Public Domain Map

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Regardless of the page activity status, here is an OSM mailing list about Public Domain issues:

This page lacks activity, but there may be or is intention to update this page.

There has been interest to create a new sister project under public domain. Public domain Definition: "The public domain is a range of abstract materials – commonly referred to as intellectual property – which are not owned or controlled by anyone." It means that the materials are "public property", and available for anyone to use for any purpose.

Public domain dedication is clear for map contributors and the resulting map gives companies and individuals an opportunity to create new innovative products and services without any license restrictions.

The public domain map project name is currently OpenStreetMap/PD (OSM/PD).

Public Domain statement

The public domain dedication must be valid in a variety of jurisdictions. In many countries, there are unwaivable moral rights that could make an agreement to the effect of "I release this work into the public domain" invalid. Therefore, a stronger agreement is required. The options are:

Waiving geodata to the Public Domain per country

Adding information for each country about how to make geodata as free as possible in the specific country.(if the copyright of the geodata can't be waived, then which license is best used to give other users as many rights as possible for people who reside in the specific country is added)


Australians by waiving their rights under CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication will help other people of the world where the waiver is legally effective to gain "Public Domain" rights to the geodata. Maybe one day it may also be effective in Australia and then Australian citizens can benefit from that waiver. Until then the "OpenStreetMap/PD (OSM/PD)" project could waive under multiple waivers, and license under multiple licenses (one of them "Attribution 3.0 Unported" for the current legal situation in Australia)

  • Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)

In Australia the CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication "reverts to CC-BY" so Australians may not benefit from the rights granted by the waiver. (but all other countries citizens where the CC0 waiver is effective will be granted all the rights waived by the Australian citizens?) ('verify' with any references?)


(for countries in Europe, for which CC0-1.0-Universal was designed?)

  • CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0)

Public Domain Dedication ('verify' with any references?)


A statement as simple as

  • "The author of this work hereby waives all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, distorted or destroyed in any manner whatsoever without further attribution or notice to the creator." could be enough to waive the geodata to the public domain in the U.S.A.? ('verify' with any references?)

Todo List

The following steps need to be taken to get OSM/PD fully functional.


  • DONE: Create a mailing list: legal-general - this is the mailing list to talk about PD map issues
    • Recent: 2010-July (last checked at 2010-08-07)
  • DONE: Decide the public domain license - Wikipedia PD
  • Set up server hardware
    • database server
    • rails servers
    • tile server
  • Set up database
  • Set up software to run with the new database
    • planet.osm weekly dump (for Mapnik and tile server)
    • Mapnik to process the weekly dump into tiles for the tile server
    • API to access the database (for Potlatch and JOSM?)
    • ensure Potlatch and JOSM can be used with the new database (can they be configured to use the new API url?)
  • Import data from all known public domain sources into the database (US TIGER...)
  • Ask all OSM contributors for a permission to use their data in the OSM/PD under the public domain license
  • Import possible public domain data from OSM into OSM/PD


  • Set up optional hardware and software
    • namefinder (gazetteer) for OSM/PD

Server requirements

Database Server

Rails Servers

Web Server

Tile Server

  • OSM has, and

Links and references