Coders needed for similar project & UK FOI act request update.

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Coders needed for similar project & UK FOI act request update.

Clive Galway-2
This may be a bit off-topic, I know, and I apologise.
I am writing an open source internet mapping application to allow users to plot points and paths on Google Maps and share them online.
I am by no means an expert at PHP / Javascript / MySQL and am starting to struggle getting the project much past the proof-of-concept stage.
I am in the process of putting my project on sourceforge and am seeking programmers to help out with the project.

There is a demo of my proof of concept at http://gmaps.evilc.com feel free to check it out.

On a side note, as a result of this project, I am currently trying to push through a Freedom of Information Act request on the British Government to get them to release UK political boundary data (eg counties etc) into the public domain on the grounds that political boundaries of our country are the property of the populace and not Ordnance Survey as they are saying.
The original request was denied, it is currently on appeal and I am in talks with the ombudsman's office ( The governing body one appeals to if they feel the request / appeal has been unlawfully denied ) who seem to be quite outraged that this information is not free and they think I am in with a half-decent chance.
>From what I understand you guys would like very much to lay your hands on as much data you can, I definately think FOI is the way to go. Swamp them buggers with FOI requests until they relent !!

Once again, sorry to spam with an off-topic post.


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Re: Coders needed for similar project & UK FOI act request update.

Rev Simon Rumble

On 9/11/2005, "Clive Galway" <[hidden email]> wrote:

>The original request was denied, it is currently on appeal and I am in talks with the ombudsman's office ( The governing body one appeals to if they feel the request / appeal has been unlawfully denied ) who seem to be quite outraged that this information is not free and they think I am in with a half-decent chance.
>>From what I understand you guys would like very much to lay your hands on as much data you can, I definately think FOI is the way to go. Swamp them buggers with FOI requests until they relent !!

I'm not sure FOI is the way to do this, but all power to you.  Hell, if
it works then we should be able to get a whole bunch of stuff!

Then again, aren't political boundaries kinda essential to a democracy?
If you can't work out who represents whom, that blocks a whole bunch of
useful stuff.

I'm formulating some kind of campaign to get Ken to release all of
TfL's data for us.  If you've tried using their Journey Planner site
in recent weeks (503 Service Unavailable), you'll see why I think
others could do it better!

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Re: Coders needed for similar project & UK FOI act request update.

Steve Coast
In reply to this post by Clive Galway-2
* @ 09/11/05 05:05:26 PM [hidden email] wrote:
> This may be a bit off-topic, I know, and I apologise.  I am writing an
> open source internet mapping application to allow users to plot points
> and paths on Google Maps and share them online.

Sounds similar to placeopedia etc?

> I am by no means an expert at PHP / Javascript / MySQL and am starting
> to struggle getting the project much past the proof-of-concept stage.
> I am in the process of putting my project on sourceforge and am
> seeking programmers to help out with the project.
>
> There is a demo of my proof of concept at http://gmaps.evilc.com feel
> free to check it out.

I wouldn't go down this route, you're just creating a big derived work

:-(

have fun,

SteveC [hidden email] http://www.asklater.com/steve/

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RE: Coders needed for similar project & UK FOI act request update.

Clive Galway-2
Derived work ? As in copyright ? There are no copyright issues here I am
aware of.
The only component of this project which isn't open source is the Google
Maps API

TBH I am quite surprised openstreetmap hasn't used google maps as a
tool.
It should be pretty easy to plot your stuff over the top of google maps
to check it for accuracy etc. Plus you could then drag and pan, dynamic
zoom and all that goodness. Hell you could even "trace" stuff in google
maps.
Now THAT may be a derivative work, but they would have to prove where
you got the data and I don't think that would be possible :P

-----Original Message-----
From: SteveC [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: 09 November 2005 17:11
To: Clive Galway
Cc: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [Openstreetmap] Coders needed for similar project & UK FOI
act request update.

> I am by no means an expert at PHP / Javascript / MySQL and am starting
> to struggle getting the project much past the proof-of-concept stage.
> I am in the process of putting my project on sourceforge and am
> seeking programmers to help out with the project.
>
> There is a demo of my proof of concept at http://gmaps.evilc.com feel
> free to check it out.

