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06:01 pm: OSM
One of the problems with mapping is how do you know when you've done? This is something OpenStreetMap will need to take seriously, given the present lack of any tags to indicate areas in which there be dragons.

Last month I sent a request for a definitive list of roads which make up the Primary Route Network to the Department for Transport (these are the roads which are signed in green). I recieved this in due course (apparently they'd had to collate it specially), and then sent them an email back asking if I could actually use it to find errors and missing bits in openstreetmap so we could correct them.

Now, I believe this would fall under the "research" exemption for copyright under UK law. Although exceptions for fair use are narrowly drawn compared to the United States (where this would be PD anyway), it nontheless permits "research". And I'm not copying the spreadsheet, I'm using facts from it to send people out to check things on the ground, or to alter a thing that says "highway=primary" to "highway=trunk" or back again.

The DfT pointed me at the OPSI. I asked them. I was told I need to get a Click-Use license for this. I've looked at the terms: this would forbid me to put derived works under a creative commons license, and thus would be entirely useless for OpenStreetMap. I've explained I don't expect them to put the spreadsheet under the PD or a more permissive license, but am just asking for agreement that what I want to do is acceptable in the absence of a license.

The PSI regulations say

The aim of the Regulations is to encourage the re-use of public sector information by removing obstacles that stand in the way of re-use. The main themes are improving transparency, fairness and consistency. In doing so it will help stimulate the development of innovative new information products and services across Europe, so boosting the information industry.

Um, that's us, right?

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