Aerial imagery in general

Just a general question. I notice that the Yahoo aerial photography (FWIW) is available when editing in Potlatch etc, but are there any plans to make it available through the main OSM page like the satellite and mixed view in Google maps?


I’m not sure that we have any rights to do that. Yahoo uses it’s aerial imagery for it’s own background layer. Yahoo generously allows the aerial imagery to be used for deriving data, unlike some other companies, but if we were to use it a background to our map data we’d be competing with them.

Fair enough, but has any thought been given to other sources? For instance Nearmap seem keen OSMers, Meta Carta only use copyright free images and people seem to be making their own by chartering planes.

It would be great to bring this all together.

Oh agreed, it’d be cool to have a layer with OSM road and POI data overlaid on good quality aerial imagery. There have been ideas flying around for years, OpenAerialMap for example.

The problem is that it’s expensive to provide and maintain good quality aerial imagery. The project mostly cannot afford to do it to provide imagery for use in deriving map data, let alone to provide a public layer.

Peter Miller’s work with Traveline earlier this year showed that aerial imagery can be acquired reasonably cost effectively - but take a look at it, and you’ll see that it’s hardly Nearmap or Google quality. Extremely useful for the project, not that useful to folk just browsing our site.

Nearmap is a company and they have been tremendously generous and forward thinking but there might be some licensing issues, from our side ironically, if we were to mix OSM data with their imagery it might mean that the tiles would be subject to CC-BY-SA OSM licensing. IANAL, though! :slight_smile:

Without considering the cost for the moment, the most productive thing that OSM could do is to conduct/contract aerial survey of areas in which there is no aerial imagery. This could be released under a similar license to our other data or through the OAM project, or even public domain. Done properly, this could provide OSM with imagery for data acquisition and also be good enough quality to provide a public aerial imagery layer on OSM public facing sites.

There might be funding available if this work were undertaken in areas of the world frequently struck by natural disaster (Bangladesh, Sumatra, the Horn of Africa, certain Caribbean countries, etc.).

Money is the dominant issue though. I’d be willing to sponsor, but would others? and how much?