I wouldn't go down this route, you're just creating a big derived work

:-(

have fun,

SteveC [hidden email] http://www.asklater.com/steve/



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Re: Coders needed for similar project & UK FOI act request update.

Christopher Schmidt
On Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 06:54:05PM -0000, Clive Galway wrote:
> Derived work ? As in copyright ? There are no copyright issues here I am
> aware of.
> The only component of this project which isn't open source is the Google
> Maps API

Using mapping data provided by TeleAtlas (the street data on Google
Maps) to annotate locations is creating a derived work: you are using
the data provided by an external data source to plot your points. The
only way in which that isn't the case is the use of Satellite maps to
map data instead.

> TBH I am quite surprised openstreetmap hasn't used google maps as a
> tool.
> It should be pretty easy to plot your stuff over the top of google maps
> to check it for accuracy etc. Plus you could then drag and pan, dynamic
> zoom and all that goodness. Hell you could even "trace" stuff in google
> maps.
> Now THAT may be a derivative work, but they would have to prove where
> you got the data and I don't think that would be possible :P

Ignoring the fact that there may be copyright traps in the data in
question (such that streets on Google Maps are not actually in
existence, designed only to foil copycats), such a derived work would be
illegal to use regardless of whether it could be proven or not.
OpenstreetMap is in the business of trying to create data which is free
to use - tracing Google Maps (or even providing an interface where this
is the primary input mechnaism) is dodgy at best and legally suspect no
matter what.

Any data set created using Google Maps as an input tool is dangerous
legally. OSM is the attempt (as far as I'm aware) to avoid the legal
pitfalls associated with other mapping sources. Using Google Maps is
just a great way to bring all that right back.

(Note: I am just an observer. I'm lucky enough to live in the US, where
street-level data at least is public domain. However, part of my day
job at the moment would benefit greatly from an open source of location
data for other countries, so I watch OSM with great interest.)

--
Christopher Schmidt

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Re: Coders needed for similar project & UK FOI act request update.

Richard Fairhurst
Christopher Schmidt posted a good explanation of the derived-mapping
issue, including:

> Using mapping data provided by TeleAtlas (the street data on Google
> Maps) to annotate locations is creating a derived work: you are using
> the data provided by an external data source to plot your points. The
> only way in which that isn't the case is the use of Satellite maps to
> map data instead.

Slight clarification: satellite maps _may_ be ok. That's certainly one
reading of UK law (and the one I agree with). But you might be best
advised to consult a proper lawyer before basing an entire project on
this.

Richard


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Re: Coders needed for similar project & UK FOI act request update.

Christopher Schmidt
On Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 07:10:34PM +0000, Richard Fairhurst wrote:

> Christopher Schmidt posted a good explanation of the derived-mapping
> issue, including:
>
> >Using mapping data provided by TeleAtlas (the street data on Google
> >Maps) to annotate locations is creating a derived work: you are using
> >the data provided by an external data source to plot your points. The
> >only way in which that isn't the case is the use of Satellite maps to
> >map data instead.
>
> Slight clarification: satellite maps _may_ be ok. That's certainly one
> reading of UK law (and the one I agree with). But you might be best
> advised to consult a proper lawyer before basing an entire project on
> this.
Oops, yep. Thanks for the catch: I meant to add that in before I hit
send.

--
Christopher Schmidt

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RE: Coders needed for similar project & UK FOI actrequest update.

Clive Galway-2
In reply to this post by Richard Fairhurst
Are you serious ??
If I obtain lat/lng cords from my GPS unit and punch those in to my
program, it will overlay them on a google map. Does google in any way
own that data ? No. In my system, you can just as easily click a point
on the map to add a location just as easily. When you submit a point and
add it to the database there is no way to tell whether it came from a
gps unit or you clicked on the map - all that is stored in my database
is the latitude and longitude.
So is there any way google or any mapping company can "own" that point ?
surely not.
OK, so maybe if you used my application to trace all the roads and stuff
on the map in google then your use would break some laws but surely the
program itself isn't illegal.
All it is is a way of storing coordinates and have google generate the
maps in the background.

