Google have a couple of really enlightened guys called the “Data Liberation Front“. Their role is to make it easy for people to get their data out of Google – rather than it being locked in.
Usually, people are locked in by the lack of an export feature, or an obscure file format. In mapping, people are locked in by licences.
At the Society of Cartographers’ Summer School last week, there was a great workshop on making a mashup from Google imagery – but when the question arose about taking the data out of Google and using it elsewhere… well, then things got a little hazy.
Google could fix this by saying that tracing from their imagery is ok – just like Yahoo have done. Or, alternatively, they could give us a clear “no”. Right now no-one really knows where they stand.
The Data Liberation Front ask people to vote for their favourite suggestions. We’ve added this as a suggestion and, at the time of writing, it has 585 votes – over four times the next most popular.
You can vote by going to http://url.ie/2ero. OpenStreetMap has shown the way in liberating geodata – maybe it’s time that some of these other guys caught up.