FR:Import/Getting permission

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Getting Permission for importing or deriving from third party data

Sometimes the exact terms under which data can used is unclear and clarification is needed. Sometimes, the terms do not directly allow OpenStreetMap use but special permission or waivers can be obtained. Here is a letter template based on previous real, and successful, requests for permission. You can use it for letters, email or website forms.

Some tips:

  • Bureaucrats are human too!
  • Be specific as to what you want and try to get a specific written answer that can be posted publicly on the wiki.
  • Provide information about the OpenStreetMap project and how the data will be used.
  • Add a License section to the project page for this import so that other know what permission was given and how it was obtained.

Letter Template1

Dear xxx,

Thank you for making #DATASET# data available to the public.

I am a contributor to the OpenStreetMap project [1], a collaborative open project to create a global geodata set freely usable by anyone [2].

We respect the IP rights of others and I write to ask if we can use your data. #OPTIONAL: EXPLAIN WHY YOU THINK EXPLICIT PERMISSION IS REQUIRED#

At the most simple, I would seek a statement like this:

"The #ORGANISATION# has no objections to geodata derived in part from #DATASET# being incorporated into the OpenStreetMap project geodata database and released under a free and open license" [1]

I also ask that whatever statement you are prepared to make can be made public for information purposes.

Below is a fact sheet. If you would like any more information, I will do my best to help or can ask our project's License Working Group to get in touch with you.

Regards, YYYY

Fact Sheet

[1] The OpenStreetMap project currently has over 750,000 registered contributors worldwide. Our main website is

[2] We are mandated to make our geodata available in perpetuity under a free and open licence. We are not allowed to use a commercial license, but commercial organisations are allowed to use our data under similar terms.

[3] Our data is currently published under the Open Database License 1.0,

[4] Most of our geodata is contributed by individuals. However, we are very grateful when able to incorporate or derive from other geo-data datasets where license terms are compatible.

[5] We formally attribute all such sources at, using any specific wording if you request. We also try to provide a link to this page with any extract of data from our database. However, for reasons of practicality, we do not require end-users to repeat such attribution since it runs into hundreds.

[6] We also keep a public track of third party data use at and usually have a project page for each dataset, describing how we use it and whether there are any license restrictions to be aware of.

[7] If you have any specific legal questions, the OpenStreetMap Foundation's License Working Group can be reached at and will be glad to help.

Letter Template 2

This is a sample email you can use to request information from a local data provider.

'---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: OSM Volunteer <stud(ess)>
Date: Thu, Nov 29, 2012 at 1:24 PM
Subject: Use of your data for OpenStreetMaps

Hi -

I'm writing to ask about the specifics of the terms of use of your [type of] data found at: http://dataprovider.tld.

The OpenStreetMap (OSM) community is currently making a push to add [type of data you desire - e.g. "Address Information"] to its maps. (For example, here's the OSM map for [somewhere in a different part of the world that has created the exact same thing you're requesting]

[Your local OSM group] is very interested in working with your agency to make sure the OSM community is abiding by your terms of use and also complying with its own goals and guidelines. We have reviewed the terms of use found at: http://dataprovider.tld/terms and believe they [are/are not] compatible with our license terms.

[We would like to know if you could provide OSM with a waiver for your [commercial use restrictions | attribution requirements | etc.] [For attribution issues, other municipalities and governments in the [your region] have agreed to have OpenStreetMap include disclaimers like this on this page:[your region]. Would this be acceptable for you?]

As background, across the United States, there are clear trends toward implementing permissive Open Data policies. The federal government has published a variety of GIS datasets at its site: States like Oregon (, cities like New York ( and many other governments ( are implementing or planning to implement Open Data policies. Among these trends are removing restrictions on commercial reuse of this public data and relaxation of source attribution requirements.

Many local agencies have found that OSM can be a valuable resource for their local communities and businesses. OSM is also a way to ensure that publicly-funded data is being used as widely as possible and to support the general public and local commerce.

If you'd like to learn more about OSM's license, you can read about it here:

We are available for phone conversations or discussions to answer any questions you might have related to this request.

Local OSM Representative
OSM user name

Other references:
Interview with former US CTO Aneesh Chopra regarding open data:

Letter Template3

This authorisation letter was used in the framework of the Eurosha project [1] in Cameroon and the Central-African Republic.

Autorisation d’utilisation et de partage des données

Nous vous remercions de votre intérêt pour la base de données géographiques du projet OpenStreetMap (« le Projet ») et pour votre volonté d’y intégrer des données et/ou tout autre contenu (collectivement « les Contenus »). Cet accord de contribution (« l’Accord ») est conclu entre vous et la Fondation OpenStreetMap (« OSMF ») et a pour objectif de définir l’étendue des droits de propriété intellectuelle relatifs aux Contenus que vous déciderez de soumettre au Projet.

Nous soussignés  ,

concédons à OSMF, dans les conditions ci-dessous, de manière irrévocable et perpétuelle, une licence internationale, non exclusive et non soumise aux droits patrimoniaux d’auteur, aux droits des auteurs de bases de données ou à tout autre droit, relatif à un élément du Contenu, quel que soit le support. La concession porte notamment sur une éventuelle utilisation commerciale du Contenu ainsi que sur le droit de sous-licencier l’ensemble des contributions à des tiers ou sous-traitants. Nous acceptons de ne pas user de notre droit moral à l’encontre d’OSMF ou de ses sous-traitants si la loi ou les conventions nous donne un tel droit relativement aux Contenus.

Nous concédons à OSMF de n’utiliser ou sous-licencier notre Contenu que comme partie de la base de données et seulement par le biais d’une ou des licences suivantes : ODbL 1.0 ( pour la base de données et DbCL 1.0 pour les contenus individuels de la base de données ; CC-BY-SA 2.0 ; ou toute autre licence libre et ouverte de même type (comme, par exemple, qui pourra être ponctuellement choisie par une majorité de 2/3 des contributeurs actifs parmi les membres d’OSMF.

Nous acceptons qu’OSMF nous cite ou cite le titulaire des droits d’auteur, selon notre souhait ou celui du titulaire des droits. La citation s’effectue par le biais de la page web

Nous mettons à votre disposition les données suivantes :

Fait à  , le   en deux exemplaires.

Signature du donateur

(Précédée de la mention manuscrite « lu et approuvé »)