RFC Attribution Mark

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OSM thrives on users being aware of the fact that the underlying OSM data of whichever map they're viewing can be edited. Find a problem on the map? Fix it! This only works if there's awareness that the map can be edited.

At the same time, we do a fairly poor job in driving users from any given OSM based map to OpenStreetMap.org. The ever-expanding range of OSM based maps are an incredible communication channel to win individuals as potential contributors or support the OSM project in other ways.

This proposal suggests two things: first, attributing OSM data with a visually more prominent and appealing attribution mark instead of the plain text "© OpenStreetMap contributors" and second, an updated https://www.openstreetmap.org/copyright page with a better explanation of OpenStreetMap and has the optional ability to mention and link map providers.

Inspired by successful campaigns like Fair Trade or Intel Inside, this proposal is an initiative to build more awareness around what's inside the map, why this matters and ultimately help grow OpenStreetMap.

Proposed copyright page


Here is a list of example usages of the new attribution marks on maps.


Click on any of the "by-osm" marks in the example above, they will lead to the proposed new openstreetmap.org/copyright page like this:




Only possible on the mailing list (that may be discouraging to contribute)?!


Concretely, this RFC proposes two adjustments to current practices:

1. Use a visual mark to attribute OpenStreetMap data instead of "© OpenStreetMap contributors", link to http://www.openstreetmap.org/copyright

2. Improve https://www.openstreetmap.org/copyright so that it (a) explains OpenStreetMap better, (b) optionally allows for linking to the actual provider of the map


  • Drive more potential contributors and supporters to OSM
  • Create more awareness around OSM being open and editable
  • Create a way to reflect the map provider on the copyright page

The attribution mark

This is the second iteration of a new attribution mark. It is more explicit by spelling out "OSM" and uses the word "BY" to express attribution: "BY OSM". It is designed to sit on the bottom right of a map and links directly to the copyright page. It strikes the balance between not being overly obtrusive while being inviting to click through.

OSM attribution mark.jpeg

Read the full design concept for the attribution mark

The copyright page

This RFC proposes an update to the existing copyright page that does not only satisfy legal requirements around data licensing, but also

a) explains OpenStreetMap

b) encourages visitors to engage

c) provides a way to credit and link the particular maker of a map

OpenStreetMap is above everything else a community of mappers, creating the world's map every day. The copyright page proposed here reflects this by showing pictures of mapping activities with people. The page is designed to evoke an official document to strike the balancing act of promoting OpenStreetMap and fulfilling legal requirements at the same time.