OpenAerialMap – Community contributed aerial imagery

By Nick Black

The recently back-from-the-brink-of-death Slashgeo, links this morning to an interesting open geodata initiative – OpenAerialMap. As the name suggests, OpenAerialMap is an attempt to aggregate as much free aerial imagery as possible. This makes a lot of sense. In the same way that I can go out with a GPS and map my street, I can fly my UAV over my street and gather imagery, safe in the knowledge that my neighbour a few streets away is doing the same thing. We join it all up and get a free image map of the world.

A technical problem to solve will be to rectify images to make them usable with other mapping/GI systems. This requires the use of ground control points, either gathered from existing maps or imagery (as seen in the MetaCarta rectifier) or based on GPS positions. Right now, OpenAerialMap have opted for a one at a time approach – with users uploading an image and manually rectifying it – presumably against public domain, or maybe even OpenStreetMap maps. None of this is actually up and running yet – the project is still in the planning stage.

The licensing of the project is unclear – there’s a lot of talk about freedom and open source, but nothing concrete about what the license actually is. Aa OAM haven’t started accepting uploads yet, there’s still time to choose a license that will maximise the usefulness of the tool they are creating.

As you would expect, OpenAerialMap talk a lot about community on their wiki. Unfortunately, as of this morning editing the wiki has been frozen temporarily until we clearly define appropriate use. So in the mean time, you can subscribe to the mailing list to find out more.

5 thoughts on “OpenAerialMap – Community contributed aerial imagery

  1. stewartblong

    A website conglomerating user submitted geodata, with tools for geotagging, and kml feeds for tagged photos and videos.

    “Pict’Earth is a Social Network used to collect, link and geotag RC, UAV/UAS or Kite derived Earth imagery for use in 3D Globe Programs including Google Earth, Virtual Earth, World Wind and ArcGIS Explorer”

  2. Harry Wood

    The wiki there seems to be open to editing again (have to register and confirm your email)

    I went on there and created a page defining OpenStreetMap:

    I wrote a little bit about licensing and a vague description of othorectification (which I don’t know much about) so dive in, if you have improvements to make.

  3. bob

    Lets hope they use a more sensible license than OSM that makes the data usable otherwise its just another huge waste of time.

  4. nick Post author

    bob: ‘Lets hope they use a more sensible license than OSM that makes the data usable otherwise its just another huge waste of time.’

    You obviously think that OSM’s data is unusable. I suspect that what you actually mean is that you are unable to use it in the way that you want. Care to elaborate?

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