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27 July 2012, 16:48

OpenStreetMap bot removes waypoints after licensing change

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OpenStreetMap (OSM) has removed from its maps waypoints that have not been released under its new Open Database licence. On Thursday, management team member Harry Wood announced that the organisation's redaction bot has now completed its work of going through the entire global map data and has removed all points contributed by users who have not consented to the new licence.

According to Wood, this is barely noticeable in many places. This has not, however, stopped complaints from OSM users. The data for Northern Germany, for example, is missing many electricity pylonsGerman language link which had been present when the transmission lines were first mapped.

Wood was careful to note that the licence change has not yet taken place and that the work carried out by the bot was merely done in preparation for the change. He doesn't give a date for the change, promising a separate announcement on this from the OpenStreetMap team.

The reason for the licensing change is that the current Creative Commons licence is largely inapplicable to collections of data such as the OpenStreetMap mapping database. The Open Database licence has been developed to resolve this problem. Like the Creative Commons licence, it is a share-alike licence, meaning users must return any improvements or changes to the data to the community.

For users who merely use or render OpenStreetMap's street maps, nothing much has changed. They can continue to publish maps under the Creative Commons licence as long as they cite OSM as their data source.


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