Ordnance Survey copyright annoyance (again)


From the editorial in the first issue of Journal of Maps (free registration required):

The review process for this first issue has highlighted key issues relating to data access. The access to, and use of, data in analysis and subsequent map publication is fundamental to research in spatial disciplines. Highlights of recent advances in data access include the availability of Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM; Rabus et al, 2003) digital elevation model (DEM) data (SRTM, 2004) and the ever-increasing Global Land Cover Facility (GLCF, 2004) Landsat archive. Both of these are examples of valuable international datasets, illustrating the generally favourable open-access policies of data collected by the United States government.

Other countries have more restrictive policies with respect to data use and publication. Unfortunately current copyright restrictions have prevented publication of a map that has been reviewed and accepted by JoM. Lloyd and Greatbatch submitted a map to JoM (Size: A3) depicting the results of a multi-criteria evaluation (MCE) for the location of the fictional Blandings estate contained within P.G. Wodehouse novels. Based upon Ordnance Survey data, the copyright restrictions on electronic publication are such that this particular map is unpublishable. JoM wishes to actively contribute to the debate on map data and copyright, with a view to lessening the restrictions on map publication. Hopefully the Lloyd and Greatbatch map will be published in a future issue. Severe copyright restrictions are regrettable and we hope that over the coming years, national mapping agencies, worldwide, can be less restrictive.