Talk:Potential Datasources

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(Caution) Can no longer use the data, because they are changed usage agreement.

Details are here:


Vmap1 has only been released in a limited format, however it contains data for several countries for which little data exists. It is 1:25000 scale and should contain road data.

For the future

Please, take a look at We all pay for it, we should have the datas. Kolossos 13:40, 6 May 2006 (UTC)


It may be worth waiting before importing the DAFIF data if any code is going to be re-used. The data format produced by Robin Peel for X-Plane/FlightGear isn't in the same format as the actual DAFIF release, and will be changing in the near future. For a format that's going to be useful beyond the initial import I'd definitely suggest waiting for the new format to be hammered out, and then write an importer for that. --JonS 10:50, 25 Jun 2006 (UTC)


Can you download the entire VWS anywhere, rather than using the "500,000 points per query" data extractor? Ojw 12:05, 14 Aug 2006 (BST)

Anyone know what units the shapefile coordinates are in?

Wired Article

Interesting article about how Tele Atlas are using alternatives to actually getting out on the streets. Steevc 13:44, 29 September 2006 (BST)

copy of email to Swisstopo

Guten Tag Herr Brauchli
Besten Dank für Ihr Mail und Ihr Interesse an unseren Produkten.
Die Karten auf
können Sie mit einem entsprechenden Copyrightvermerk in Ihre Datenbank
Freundliche Grüsse
Reto C******

Bundesamt für Landestopografie
Thematische Kartografie / Kundenaufträge Kartografie
Seftigenstrasse 264
CH-3084 Wabern

Tel     +41 31 963 21 11        Zentrale
Tel     +41 31 963 24 91        direkt
Fax     +41 31 963 24 59

-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: my@email
Gesendet: Samstag, 23. September 2006 19:18
An: _LT-Info
Betreff: Datenimport in OpenStreetMap (Lizenzfrage)

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,

mein Name ist Andreas Brauchli und nehme am internationalen OpenSource
Projekt teil. Bei diesem Projekt geht es darum, weltweit
geographische Daten wie Strassen, Ortsnamen, Grenzen, uvm. zu erfassen und
diese zentral und kostenlos zur verfügung zu stellen. (Lizenzinformationen
stehen unten)

Einerseits besteht die Datensammlung aus Spähern, welche mit GPS-Geräten
ausgerüstet herumfahren/-wandern und anschliessed aus den gesammelten
GPS-Punkten bearbeitet in die Datenbank ein zu fügen, andererseits aber
auch aus automatisierten Import-Scripts, welche freie Quellen einbinden,
wenn deren Lizenz dies erlaubt.
Wir haben auf
eine solche potentielle Quelle gefunden, und benötigen die Klärung des
Rechtsstandes, was ein äusserst wichtiger Aspekt des Projekts ist.

Dürfen wir die auf der oben erwähnten Seite aufgeführten Dateien in
unsere Datenbank importieren? Auf die importierten Punkte würden, falls
erwünscht, ein Copyright-Tag gesetzt welcher auf swisstopo lautet. Es kann
aber nicht garantiert werden, dass die Daten unverändert bleiben, da sie
mit "von Hand" gesammelten Einträgen vermischt, und ebenso bearbeitbar
werden (somit können allfällige Fehler behoben, sowie die Daten
aktualisiert werden).

OpenStreetMap-Lizenz informationen finden Sie auf:

Vielen Dank für Ihre wertvolle Zeit und freundliche Grüsse,
Andreas Brauchli

CIA World Databank?

I was looking into using the WDB dataset for lakes around where I map. I did a conversion program that converted it into OSM format. However on import I see there is a rather big offset which lead me to think it's using another map datum (not WGS84). Does anyone know if this is the case or if the data quality is just poor?

The Digital Chart of the World (DCW)

What about The Digital Chart of the World (DCW):

sounds good but there's no data (at least i didn't find it)
this version isn't free:

a better (and newer) source is VMAP0 and the few VMAP1 data sets directly from NGA and have links to the downloads, but google gives you a warning about this site (

Statistics Canada

What about the data from Statistics Canada's Road Network File (reference guide here)? "The RNF is a digital representation of Canada's national road network, containing information such as street name, type, direction and address ranges". The license basically says that you can do whatever you want with the data as long as you include a notice in all your derived works acknowledging that the data comes from Statistics Canada and that you can't sue them for any reason. The data is available in three different formats: ARC/INFO (.shp), MapInfo (.tab), and Geographic Mark-up Language (.gml). I'm not going to import the data myself, I'm just pointing this out.

The Province/territory boundary files might also be useful for the Canadian map.

Novem 09:36, 27 November 2006 (UTC)


Database with German (and german speaking) cities and postcodes.
It'll give you a huge amount of information very quickly, but isn't without errors. There are spelling mistakes, and examples of someone doing far too much historical research (Gildersome near Leeds for example is also listed as "Home of the Gilders").

I don't know about the author's sources. As far as I know as the current maintainer of the dumps and sources, there has never been an entry for Gildersome. Thus I don't know which other errors the author refers to. Initial data was derived from free NIMA data, while the contents have been worked over and over, resulting in a pretty high accuracy. Current data can be edited by everyone on, where dumps for sourceforge releases are generated from. --Traut 16:27, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Florida (USA) GIS data

State, County or local government in Florida can not claim GIS data as anything other than Public Domain. Florida's Public Records Law (Chap. 119, Fla. Stat.) places it in Public record, and the following state ruling sets the precedent that governmental agencies are not able to copyright the GIS data. "Copy fees" can still apply though. This should be reviewed and approved by the legal mailing list prior to wholesale use of any FL. GIS data.

Conclusion from Records, license agreements for county maps

In sum, it is my opinion that, in light of Florida's Public Records Law, Palm Beach County 
is not authorized to obtain copyright protection and require license agreements for its 
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) maps and related data in order to regulate and 
authorize redistribution of these materials for commercial use.


Charlie Crist
Attorney General

Copy of email from FDOT

Florida Department of Transportation (USA)

GIS data provided by the FDOT Transportation Statistics Office is considered to be in 
the public domain and can be used for any purpose.  For any specific legal issues, 
please contact John Minnick at  Thank you!


Paul O'Rourke

Transportation Statistics Office

Manager, GIS Support Section


From: DaleP
Sent: Thursday, November 06, 2008 4:51 PM
Subject: florida GIS data copyright and usage. Any restrictions?


This e-mail address co-transtatgis (at) was listed as the point of 
contact for files at

What are the legal restrictions (if any) on use, modification and redistribution of the 
GIS data made available by the Florida DOT?  Specifically files at but more generally or any GIS data published by the 
state if you can comment on that.  The "use constraints" listed in the meta data files 
seems to be limited to a non-liability statement.  Is the data then considered to be in 
the public domain?

This is for clarification to allow use of the data in the 
project which would then release the modified/combined data under it's creative commons 
share alike license and it is important to make sure any data used in it's creation is 
in the public domain, or specifically licensed for OpenStreetMaps use.  For reference lists some previous data 
sources that have been included into the mapping project.  If attribution is required, 
will this page, along with matching data tags be sufficient?

Thank you

--Dalep 15:59, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

United States Federal data

Similar to Florida above, declassified GIS data should all be public domain as a result of the Freedom of Information Act. Some data it may be required to file a FoIA petition to get though.

Other places to look for PD data that isn't available online are libraries. Rather than buying the CD or DVD sets, check university, public, and goverment agency libraries for free access. Bring a laptop to copy that data to. --Dalep 01:44, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

PD road data for the world paper paper This includes potential sources and some review of their suitability vs other sources. There is also mention of OpenStreetMap on page 25

US Government Works Still Protected Internationally

While it is true that works created by a US government entity do not enjoy copyright protection in the US, this is not the case elsewhere. So in order to be able to distribute OpenStreetMap data outside the US (where I guess at least some of the servers are located), you should not rely on US law, but seek proper licensing or do not use the data at all. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Hweimer (talkcontribs) 08:43, 21 January 2009

That is not completely true, at least not in the countries which have implemented the Rule of the shorter term which include, for example, the European Union. In Germany, US works in public domain might not be "out of copyright" due to an old bilateral agreement between USA and Germany ([1]). Nillerdk (talk) 12:09, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

Is it ok to use Aster images?

I found a website by NASA about ASTER spacecraft which is able to take photos of the Earth. Is it ok to use them to map openstreetmap data as they are produced by NASA? It seems to me that they are slightly more accurate than Landsat's images. Niout 10:49, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

Did you have a specific image in mind? I can see some nice pictures in the city gallery but they're all places we have better Yahoo imagery for anyway. Is there downloads or web map services available for the whole planet on there somewhere?
It seems to be covered by the 'jet propulsion lab' image use policy, which is quite permissive (no copyrights), but then it does mention giving a credit "Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech." -- Harry Wood 11:30, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

Is it OK to use information from the Minnesota DNR Data Deli?

The data deli license explicitly forbids sublicensing data found on their website. It also explicitly forbids commercial use.

Note: The license appears as a popup when clicking the "Get Data" button on the Data Deli homepage

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources General Geographic Data License Agreement

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources General Geographic Data License Agreement

1) The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR) grants to you a non-exclusive,
 non-sublicensable, license to use these digital data.

    This license agreement applies to all digital data acquired from DNR staff, FTP sites, or other 
    internet-based delivery systems.

    In the event that another license agreement issued by DNR staff is explicitly associated with a
    particular data set, the terms of the other license agreement prevail, and the terms expressed in
    this more general license agreement are nullified.

2) The MNDNR makes no representations about the suitability of these data for any purpose. The data
    are provided 'as is' without express or implied warranties, including warranties of merchantability
    and fitness for a particular purpose or noninfringement. 

3) MNDNR is not obligated to provide updates to these data in the event that newer versions become
    available. MNDNR provides documentation when available through established distribution mechanisms.