-----Original Message-----
From: [hidden email]
[mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Richard
Fairhurst
Sent: 09 November 2005 19:11
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [Openstreetmap] Coders needed for similar project & UK FOI
actrequest update.

Christopher Schmidt posted a good explanation of the derived-mapping
issue, including:

> Using mapping data provided by TeleAtlas (the street data on Google
> Maps) to annotate locations is creating a derived work: you are using
> the data provided by an external data source to plot your points. The
> only way in which that isn't the case is the use of Satellite maps to
> map data instead.

Slight clarification: satellite maps _may_ be ok. That's certainly one
reading of UK law (and the one I agree with). But you might be best
advised to consult a proper lawyer before basing an entire project on
this.

Richard


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Re: Coders needed for similar project & UK FOI actrequest update.

Steve Coast
* @ 10/11/05 12:15:00 AM [hidden email] wrote:
> Clicking on the map creates a derived work.
>
> Typing in a GPS-sourced point doesn't.

[...]

> We've been through this countless times now... you're not the first. :(

Richard, everyone,

Thanks for taking the time, again, on this :-)

Would you guys mind doing a brain dump in to

http://www.openstreetmap.org/wiki/index.php/FAQ#Why_don.27t_you_just_use_google_maps.2Fwhoever_for_your_data.3F

so we can just link to that next time :-)

have fun,

SteveC [hidden email] http://www.asklater.com/steve/

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Re: Coders needed for similar project & UK FOI act request update.

Jo Walsh
In reply to this post by Clive Galway-2
hello clive, list,
On Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 05:05:26PM +0000, Clive Galway wrote:
> On a side note, as a result of this project, I am currently trying to push through a Freedom of Information Act request on the British Government to get them to release UK political boundary data (eg counties etc) into the public domain on the grounds that political boundaries of our country are the property of the populace and not Ordnance Survey as they are saying.
> The original request was denied, it is currently on appeal and I am in talks with the ombudsman's office ( The governing body one appeals to if they feel the request / appeal has been unlawfully denied ) who seem to be quite outraged that this information is not free and they think I am in with a half-decent chance.

This sounds greatly promising! Is there an archive of your
correspondance about BoundaryLine online? Are you pressing for rights
to redistribute as well as freely access the political boundary data,
what kind of arrangement for publishing the updates are you envisaging
once this data can be got into the public domain?

I hope you are not too discouraged by the pretty dire situation re.
our rights to freely access state-collected geodata, or the difficulty
in building our own alternatives from sources tainted by commercial
copyright. OSM's clean room approach as an ethical stance can be
complemented by other 'prongs' towards open access, especially FOI
law, creating more publically accessilbe, annotatable geodata without
risking a situation where we are brandable as 'data pirates'
by trespassing against commercial interests. :/

re. the relevance of FOIA and the Public Sector Information directive
of which it is an implementation, to open mapping projects, you might
find the talk Chris Corbin gave at Wsfii useful:
http://nodel.org/wsfii/wsfii-day2-audio/10OpenMaps.mp3 
about 1/3 of the way through.

A lot of local authorities and other 'public sector' bodies like
health authorities, i think TfL came up here, are geodata holders.
TfL's public transport routing material is a goldmine and i would like
to know what grounds they would have for denying a FOIA request for
it. Heather Brooke's excellent book on FOIA and how to go about
getting data from different agencies has a lot of harsh words for
particularly TfL and the OS. also blog: http://yrtk.org/ 
(Your Right To Know)
and Heather and Chris Lightfoot's talks on this file:
http://nodel.org/wsfii/wsfii-day2-audio/11OpenCivicInfo.mp3

good luck and let us know how you get on!


-jo

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RE: Coders needed for similar project & UK FOI act request update.

Clive Galway-2
It is my intention to attempt to get the data for everyone, not just
myself. I will be seeking to distribute it. I found a thing on the net
called geotorrent (http://www.geotorrent.org/) basically bittorrent for
geo data - that would be perfect methinks.

