Mapping from tourism maps

Am I allowed to use tourism maps as a source for systematic mapping? I mean the kind of maps you’d see on an information board or a paper map tourist locations have. They don’t obviously have any visible licenses so maybe I’m just overthinking, but just asking to be sure.

If the map does not mention that content is in the public domain or has a copyleft licence that is compatible with the ODbL, you should assume it has strong copyright restrictions.
The wiki is very clear about this: “If unsure, do not use.”


What do you mean by “systematic mapping”? As bxl-forever mentioned, you should assume they are copyright restricted unless there is clear evidence that they are not – but facts are not copyrightable.

So, you need to survey whatever you are considering adding yourself. But you can use the tourist map to suggest things you might chose to go survey – as long as you don’t add them till you’ve verified them yourself.


First I am not a lawyer.

I am not sure where you are located, but generally agencies of the US Federal Government cannot claim copyright, so if the map was created by such an agency, it should be ok.

For example I would consider the names of things on the map to be “facts.”

Even if the map is not copyright, this is a good idea, maps are often wrong. I just visited an area managed by the US Forest Service this weekend, and the map boards are very out of date and do not match reality.