4) The user relieves the MNDNR and its respective officers, agents and employees of any liability for 
    any and all damages resulting from use or mis-use of these data including, but not limited to:

   a) incidental, consequential, special or indirect damages of any sort, whether arising in tort, 
       contract or otherwise, even if MNDNR has been informed of the possibility of such damages, or

   b) for any claim by any other party. Furthermore, in States that do not allow the exclusion or 
       limitation of incidental or consequential damages, you may not use these data.

5) When these data are used in the development of digital or analog (hardcopy) products, MNDNR
     must be acknowledged as having contributed data to the development of the product.

6) Although the use of these data are not restricted, they may not be sold commercially or privately 
    without the written permission of MNDNR. 

MODIS Water Mask

Hi, I'm wondering if is sufficiently free for OSM. Can University of Maryland; Department of Geography; use is free to all if acknowledgement is made. UMD holds ultimate copyright. be interpreted as a somewhat cc-by-sa licence? --Morray 07:37, 22 January 2010 (UTC)

Google aerial as potential source (in Russia and other countries)

Vovkav 15:23, 15 February 2010 (UTC): At least in Russia factual information may not be copyrighted. Aerial imagery (including Google's) is a representation of factual information. This means, that in Russia, I can use imagery as a basis for hand-vectorization. Am I correct? Does this hold for other countries? Even if I am not correct, could You, please, provide me with a correct WMS URL for google aerial maps to use at my own peril?

At least in Finland any photograph, that doesn't get full copyright by being a "creative work", has a protection almost equal to copyright: the most significant difference is the length of the protection, which is only 50 years from the year the photograph was taken (vs. 70 years after the death of the author). As the holder of the rights has full legal control of "making copies, in unaltered and altered form" (my own translation), then vectorization (even partial) is making a copy and only allowed for personal use, and such copies may not be used for any other purpose. The same protection most likely exists in at least all EU countries. Alv 16:12, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

International Maritime Organization (IMO) - COLREG2 and SN - Circular

According to the UN Convention on Law of the Sea, States Parties are required to publish their traffic separation schemes for navigation. I see no license on these documents, maybe someone can check if this publication falls under a legislative text and therefore Copyrights do not apply. Texts can be downloaded at for the older ones and directly at then go to Circulars (to the left) and COLREG (right column). Same issue for SN (Safety of Navigation) --Venusman 13:25, 23 July 2010 (UTC)

Something for Sweden?

This I found when cleaning up Related Projects

--!i! 14:04, 11 August 2010 (BST)


Liberia Census-Data 2008 [2]

See The Ushahidi Blog: Data collection in Liberia [3]

for license (looks like public domain) please contact the authors of the blog post.

citation from the post:

   Below are samples from our friends at Google demonstrating how these added shapefiles will improve public maps of Liberia.  Within the next few weeks, this data will be available in the public domain.

US DOT pipeline data?

Is it ok to use DOT's (Department of Transportation) NPMS (National Pipeline Mapping System) data ([4]) to locate and identify gas and oil pipelines?

This is more of a theoretical question. I am not going to map buried pipelines. Every now and then I encounter a small fenced plot which obviously contains gas pipeline control equipment but I am not tagging anything but the fence. (I'm tagging any apparent water / wastewater pumping station equally vaguely unless I have additional information confirming that it is indeed a pumping station.)

- T99 10:06, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

US FCC tower/transmitter data?

Is it ok to use FCC's (Federal Communications Commision) ASR (Antenna Structure Registration) data ([5]) as a source for tower locations, heights and operators? All structures (not only antennas) higher than 200 ft (~60 m) are supposed to be registered here.

Is it ok to use FCC's other searchable databases ([6]) to identify the locations of AM/FM/TV broadcast stations and any other registered transmitters? All broadcast locations are listed here regardless of antenna structure height.

Previously I have assumed that such technical data are not subject to copyright and I continue to do so unless advised otherwise.

- T99 10:06, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

US FEMA flood maps?

Is it ok to use FEMA's (Federal Emergency Management Agency) Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) as a source for waterway names and routes? In some cases, these maps are more recent and more complete than USGS GNIS (Geographic Names Information System) and much more accurate than any other source I've seen. (examples)

- T99 10:06, 12 December 2010 (UTC)


There is a source of data: No information about license is presented on this site. The site used some data from OSM to make map of Georgia too. Can we use Gomap as data source?


This page sounded like a great resource as a new mapper. It's not. A lot of the information is outdated. There's a lot of conjecture and maybes. I don't know if user discussion of the sort on discussion pages is strictly banned from main pages, but there's way too much of it here, and most of the dates in the signatures are from a few years ago. The whole page has the feel of an old discussion board. With that in mind, I tagged it for cleanup and as out of date. I did see that it was already on the top level of Category:Cleanup, but I'm not sure what that means. Maybe this was already meant to be a top cleanup priority. Whatever the case, I guess I've made it clear now! — Bripmccann (talk) 23:44, 19 June 2015 (UTC)

One thing that could be done, apart from clearing out comments and general detritus, would be to ask mappers in each country to move local sources to a page for their country (as has been done for China) and just have links here. They would then be able to arrange smaller lists into something more useful.--Andrew (talk) 12:34, 5 July 2015 (UTC)