No archive of correspondence online, but it may happen in the future,
who knows.
I find it kind of funny how a govt website says "Unfortunately UK
Geography is far from simple" (
http://www.statistics.gov.uk/geography/default.asp ) and yet the reason
is that the information they give out freely so everyone knows the
basics is woefully out of date (ie the county avon being listed in the
current dataset and it doesn't exist any more) or using unfamiliar
groupings (eg ONS's "Super Output Areas") so it is of no use to the
regular public.
There should be a freely available data set with all the political
boundaries, with major towns (say the major one per county ?) all
arranged in a hierarchy (ie showing that westminster is in greater
London which is in England which is in the UK) so that everyone can work
from one master copy - be it for any purpose from mapping (ie this would
allow you to decide what political region a point is in from it's
coordinates) to building a menu for region select for a website
(commercial or altruistic)

In fact, I would go one step further. I say there should be one central
database on the internet that should try to compile this information
world-wide. To be able to say what district, region, state and country
any point in the world is in would be useful to the world community. Of
course in such matters there will always be arguments (eg places in the
world where more than one state claims ownership of the same bit of
land) - in fact, in these situations, a database such as I propose could
actually serve some purpose as anybody could at least see what each side
said was the border. Knowing what each side of an argument actually is
is a good first step to settling it...
Oh well, I am a pessimistic optimist I suppose - I dream of a better
world, am cynical it will ever happen, but I try...

-----Original Message-----
From: Jo Walsh [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: 10 November 2005 20:59
To: Clive Galway
Cc: [hidden email];
[hidden email]; [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [Openstreetmap] Coders needed for similar project & UK FOI
act request update.

hello clive, list,
On Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 05:05:26PM +0000, Clive Galway wrote:
> On a side note, as a result of this project, I am currently trying to
push through a Freedom of Information Act request on the British
Government to get them to release UK political boundary data (eg
counties etc) into the public domain on the grounds that political
boundaries of our country are the property of the populace and not
Ordnance Survey as they are saying.
> The original request was denied, it is currently on appeal and I am in
talks with the ombudsman's office ( The governing body one appeals to if
they feel the request / appeal has been unlawfully denied ) who seem to
be quite outraged that this information is not free and they think I am
in with a half-decent chance.

This sounds greatly promising! Is there an archive of your
correspondance about BoundaryLine online? Are you pressing for rights
to redistribute as well as freely access the political boundary data,
what kind of arrangement for publishing the updates are you envisaging
once this data can be got into the public domain?

I hope you are not too discouraged by the pretty dire situation re.
our rights to freely access state-collected geodata, or the difficulty
in building our own alternatives from sources tainted by commercial
copyright. OSM's clean room approach as an ethical stance can be
complemented by other 'prongs' towards open access, especially FOI
law, creating more publically accessilbe, annotatable geodata without
risking a situation where we are brandable as 'data pirates'
by trespassing against commercial interests. :/

re. the relevance of FOIA and the Public Sector Information directive
of which it is an implementation, to open mapping projects, you might
find the talk Chris Corbin gave at Wsfii useful:
http://nodel.org/wsfii/wsfii-day2-audio/10OpenMaps.mp3 
about 1/3 of the way through.

A lot of local authorities and other 'public sector' bodies like
health authorities, i think TfL came up here, are geodata holders.
TfL's public transport routing material is a goldmine and i would like
to know what grounds they would have for denying a FOIA request for
it. Heather Brooke's excellent book on FOIA and how to go about
getting data from different agencies has a lot of harsh words for
particularly TfL and the OS. also blog: http://yrtk.org/ 
(Your Right To Know)
and Heather and Chris Lightfoot's talks on this file:
http://nodel.org/wsfii/wsfii-day2-audio/11OpenCivicInfo.mp3

good luck and let us know how you get on!


-jo



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Re: Coders needed for similar project & UK FOI act request update.

Petter Reinholdtsen

[Clive Galway]
> In fact, I would go one step further. I say there should be one central
> database on the internet that should try to compile this information
> world-wide.

