Google Maps Technology Thoughts

Whose map is it anyway..

View Larger Map

It’s mine all mine..

This is a map of recycling centres in Teddington, my local neighbourhood in London. I created it my looking up the locations of recycling centres run by my local council, the London Borough of Richmond, from their website and then added the points using the existing Google Map and Satellite image for context.

So who owns this new map ?

I do !

By publishing the map using Google Maps, I give Google a license to use my data but it’s “ownership” as such remains with me. The license is just an explicit statement of the implict intenention of publishing a map for consumption by the public using Google as a publication channel.

Google makes no claim over the intellectual property of the maps you create, they remain your maps and the data remains your data !

Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network.

50 replies on “Whose map is it anyway..”

Hey Richard,

OK interesting point, in this case no it’s not a derived work as the recycling centres do not appear on any of the maps used.

Interesting (I know, I know, I should get a life). But if the nice chaps at Richmond tell you there’s a recycling box at the corner of Park Lane and Park Road, and you use Google (map or satellite) to determine that said corner is at 51.425297,-0.334935, isn’t that a derivation?

Because it would be really, really cool if it wasn’t.

Not sure it is your map/data – you got it from their website. Without that you wouldn’t be able to have done it, so must be at least joint copyright …

So yes, derived data.

But issue is not with your data, but OS. They (legally) interpret your licensing requirement differently ….

At least one of your competitors is sorting this – what’s Google doing about it?

@ Richard,

OK so this is really cool then, as I can use Google maps to determine the actual location, as it both does not occur on the original map or at Richmond’s website. It is the product of my interpretation in this case based on local knowledge and the imagery… therefore it is not derived !

@ Denis,

There was no mapping I looked at, there is no OS content whatsoever in the points I have added. Recycling points don’t appear in any OS mapping product I am aware of.

I cannot comment on our discussions with the OS here, that would be unprofessional, but we are talking.

So is it the case that it’s not derived because Google don’t have that in their licensing – if OS imagery/mapping was used it would be derived because that’s how they licence it?

Ed – indeed, there was no map on the website, and most likely, the Ordnance Survey has not been involved, but you are using copyrighted information nevertheless (as Denis suggests)

At the bottom of each page reads
© London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, Civic Centre, 44 York Street, Twickenham TW1 3BZ, Telephone 020 8891 1411

Also there is a link:

with the following:
“…No part of this web site may be copied, broadcast, adapted or used in any way, without the prior permission of the London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames.”

It’s not just about derived data from Google Maps, it’s not just the potential for derived data from the OS – it’s about who owns public data.

Thats ok with small data sets when you can quickly recreate them from scratch. However say I want to map planning applications and manually recreate our existing data captured over OS maps to google. Doing 700 of these every year from scratch is not very efficient. What we need to be able to do is take our existing derived data and simply be allowed to place it on top of google maps.

@ Another Local Authoirty, Yes that is the real issue I’m afraid I can’t offer a solution to that..

@Tim, no I don’t think that is the case the website itself is protected by copyright, however as the actual locations of the recycling centres themselves are not on the site, and are the product of my interpretation of imagery and local knowledge, they are not subject to Richmond’s copyright.

This point I guess I am having trouble trying to communicate is that any information you publish using the maps API remains your information, by signing up to the Terms of Service you are providing Google with a license to use it..

@Eugene, no the Terms of Service for MapMaker are very similar

Add a comment?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.