Compatability with Wikitravel (CC-BY-SA 1.0)?

Hi there, I am an editor over at Wikitravel, the free travel guide. Having imported a lot of OSM maps to Wikipedia articles, I would love to do the same at Wikitravel, especially given how badly we need maps for a lot of articles.

The problem is that Wikitravel only allows images which are licensed under CC-BY-SA 1.0 – unlike Wikipedia which allows images under a variety of free licenses. I know that OSM recently decided to license under CC-BY-SA 2.0, so I guess I’m asking if there is any compatibility between the two licenses? Or is this a technical enough distinction that it could be swept under the carpet, so to speak?

Hello! I’m a long time wikitravel contributor too (well just bits here and there really). This is one thing which originally switched me on the potential benefits of an open map.

Actually there’s quite a few OSM users who mention wikitravel on their OSM wiki user pages:
…most notably ‘Jpatokal’ is one of the main people at wikitravel I believe.

I really hope wikitravel will make use of OSM maps. I think if you delve deep into the inner complexities of licenses, then legally it might not be compatible. The important consideration with wikitravel is the aim that the guides should be printable. This means the license of the images needs to be exactly aligned with the license of the rest of the printed text, or a special mention needs to be given alongside somehow.

In this case at least it’s not just OSM with the annoying license issue, we can blame half of the problem on wikitravel (who require version 1) It’s all a terrible pain, and doesn’t reflect the open spirit of sharing which people associate with creative commons. Maybe the important thing to remember above all else, is that we were intending for the maps to be easy to share, even if we haven’t quite achieved that yet.

Anyway to correct one thing you’ve said. Actually OpenStreetMap has been licensed CC-BY-SA 2.0 for a long time, but recently there has been serious talk and investigation into the possibility of moving away from this to new license. See here:

I think it’s best if you repeat your question on the OSM legal talk mailing list. It has some knowledgeable people over there.

As best I know, Wikitravel could choose to allow OSM maps by treating them as parts of a “collective work” - very similar to what Wikipedia does. Wikitravel seems to be wary of this.

Usually I agree with the cautious approach, but in this case I think Wikitravel is too scared of possible misinterpretations of the licence. So the best way would be for Wikitravel to change their policy to one closer to Wikipedia’s. I don’t believe this needs anyone to relicense, it just needs Wikitravel to be a bit less timid. :slight_smile:

I don’t think I will get into this fight, sadly it’s wikitravel loss. You really need maps when you travel, and OSM would be great for that. A solution for them would be to edit locations in OSM and tag thei contributions with “copyright=CCSA1.0”.

That would only be a solution for a town/city where there is currently zero mapping progress, or where they could find out that all contributors are willing to relicense their work.

I think the reason wikitravel is more cautious, is specifically to do with their very explicit goal of being printable. If all images are licensed in strict alignment with their overall wiki license, then (maybe) this allows you to print the work, and just mention the one license at the bottom.

But there’s no absolute “can and can’t” in these discussions actually. For example strictly to print out a wiki travel guide you have to give credit to all the authors (presumably on the printout) Now if someone goes on to flickr and finds a nice CC-BY-SA-1.0 photo, and sticks on wikitravel, the photographer should definitely be credited on the image page, but how will the photographer’s name end up on the printed travel guide? it won’t. Arguably it’s too much technical challenge to achieve that and therefore it’s not “reasonable to the medium” to expect the name to appear on the printout. My point is that there’s complications even where the licenses are in alignment. Also how will these licenses be interpreted in different jurisdiction? Most such issues have never gone to court, to be put to the test.

Really it comes down to what OSM map contributors are likely to be happy with, and how wikitravel can best try to accommodate that.

If we said something like…

“The maps must include the in-image text ‘openstreetmap cc-by-sa-2.0’ (so that this will appear on a printed travel guide) Additionally the image description page on wikitravel org should contain a link to openstreetmap, and preferable a map permalink to the location of the featured map.”

