World Bank – Google Partnership for Community Mapping Raises Data Access Questions

From Google’s Lat Long blog post: “Under this agreement, the World Bank will act as a conduit to make Google Map Maker source data more widely and easily available to government organizations in the event of major disasters, and also for improved planning, management, and monitoring of public services provision. …”

In an All Points Blog post on Directions Magazine (January 16, 2012), Adena Schutzberg notes that “World Bank partner organizations, which include government and United Nations agencies, will be able to contact World Bank offices for possible access to the Google Map Maker data for their various projects. … The data is Google’s. It’s not open to the world under a free data license like OpenStreetMap is. Google makes its data tiles available via its APIs (with have their own restrictions and sometimes, fees). The Map Maker data is not open source (because that license is for software). Oh, and Google’s mapping APIs are not open source either!”

Ms. Schutzberg also raises several good questions that will need to be addressed, including “… how the World Bank will decide if a requester can have access to the data. Is it only during an emergency? Or when one is expected? Or is for long-term planning for such emergencies? … under what sort of terms (license) Google/The World Bank will hand over the data? Will it be sharable to NGOs? To citizens? …”

For full text of Adena Schutzberg’s blog post, visit Google Gives World Bank Map Maker Data Distribution Privileges – All Points Blog.

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