Are you aware of the <URL:http://www.onemap.org/> effort?  They try to
make a central database on the web with map data for the entire world.


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Re: [Publicwhip-playing] Re: [geo-discuss] Re: Coders needed for similar project & UK FOI act request update.

Roger Longhorn
In reply to this post by Jo Walsh
James is quite correct. FoI is about access, NOT exploitation. Copyright
is copyright, regardless of how you gain access to the material. In
countries like the USA where much (not all) federal data and information
is automatically, legally put into the public domain (a legal dimension
of data, nothing to do with whether or not it is made publicly
available), then anyone can do anything that they want to/with it.
Assuming that you can find it - hence the FoI Act in the USA, which
prevents the US government from hiding such public domain info from view
- you cannot exploit what you cannot see/find!

In most of Europe - not just the UK - and in Cnada, Australia and many
other countries in the world, government data is copyrighted by the
government or the department or agency who created it. Don't forget,
unless something is *put *in the public domain explicitly either by law
(as in USA for federal data - only federal, not state or local gov data)
or by declaration (you can surrender your copyright officially,
declaring that something for which you hold copyeright is now in the
public domain), then cpyright in the material still exists. And in
databases, copyright now exists due implementation of the EU's Database
Protection Directive across all EU Member States (25).

Simply gaining access to information or a dataset by way of your
country's FoI Act does NOT confer any rights to re-use of that data.
Those of you who have been assuming that FoI in the UK will answer your
data problems had better take some professional legal acvice very soon,
at least before you decide to launch any new product or service, even
for free, without the express permission of the data/information owner
(copyrght holder). The fines for copyright infringement are quite
horrendous. And similar fines apply for 'vicarious copyright
infringement' which covers cases where you publish or exploit someone
else's material, thinking that it was copyright-free, when in fact it
was not - even if you did not realise this!

Regards

Roger Longhorn
[hidden email]
(recent gradutate of the WIPO Academy course in Copyright and Related
Rights, July, 2005).

James Cronin wrote:

>Hi Jo,
>
>  
>
>>On Thu, Nov 10, 2005 at 12:59:23PM -0800, Jo Walsh wrote:
>>    
>>
>>>hello clive, list,
>>>On Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 05:05:26PM +0000, Clive Galway wrote:
>>>      
>>>
>>>>On a side note, as a result of this project, I am currently trying to push through a Freedom of Information Act request on the British Government to get them to release UK political boundary data (eg counties etc) into the public domain on the grounds that political boundaries of our country are the property of the populace and not Ordnance Survey as they are saying.
>>>>The original request was denied, it is currently on appeal and I am in talks with the ombudsman's office ( The governing body one appeals to if they feel the request / appeal has been unlawfully denied ) who seem to be quite outraged that this information is not free and they think I am in with a half-decent chance.
>>>>        
>>>>
>
>I'm sorry, this is probably something I don't fully understand, but
>I don't see why information being released to you under FOI necessarily
>places it free of copyright and hence into the public domain?
>
>I'm not a lawyer but I've had a go at reading around this and can't
>see that you'd be granted any additional rights to use data released
>in this way over and above any that you had already just because it was
>disclosed to you under FOI?
>
>Surely it's the rights that you want (or rather the right to further
>distribute without inhibition) not the actual data itself. So I can't
>see why this FOI request is relevant to what you want to achieve.
>
>The boundary data isn't secret. FOI was meant to prevent stuff from
>unnecessarily being secret rather than forcing everything to be free?
>
>Please someone explain how I've got this wrong.
>
>J.
>
>
>
>  
>


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Re: [Publicwhip-playing] Re: [geo-discuss] Re: Coders needed for similar project & UK FOI act request update.

Roger Longhorn
Rufus Pollock wrote:

> I think Roger is absolutely right formally on this. However should the
> FOI request succeed surely that would imply that all British Citizens
> are entitled to access to this data. If that were the case while
> re-use would be prohibited why would redistribution to other (UK)
> individuals be illegal -- it would simply be a quicker method of
> getting the data than endless FOI requests by different citizens.
>
"Re-distribution" of copyrighted material _IS _re-use/exploitation and
hence violates copyright unless such use falls under allowed 'fair use'
legislation which is imprecise and determined mainly by case law which
differs from country to country.

