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.