OSM Gaza, end of week one

Still working on two tasks .. getting imagery in North Gaza, and bringing on Gazans living abroad to help fill in the details. We’re getting close on both counts. It’s taking a few days longer, but that’s life, not everything operates on internet time.

With imagery, we’re trying to pin down the legal rights and restrictions on using imagery. We’re pretty sure we can derive vectors, just need absolutely clarity. There are probably restrictions on who can have access to the data .. this is commercial imagery after all. Not ideal, but we’ll see what’s possible. In amazing timing, the DigitalGlobe sales team is on a retreat this week, meaning we can’t get answers right away.

There are several promising contacts for help with place names. Takes a little time to bring people up to speed on the OSM tools; often best to be sitting at the same desk. Tomorrow, there are protests scheduled all over the US, and here in SF. I’m going out to try and meet some folks to contribute to the map. Feel free to do the same.

At the same time, we’ve collected a tremendous resource of existing geographic information and discussion on the wiki. I am really blown away by the quality and volume of data. Honestly, wow.

The European Commission offered to contribute their roads data. This is the data set that underlies UN-OCHA’s maps. However, the EC restricts use of this data to non-commercial, and doesn’t permit modification. I’m unsure about modification, since that’s exactly what OCHA does. But certainly non-commercial prevents use in OpenStreetMap. Commercial use is extremely unlikely in Gaza; if there was any commerce in Gaza, we should be happy. Anyhow, this data is now available non-commercial, non-modifiable. If anyone thinks this is useful, let me know, and I’ll arrange to host it somewhere.

Thanks everyone who’s emailed, blogged and tweeted in the past few days. Phenomenal response. Really, it doesn’t take much work individually for us to collectively do something awesome.