RAL

>
> Roger Longhorn wrote:
>
>> James is quite correct. FoI is about access, NOT exploitation.
>> Copyright is copyright, regardless of how you gain access to the
>> material. In countries like the USA where much (not all) federal data
>> and information is automatically, legally put into the public domain
>> (a legal dimension of data, nothing to do with whether or not it is
>> made publicly available), then anyone can do anything that they want
>> to/with it. Assuming that you can find it - hence the FoI Act in the
>> USA, which prevents the US government from hiding such public domain
>> info from view - you cannot exploit what you cannot see/find!
>>
>> In most of Europe - not just the UK - and in Cnada, Australia and
>> many other countries in the world, government data is copyrighted by
>> the government or the department or agency who created it. Don't
>> forget, unless something is *put *in the public domain explicitly
>> either by law (as in USA for federal data - only federal, not state
>> or local gov data) or by declaration (you can surrender your
>> copyright officially, declaring that something for which you hold
>> copyeright is now in the public domain), then cpyright in the
>> material still exists. And in databases, copyright now exists due
>> implementation of the EU's Database Protection Directive across all
>> EU Member States (25).
>>
>> Simply gaining access to information or a dataset by way of your
>> country's FoI Act does NOT confer any rights to re-use of that data.
>> Those of you who have been assuming that FoI in the UK will answer
>> your data problems had better take some professional legal acvice
>> very soon, at least before you decide to launch any new product or
>> service, even for free, without the express permission of the
>> data/information owner (copyrght holder). The fines for copyright
>> infringement are quite horrendous. And similar fines apply for
>> 'vicarious copyright infringement' which covers cases where you
>> publish or exploit someone else's material, thinking that it was
>> copyright-free, when in fact it was not - even if you did not realise
>> this!
>>
>> Regards
>>
>> Roger Longhorn
>> [hidden email]
>> (recent gradutate of the WIPO Academy course in Copyright and Related
>> Rights, July, 2005).
>>
>> James Cronin wrote:
>>
>>> Hi Jo,
>>>
>>>  
>>>
>>>> On Thu, Nov 10, 2005 at 12:59:23PM -0800, Jo Walsh wrote:
>>>>  
>>>>
>>>>> hello clive, list,
>>>>> On Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 05:05:26PM +0000, Clive Galway wrote:
>>>>>    
>>>>>
>>>>>> On a side note, as a result of this project, I am currently
>>>>>> trying to push through a Freedom of Information Act request on
>>>>>> the British Government to get them to release UK political
>>>>>> boundary data (eg counties etc) into the public domain on the
>>>>>> grounds that political boundaries of our country are the property
>>>>>> of the populace and not Ordnance Survey as they are saying.
>>>>>> The original request was denied, it is currently on appeal and I
>>>>>> am in talks with the ombudsman's office ( The governing body one
>>>>>> appeals to if they feel the request / appeal has been unlawfully
>>>>>> denied ) who seem to be quite outraged that this information is
>>>>>> not free and they think I am in with a half-decent chance.
>>>>>>      
>>>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> I'm sorry, this is probably something I don't fully understand, but
>>> I don't see why information being released to you under FOI necessarily
>>> places it free of copyright and hence into the public domain?
>>>
>>> I'm not a lawyer but I've had a go at reading around this and can't
>>> see that you'd be granted any additional rights to use data released
>>> in this way over and above any that you had already just because it was
>>> disclosed to you under FOI?
>>>
>>> Surely it's the rights that you want (or rather the right to further
>>> distribute without inhibition) not the actual data itself. So I can't
>>> see why this FOI request is relevant to what you want to achieve.
>>>
>>> The boundary data isn't secret. FOI was meant to prevent stuff from
>>> unnecessarily being secret rather than forcing everything to be free?
>>>
>>> Please someone explain how I've got this wrong.
>>>
>>> J.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>  
>>>
>>
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> geo-discuss mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> http://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/geo-discuss
>
>
>


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Re: [Publicwhip-playing] Re: [geo-discuss] Re: Coders needed for similar project & UK FOI act request update.

