Incorporating non-map information

Is it acceptable to use information online that’s not in map or GIS form?

For an example of what I have in mind, suppose that the website for Joe’s Cafe says “Our address is 12 Main St.” And you know where Joe’s Cafe is because you once walked by it. Would it be OK to add the address 12 Main St. to the appropriate location in OSM?

What if you’d never been there, but the web site said “Our address is 12 Main St., which is at the corner of Main & Spruce”?

Does it matter what the source of the information is? Joe’s Cafe Web Site sounds like a more acceptable source than the phone book - the owners are less likely to object.

What if the source of your information is an image someone posted on Panoramio or Flickr? I assume the images on Google Street view are out of bounds…

Interesting question, I wondered about that also, and I guess ti should be ok to use pictures which are published under Creative commons licence. And official site as a source? Well it’s publicly available information, and you can’t copyright a address can you. So, I don’t know, I would like to hear more opinions on this just to be sure.

Facts cannot be protected by copyright, so imo there is nothing that prevents you from using a business web site stating an address as a source for OSM editing. That advertising the business usually means that you act in the website owner’s best interest makes this even less controversial.

There are, however, legal restrictions on copying databases, i.e. ordered collections of facts. So copying from a phone book or business directory might be a legal problem and is therefore not accepted for OSM, just like with geographic databases (other maps, GIS).

Images, particularly collections of georeferenced and processed images such as Street View, are an interesting case, and there are varying opinions about the legal acceptability. See e.g.