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Tracksource ( is a project gathering and releasing geodata for Brazil.

Incompatible license

While Tracksource makes data available for download, it is only available under the CC BY-NC-ND license (see the bottom of Tracksource about page) This license does not allow commercial use and prevents derivative works. Sadly this means you are not allowed to take tracksource data and put it into OpenStreetMap. This is because OpenStreetMap is re-distributing data under the OpenDatabaseLicense (ODbL) which allows commercial use. While OpenStreetMap itself is not a commercial profit making venture, we do redistribute to many commercial companies, and we do allow derivative adaptations.

Why is OpenStreetMap so strict?

OpenStreetMap must be strict in not accepting data which has a non-commercial requirement attached. But first of all, who is OpenStreetMap? Although ultimately the Data Working Group may take action to remove data, OpenStreetMap is a community, and the community (including Brazilians) must take responsibility for watching out for incompatibly licensed data being added, and for explaining the issue to new contributors.

When it comes to data use, OpenStreetMap is being less strict, and more free and open. We allow commercial use of our data, and derivative works. This creates exciting opportunities which otherwise do not exist. Most interesting applications of geodata, including rendering maps, requires making derivative works. In fact the open definition does not recognise NC restrictions as truly open. See also Why Sharealike Licenses Are Open But Non-Commercial Ones Aren't.

However volunteer contributors to Tracksource are making their contribution on the understanding that their data can not be used commercially. It may be that many or even most contributors do not care, but clearly the Tracksource community have collectively chosen* an NC license. This should be respected.

It's worth noting that data sources and the maps are the exclusive property of TrackSource, so the proprietors of this service chose the license, and they have the right to move to a better one. Then again their community has chosen to contribute under this license (perhaps without realising the restrictions in some cases!)

A volunteer mapping project

Tracksource has some similarities to OpenStreetMap. Started in 2002, it produces maps of Brazil through volunteer mapping, particularly gathering of GPS traces.

Their principle output is CC-BY-NC-ND licensed Garmin map downloads. The OpenStreetMap community also produces software and downloads for putting OSM Maps on Garmin, but OpenStreetMap is used in many many other ways by virtue of its more open license which permits derivative works and encourages experimentation with the data.

Tracksource operates a regional hierarchy by nominating volunteers as managers of the data at state and municipal level, perhaps similar to Google Map Maker. OpenStreetMap has no such hierarchy within the map editing community.