Roger Longhorn
In reply to this post by Roger Longhorn
Chris Lightfoot wrote:

>On Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 01:41:57PM +0000, Rufus Pollock wrote:
>  
>
>>I think Roger is absolutely right formally on this. However should the
>>FOI request succeed surely that would imply that all British Citizens
>>are entitled to access to this data. If that were the case while re-use
>>would be prohibited why would redistribution to other (UK) individuals
>>be illegal -- it would simply be a quicker method of getting the data
>>than endless FOI requests by different citizens.
>>    
>>
>
>In practice there would presumably be a publication scheme.
>  
>

Yes, _in practice_, all government departments _are _supposed to have
implemented Information Asset Registers (IARs) which are publicly
available, by which citizens can readily see what info assets (data)
these departments hold and what is available to see, plus implement
systems to make that info available preferably on-line.

Many government departments have proactive info dissemination systems
available via the web - but not all, and those that fail in this way are
being targetted to "do better" in the very near future. But many also
failed to realise just how much such proactive dissemination of
information - even the creation of the IARs - was going to cost in terms
not only of money (tax payers money, remember, which funds the
departments) but also the expertise to create such systems and then
maintain them on a long term basis.

RAL


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Re: [Publicwhip-playing] Re: [geo-discuss] Re: Coders needed for similar project & UK FOI act request update.

Jo Walsh
In reply to this post by Roger Longhorn
On Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 12:35:18PM +0000, Roger Longhorn wrote:
> James is quite correct. FoI is about access, NOT exploitation. Copyright
> is copyright, regardless of how you gain access to the material. In
> countries like the USA where much (not all) federal data and information
> is automatically, legally put into the public domain (a legal dimension
> of data, nothing to do with whether or not it is made publicly
> available)

oh, burst my literalistic bubble, the lot of you. But i have some
questions about both copyright and redistribution.

BoundaryLine is one case, clearly identified as a product and under
copyright. If Clive's FoI request for the data works for him, and then
i make an identical request and am given *access* to the data... then
i build a web service, which allows a query to make use of that data
set without actually revealing the contents of the data set. Say,
"from a lat/long pair, which ward boundary am i within", with a
throttle to prevent people easily brute-forcing the shapes out.

Would my web service be a 'derived work' and as such illegal without a
license to use the copyrighted work?

TfL's routing data is another case. It's not one body of data in a
publication scheme or on the market. Some of it is probably the IP of
other organisations than TfL (GovData?). Is it possible that some of it
is just data kicking around on internal systems which has never been
published to third parties or had IP rights in it considered?

As Roger points out to get access rights even before exploitation
rights, one needs to get a description of what is available, and
what rights constrict what is available.

Might there actually be a risk that data held by authorities about
which there is no rights decision would get covered with a blanket
copyright statement in the face of an FoI request? And is there an
absurdity in the fact that, as Rufus points out in theory every UK
citizen could make the same request for e.g. BoundaryLine and be
granted 'access' to it?

But it does sounds as if the intent of the directive on *re-use* of
public sector information is so thoroughly stymied by database
copyright law, that the ability to build local civic information
applications, really can only be had at a price or at supplication.

abashed,


-jo

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Re: [Publicwhip-playing] Re: [geo-discuss] Re: Coders needed for similar project & UK FOI act request update.

Daniel Haran
Hello All,

On 11/11/05, Jo Walsh <[hidden email]> wrote:
> And is there an
> absurdity in the fact that, as Rufus points out in theory every UK
> citizen could make the same request for e.g. BoundaryLine and be
> granted 'access' to it?

How much does it cost to file a FOI request? Absurd can make for good
political theater.

;)

Daniel.

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Re: [Publicwhip-playing] Re: [geo-discuss] Re: Coders needed for similar project & UK FOI act request update.

