Jo at Mapping hacks comments on an email sent by Openstreetmap (OSM) founder Steve Coast on its future. I have blogged about OSM before and am very supportive of the idea, however Steve makes the point that others in the UK are concerned to support the initiative personally, because of their relationships with the Ordnance Survey.
Although this is clearly not an official communication channel for the OS, I would like to take this opportunity to state that the OS has no right whatsoever to infringe on the rights of individuals or organisations who which to produce their own copyright free geographic information. Clearly the OS would be concerned if Crown Copyright material was used in the compilation of the database, but Steve and the OSM community have always worked very hard to make sure this is not the case.
I believe the UK GI industry should be supportive of any initiatives which grow the market for geographic information, to be honest the development of databases like that the OSM is attempting to build, do not compete in meeting the Ordnance Survey core market needs and actually meet the needs of a community of users that are not served well by commercial data providers.
The development of copyright free or open source geographic data is a result of technological advancement and the increasing maturity of industry, and I call on anybody who can to support the OSM project, as professionals in the business of building and maintaining national geographic databases we know how complex and expensive business a undertaking this is.