databases and data. The underlying principles remain the same: the data can be used freely by anyone as long as there is attribution and that published enhancements are also shared without fee. More information about the license change can be found at http://www.osmfoundation.org/wiki/License/About_The_License_Change .

You have published geographic data and licensed it in such a way that it can be included in OpenStreetMap. We hope that you will upgrade your license, terms of use or terms of service to specifically permit continued use for OpenStreetMap.

Let us know if we can help you with this in any way.

Thank you for your continued interest in OpenStreetMap.

Best regards,

Concerned Mapper

- or -

Concerned Mapper on behalf of

OSMF - License Working Group

Template letter for aerial imagery publishers

Dear $aerial_image_publisher,

OpenStreetMap is upgrading its data license from CC-By-SA v2 to ODbL v1.

Open Database License, v1, a license specifically written for open databases and data. The underlying principles remain the same: the data can be used freely by anyone as long as there is attribution and that published enhancements are also shared without fee. More information about the license change can be found at http://www.osmfoundation.org/wiki/License/About_The_License_Change .

You have published aerial imagery and licensed it in such a way that it can be included in OpenStreetMap. We hope that you will upgrade your license, terms of use or terms of service to specifically permit continued use for OpenStreetMap.

Let us know if we can help you with this in any way.

Thank you for your continued interest in OpenStreetMap.

Best regards,

Concerned Mapper

- or -

Concerned Mapper on behalf of

OSMF - License Working Group