OSM Contour Lines

First of all, let me apologize beforehand if someone has already posted about this.

I notice that Andy Allen is now asking for money for his Open Cycle Map tiles which are based on OSM tiles and publicly available data, including GPS traces. Would it be possible for some contour lines to be added to OSM tiles in order to get around the requirement to pay for tiles with contour lines? OSM tiles already have rivers and creeks which give some idea of the shape of the land, but a few contour lines would be even nicer. I have written quite a few Android apps which use Andy’s tiles and which earn absolutely no money for me. And a large number of other people have done the same thing.

My understanding is that OSM was created basically in response to Google starting to charge for their map tiles (which are also based on publicly available data), so it would be nice if contour lines could be added to OSM tiles in response to Andy charging for his.

To be clear, I’m sure Andy is a nice guy but I don’t want to be paying for publicly available data.

Maybe you ajre not paying for tha data itself, but for manpower and server costs that are needed to combine OSM data and contour line data?

Have you ever tried to find free contour line data?
And combine it with OSM data and render some tiles?
What was the result?

That’s not entirely true, OSM is older than Google Maps :slight_smile:

Did you look at the list of maps on https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Relief_maps to see whether there is an alternative map you can use ?

What you really wanted to say is: it is completely wrong, and doesn’t have a grain of truth in it.


OCM is free for 150,000 tiles per month. That’s pretty generous. If your app needs to pull down more tiles than that, I’m afraid you probably need to think about a business model that pays for the server resources, rather than expecting someone else to provide free servers for your hobby. It’s nice that you give free apps away but, again, I’m afraid writing a free Android app is a whole bunch easier and cheaper than running massive server infrastructure.

If you want to do it yourself, look at http://switch2osm.org/ for basic tileserver instructions; get a server from hetzner.de; use publicly downloadable SRTM contour data, gdal_contour, and shp2pgsql to get the contours into your database; and then alter the stylesheet to show the contours.

There is nothing “generous” about charging for the work of probably hundreds of thousands of people who have collected and uploaded GPS traces to OSM with the understanding that they would be freely distributed. If he wants to start charging for those, he needs to be paying royalties to those people.

Erm - I think you misunderstand how this works :slight_smile:

I’m one of “those people” and the whole point of contributing data is so that it actually gets used. Whether that’s on your website, or e.g. printed on a tea towel that someone buys doesn’t matter. Everyone can use the data for free (subject to the terms referenced by http://www.openstreetmap.org/copyright ). What you make with the data you’re entirely at liberty to charge for, subject to the same terms.

If you don’t like the fact that a provider now charges for something that was previously free, you’re entirely within your rights to use a different provider, or become a “provider” of map tiles yourself. You then have the choice whether you want to pay for the tile server yourself, try to cover your costs in some way or try and run a business based on it - it’s entirely your choice.

He isn’t charging for the data. He’s charging for people using the custom implementation that he created based on OSM data, running on servers that aren’t free and using bandwidth that isn’t free.

Think of it like an author selling a book. They aren’t charging for the words they used, they’re charging for the custom way in which they used those words and the costs involved in getting that arrangement of words to you (e.g. editing, printing, shipping, etc.).

Well, I have to admit that probably nothing will change as a result of my machinations, but we’ll see what the Charity Commission says about it. I have made an inquiry with them.

Ok. Having tried to be helpful and polite in my first answer I will not say what I really think because it would embarrass the moderators, but…

Nonsense. No-one, seemingly apart from you, has signed up with this understanding. Read the actual Contributor Terms which you agreed to on signing up (you did read them, didn’t you?). Read the Open Database Licence which governs all use of OSM data. There is nothing in them that prevents charging for a product which contains OSM data. Indeed, if we were to forbid this, we would be in direct contravention of 2.1.2 and 2.1.9 of the Open Definition:

In other words: the “Open” in OpenStreetMap means OSM must not require payment for the data; the “Open” in OpenStreetMap means people can redistribute our data in any way they like, including selling things including it.

Every single open licence is like this. Have you never wondered how your Android phone is built on the openly-licensed Linux kernel, yet the manufacturer was allowed to charge for it? Do you think Samsung are “paying royalties” to every single Linux kernel contributor? Hint: they’re not.

If you want to build a paid-for mapping database, go get a job with TomTom, Here or Google. That’s not what we’re doing.

I’m pretty sure the answer will be “the OpenStreetMap Foundation is not a registered charity, stop wasting our time”. But don’t let that stop you. Have you thought about complaining to the Covent Garden Market Authority and the Witham Fourth District Internal Drainage Board as well?

Chris Brossard,

The Charity Commission doesn’t accept inquiries from people with zero edits in OSM. So you’d better increase your number of edits.