SOTM 2008 – Ed Parsons

Ed Parsons
GeoSpatial Technologist

What Mapmaker is and isn’t?

Attempt to clear the air, and see if we can work together better.

Behind the seens Google has a universal infrastructure. Google license data from third parties. Now if Google can’t get access to data in geographies from commercial source, so Google have rolled out mapmaker in those markets. To get the users to contribute in these markets so Google can use this data to then provide services in those markets which are at the moment not possible.

Google license all the data in that appears in their maps, never owns data. Other than StreetView Imagery (I guess). Mapmaker is the public version of the tool being used internally for markets like India where Google could not license data.

So why not take a opengeodata approach?

Google believe that the information being captured will be available to the public. But this has not been done yet, so why not ? Main reason is Google’s user base (API developers) do not have a need for such opengeodata as only a small minority have a need to roll their own tiles. So it does not make sense for Google to open source this data. Google does relaises (or says Ed Parsons) that it will need to do this in the future.

Licensing …

Content license to Google, rights to..

  • reproduce
  • adapt
  • modify
  • translate,
  • publish,
  • publicly perform,
  • publicly display,
  • distribute,
  • and create derivative works

Without Attribution!!!!

This is future proof for Google, and Google is taking the view that this license is good enuf for now, but is open to changing it in the future.

The approach to use Mapmaker in this fashion is good enough and successful for now as far Google is concerned. They have used this in the case of Burma to get up to date maps captured in a week by 50 people so that relief effort could be carried out.

This is not a open source project. They are not claiming it to be one, but at the moment MapMaker is not open source, but that does not mean google wont do it in the future. Google does open source lots of projects and code. Example Google C++ test engine, Google’s Protocol buffers design and code base, Google’s Firefox bookmarks sync service codebase etc etc.

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