Then I would consider that to be very reasonable attribution for wikitravel to provide. Note that it doesn’t attribute the original “authors” of the map, and indeed openstreetmap itself fails to do this, even if you followed the link from wikitravel, because we have no ‘history’ feature, but that’s a whole other issue! But me saying that I consider that to be very reasonable, doesn’t protect anyone from wikitravel from being sued by one of the authors (an OSM mapper) who might expect the text to be a bit bigger or whatever. It cuts both ways too though. Hopefully most wikitravel people would look at my suggestion and say “fair enough”, but some will question whether they should be required to mess up their printouts with little “openstreetmap” bits of text. Then they will delve into the attribution wording of the license and the whole hideously complicated discussion will come full circle! :slight_smile:

The most important part for me is that all changes made by wikitravel are in the OSM database. And that all the numeric labels that you put on the map are in the same license as OSM. Of course this is my extremely naive view.

I happened to hear about this discussion and my name’s mentioned earlier, so I thought I’d just chip in my two cents.

So, Wikitravel’s choice of CC by-sa 1.0 (the only one at the time, mind you) is a little unfortunate and there’s been a lot of bits spilled over how we can use CC by-sa >1.0 content. The consensus, though, seems to be that images – for example, OSM-derived maps – should be fine to include, as long as the image description page clearly indicates that the image in question is, indeed, by-sa 2.0. So there should not be a legal/community objection to Wikitravel using OSM.

As you may know, my company Wikitravel Press ( ) is already producing printed books based on Wikitravel content, and the launch of our first guide using OSM maps (Paris) is imminent. Our plan was to indicate in the Acknowledgments section that all maps are from OpenStreetMap (with link) and licensed as CC by-sa 2.0. No permalinks though, since they’re long and ugly and pretty much useless, as you can just enter “Paris” in the OSM search box and find it. We also weren’t planning on doing in-image acknowledgements, since we’re not doing that for photos either, but if you think it’s necessary, it’s not a problem to add.

Actually, it will be credited, but if and only if the original creator is correctly tagged on image uploaded to Wikitravel. Alas, there are lots of images on WT that aren’t, but we’re pretty careful about anything in the printed guides. For one thing, the printed guides do not include any images unless they have an explicit “print this one” tag attached to them.

So, here’s a sample map for Paris:

The numeric labels you see there are not part of the data sets for OSM or WT, we’re simply merging the XML data together and then numbering the icons according to the order they appear in the guide. Of course the resulting map is also CC by-sa 2.0.

Sorry Jpatokal. Should’ve pointed you at this dicussion as we were having it.

Yeah the reason I suggested ‘in image’ attribution was because it seemed like the safest way to ensure that OSM always got a reasonable mention on a printout, but it sounds like you’re figuring out some other cunning mechanisms for this. And permalinks are nice-to-have on the website (tucked away in the image description page) if possible, but clearly the longer urls wouldn’t be much use on a printout.

To be clear, none of these requirements are things which I personally feel strongly about. Personally I’d be happy if wikitravel just mentioned OSM on image description pages (and maybe a breif mention in the credits of any largescale printing efforts) …anything to make the collaboration easier and more likely to happen.

As for the “changes made by wikitravel are in the OSM database” point. My understanding is that these licenses dont allows us to say something like “you must add restaurant pointers in the OSM database”, just that “you must make your restaurant pointers available to us (in a reasonably raw form) such that we could put them in the OSM database if we wanted”. I suppose this means that wikitravel people adding restaurant pointers should be doing so under a compatible license, or at least they should be aware that OSM people might scurry along and take that information into OSM. …of course the hope is that many wikitravel map makers would get enthusiastic about the OSM project too, and would prefer to use OSM database and rendering tools rather than adding the to the data outside of OSM with conventional SVG/graphics packages.

Jpatokal, The Paris link in your post gives “access denied” to me…

I don’t think it would hurt you much putting a small © on all the maps. I think the problem Wikipedia has with this is that there is no good technical solution to show small ©. My firm opinion is that the only thing we have to give in wikis is attribution, so you should give it when you can. Usually photo attributions are very small, they are only really visible when you want to see them.

