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Dr Mike J Smith
Kingston University

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Is OS data "fit for purpose"?

Tue, 04 Nov 2008

I want to briefly return to the issue of using OS data within a map, even if that data has been significantly modified and makes up a relatively small proportion of the map content. If the data is licensed via JISC (and therefore downloaded from EDINA), it means that the licensee is bound by these restrictions which I have described at length before. The JISC-OS license is not up for renewal for a while and therefore there is little to be done about what you can and can't publish.

This naturally leads to the question about whether OS data is "fit for purpose". How can you have licensed users not allowed to publish their work? How can you have OS claiming IPR over an entire "product" regardless of the amount of their data included within it? How can non-profit/charitable users be essentially barred from map publication? How can such large sectors of society by so disenfranchised by a single organisation to the detriment of society as a whole? Is OS data "fit for purpose"? For many, I think not.

And to quote one user on the licensing conditions: "If I'd known the OS would be this rabid, I would not have paid for their data."

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