Jo Walsh
On Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 09:26:41PM -0400, Daniel Haran wrote:
> > absurdity in the fact that, as Rufus points out in theory every UK
> > citizen could make the same request for e.g. BoundaryLine and be
> > granted 'access' to it?
> How much does it cost to file a FOI request? Absurd can make for good
> political theater.

i believe it is 10% of the cost of processing the request, "plus a
reasonable return on investment", up to a maximum of 55 pounds.
Heather's 'Your Right To Know' book has a good guide to the steps of
the request and appeal process. As this is a digital resource and all
the effort involved in packaging it appropriately and publishing a
location for it or otherwise having a mechanism to distribute it... so
the cost for servicing one request should drop off very rapidly.  

Perhaps the argument is, 'It is possible to provide a mechanism by which
any uk citizen who wishes can gain free access (leaving aside the question of
redistribution), perhaps registering personal details, but a process
not needing human intervention. The cost of this is the cost of
bandwidth and of server/storage resources. The current state is a process
whereby each citizen has to be charged for the time spent by a person
processing their request to gain access to that same data. This
obstructs access, this generates unnecessary and unmeaningful
financial barriers to information access.'

Just being able to play with BoundaryLine, explore it would be
interesting to me. Perhaps in order to avoid distributing the data one
could build a http application which uses the data, and distribute the
application, or, I wonder if one could do an AJAX type thing where a
script is pointed at a local copy of BoundaryLine and the data never
technically leaves the client machine. Whether that's pushing it a bit
far.


-jo

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Re: [Publicwhip-playing] Re: [geo-discuss] Re: Coders needed for similar project & UK FOI act request update.

Daniel Haran
Neat. My FOI request cost me CAD$25, as did the appeal- and they can
tack on costs to this for work they do if they feel like it. Of
course, as you mention, the cost is mainly determined by the type of
data and how they decide to redistribute it.

Your point about a web service is an excellent one, imo. There's a set
of postal data here that sells for CAD$3,000, with very large
royalties. It turns out that under their rules a web service is akin
to a "service bureau", and wouldn't have to pay up to $10/$15,000 for
redistribution. Of course if you wanted to map those boundarylines on
the web it would be trivial to brute force.

It seems to me that a practical extension of a geocoder would be to
take an address and boundary type as input, and return the lat/long as
well as the boundary name that contains it. That only covers one
use-case, but that's probably the most common one.

On 11/12/05, Jo Walsh <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Just being able to play with BoundaryLine, explore it would be
> interesting to me. Perhaps in order to avoid distributing the data one
> could build a http application which uses the data, and distribute the
> application, or, I wonder if one could do an AJAX type thing where a
> script is pointed at a local copy of BoundaryLine and the data never
> technically leaves the client machine. Whether that's pushing it a bit
> far.
>
>
> -jo
>

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Re: [Publicwhip-playing] Re: [geo-discuss] Re: Coders needed for similar project & UK FOI act request update.

Sean Burlington
In reply to this post by Jo Walsh
Jo Walsh wrote:

> On Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 12:35:18PM +0000, Roger Longhorn wrote:
>
>>James is quite correct. FoI is about access, NOT exploitation. Copyright
>>is copyright, regardless of how you gain access to the material. In
>>countries like the USA where much (not all) federal data and information
>>is automatically, legally put into the public domain (a legal dimension
>>of data, nothing to do with whether or not it is made publicly
>>available)
>
>
> oh, burst my literalistic bubble, the lot of you. But i have some
> questions about both copyright and redistribution.
>
> BoundaryLine is one case, clearly identified as a product and under
> copyright. If Clive's FoI request for the data works for him, and then
> i make an identical request and am given *access* to the data... then
> i build a web service, which allows a query to make use of that data
> set without actually revealing the contents of the data set. Say,
> "from a lat/long pair, which ward boundary am i within", with a
> throttle to prevent people easily brute-forcing the shapes out.

some of the boundary line data is available as part of the 2001 census

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/census2001/op12.asp

What you actually get is vector data on "Output Areas" - but my
understanding is that these can be aggregated to ward boundaries etc.

It's still under coypright but is available at no cost

--

Sean

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