But then I don’t know what other people in openstreetmap say, but this seems to be what all map makers around the world require from republished maps.

/me notes that isn’t actually attributed to OSM even though the license is there…


CC-BY-SA absolutely does not require you to do this. You don’t have to make anything available - it only requires that the finished map (the work) is copiable under CC-BY-SA terms.

This does severely limit its use for OSM and is one of the things we’re trying to fix by the proposed relicensing. We’re actively discussing such a clause in the proposed new licence (the Open Database Licence) and hope to have good news to report shortly.


Sounds good to me. It might be helpful to be aware of the imminent relicensing but I guess your short-run printing arrangement would allow you to change the credit pretty easily.

Ah yeah. I’m getting confused with GFDL which has all that bumpf about “transparent” documents. CC doesn’t have that, so actually wikitravellers wouldn’t need to make their more raw SVG files (containing restaurant pointers) available to us, just the rasterized image.

But the rasterized image would have to be compatible with our license, and if it is a useful restaurant map (to continue my example) then it would most probably be clear enough to allow us to create new nodes with reasonable accuracy in the OSM database. So we can scurry along and gather information from a wikitraveller’s derived map

…but we can’t force them to go into OSM to add restaurant node. Do we want to be able to force them? I would’ve thought it would enough to know that…

A) We can tempt some wikitravellers to add nodes and re-render, by providing tools which make this an easy way (if not the easiest way) to create nice looking restaurant map.
B) At least some wikitravel map-makers will appreciate the value of contributing to the OSM project even if the tools aren’t as easy/effictive as a graphics editor.
C) If we really want to (admittedly this would be hassle) we are legally allowed to scurry along and gather the restaurant positions from rasterised wikitravel maps.

To me that seems fine, but maybe not to everyone. Does “changes made by wikitravel are in the OSM database” mean you want to force them to go to OSM rather than adding restaurant pointers in a graphics package?

You should really read the last few months of legal-talk, we’ve been through all this. :slight_smile:

We won’t force anyone to actually add stuff to OSM - that kind of compulsion is generally frowned upon (see the Debian Free Software Guidelines for an example). And, besides, their map might be full of crap that we don’t actually want in the OSM db.

But they do need to make it available in a format that’s useful, and that’s where CC-BY-SA falls down. A rasterised, large-scale city restaurant map may be good enough to “reverse engineer” the data, but a small-scale map certainly wouldn’t - something like the Bartholomew UK raster used by (inter alia), for example, would be utterly useless for tracing into OSM. And that’s even before someone reprojects it into their own bonkers projection!

Just wanted to let you all know that Wikitravel Press’s first guide using OpenStreetMap data, Wikitravel Paris, is now available:

The license acknowledgement reads as follows:

All maps in this guide are from OpenStreetMap ( and are available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license.

We’re looking forward to using OSM maps in a great many more guidebooks to come!

This is the ideal option for us. Potlatch already allows adding nodes manually, of course, but it would be fantastic if there were eg. readymade “restaurant”, “hotel” icons that could be just dragged and dropped into the map. It would be even cooler if the slippy map supported pulling info from WT, so you could click on an icon and get a popup of what it’s all about, Google Maps-style.

Hi all, My apologies for the lack of attribution on the map of the 1st. I started putting the attribution on the maps around the 4th or 5th arrondissement or so and meant to go back and add it to the earlier ones as well, but I forgot. I’ll do it today or tomorrow.

Meanwhile if you want the rules file to render these wikitravel style maps it’s here, along with a nice makefile that makes the listings box:

All GPL of course.


I also intend to put some effort into making a Wikitravel version of the slippy map. It’s a ways down my list though.


Jpatokal - an easy-to-use new tagging system is the Next Big Thing for Potlatch (the previous big thing was tiled backgrounds, I guess!). I like the idea of having drag-and-drop POI nodes. Could you log it in so I don’t forget?