crappy non-US mapping (was Re: [FoRK] Google Maps)

Justin Mason jm at
Wed Feb 9 11:18:36 PST 2005

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Andy Armstrong writes:
> On 9 Feb 2005, at 18:30, Justin Mason wrote:
> > The US has lots of cheap/free mapping data, whereas (for example) 
> > Ireland
> > and the UK have their Ordnance Surveys; state or semi-state bodies that
> > charge hefty fees for access to such data.   These fees mean that it's
> > entirely impractical to *use* that data for (e.g.) navigation systems
> > for use by the public.
> Well, not /entirely/. There are affordable map based products that 
> embed map data - for example a number of GPS mapping systems sell with 
> OS 1:50,000 data at a rate of about £300 for the whole country - about 
> $500. It's still a complete PITA.

But does that allow redistribution to the public via a public website, or
via a GPS navigation device?  I'll bet it doesn't; if I recall correctly
the Irish ones certainly don't.   in other words, you can get the data,
and use it in-house, but don't dare let anyone else see it.

> > It's a classic illustration of how having this data in the commons
> > results in a much greater benefit to all.
> I'm aware of people within the Ordnance Survey who'd love to make the 
> data available freely but OS are required by the government to sell it 
> for a profit.

Same in Ireland.   It's a nice little earner...

- --j.
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