Usage of the OSM Tile Server in the context of a war plus no OSM attribution

It was reported in WeelkyOSM #698 that the Israel IDF forces published a map with an OSM background to orient civilians in Gaza. A new publication from France24 reports
that since the resumption of the Israeli offensive on the north and south of the Gaza Strip on December 1, the armed forces have regularly dropped leaflets and contacted Palestinian civilians, calling on them to evacuate to what they call " safe areas" in the south of the Gaza Strip. But images filmed on the ground show that some of these areas have been bombed several times. A QR code points to gaza map.
(see translation of France24 article ).

Looking back at the map, we can observe that while OSM is used as background with a link to as tile server, there is no attribution.

What should be OSFM policy in such context ? Note that I did open a github ticket about the no OSM attributon.

I was aware of this site and decided to take no action so far. As many issues adjacent to this conflict situation is complex with no obvious good solutions

There are at least three OSM-specific problems here:

  • Effects about being attributed there, as required by our license, may have some unwanted consequences. Especially if evacuation advise there would turn out to be misleading with areas described as safe being bombed. (clear attribution making distinction between background map and overlay and website would help but not fully solve problem)
  • Effects of disabling services there may have some unwanted consequences. Especially if it affects useful evacuation advise.
  • They are currently violating our license

In this specific situation I would likely continue doing nothing and would suggest the same for others.

(I am on OSMF board with heavy involvement in attribution-related issues and one of people with maintainer right at new GitHub - openstreetmap/tile-attribution: This repository is used for reporting and tracking sites which are using tiles but without attributing OpenStreetMap. The sites are tracked in the issue tracker. where reports about other, hopefully less complicated cases, are welcome)

EDIT: I closed this issue. I think that OSMF taking action here in either way would be excellent way to end with a unexpected, unwanted, undesired and problematic consequences. So taking no action, beyond decision to do nothing seems a best one to me.

And I ask others to rather ignore this situation rather than act here in any way. If someone wants to help then Lacking proper attribution - OpenStreetMap Wiki lists many cases where acting would be more helpful.


In general the policy for sites which meet the Tile Usage Policy but get blocked for other reasons such as page content is the board passes a resolution on them. This has happened, to my recollection, three times but one of the sites was removed from that blocklist when their domain registration was lapsed while converting the block list to a new format.

The OSMF has not blocked tile users for violations of the Terms of Use outside of the usage policy aside from technical-related ones like overuse, viruses and rootkits, and copyright, which overlap with the usage policies.

We have not blocked for privacy, using the services where failure could lead to death, personal injury, or significant property damage (“people may die”), UK sanctions, or unsolicited advertising.

Of course, the OSMF has the right to block any site, but currently most blocks are for apps that are tile scraping, pretending to be a different app, or failing to have any attribution.