Can OpenStreetMap be used freely by a commercial company?

Hi, just out of curiosity, can OpenStreetMap be used FREELY by a commercial company?

Of course, it just has to adhere to the license. Also see the Legal FAQ.

Thanks for your prompt advice about the legal issue. I am reading this paper, in which it says (p.21, middle of the right column)

“OpenStreetMap explicitly seeks to create a ‘freeÂ’ alternative map, subject to use under Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike licensing. This allows users to share, copy, transmit, or adapt their work, subject to the conditions that they must attribute the material, and must in turn distribute any product based on OSM under the same terms as the original licence.”

Does it imply that one cannot make profit from any OSM-based services or products? since the OSM-based services or products must be under the same terms as the original licence. Correct me if I am wrong. Thanks.

I don’t know if anyone does, but I think you can make profit out of OSM-based products :wink:

Examples of companies that are built around OSM:
CloudMade (

There are also commercial sites that use OSM to enhance their service (e.g. Flickr).

The legal FAQ states:

I have been searching the site to find a number to call or specific person to e-mail for the purposes of clarifying this same point. I suppose I find it hard to believe that there really is such a thing as ‘getting something for free’ in this day and age. I am also acutely aware of the need to avoid litigation for breach of copyright/license when publishing anything for profit.

Colleagues and I are compiling a walk guide book which obviously requires accompanying maps. Please can someone reassure me that we are able to amend/adapt the OSM data to meet our needs and reproduce it in printed form for inclusion in our walk guide without authorisation to do so from a named person or by way of a license? We do note,and would obviously agree to reference the source as requested.

Openstreetmap is licensed under the CC-BY-SA license, see Roughly speaking, you may use openstreetmap material under the following conditions:

  • You have to credit Openstreetmap and its editors
  • You have to republish under the same license, which means that others will be allowed to use the ‘amendments/adaptations’ that you make to the map under the same conditions as well

Alison - yes, that’s right. The quid pro quo is that you have to agree the maps you make can be copied by others (under the same terms). If you want more specific advice feel free to drop me a line - I don’t have any official legal role on this (no-one in OSM does) but have quite a lot of experience with it: