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Dr Mike J Smith
Kingston University

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Society of Cartographers

Mon, 12 Sep 2005

I was speaking in the last session at the Society of Cartographers Annual Summer School (Cambridge) this week. Sadly I couldn't make other days in the conference, however there appeared to be a wide variety of interesting talks. I was talking about open access journal publication (in my capacity as editor of the Journal of Maps) and, in particular, copyright issues related to the publication of original and third party data.

It is a shame that I was unable to attend the sessions on Tuesday where, amongst others, Ed Parsons (CTO, OS) and Jo Walsh (OpenGeodata) were speaking. Clearly this debate is continuing (click through to their blogs!). At the Journal of Maps we regularly turn away maps (based upon OS data) submitted to us as a direct result of the stringent licensing regulations employed by the OS.

There are clearly signs of change however, with the Research Councils requiring deposition of data from grant holders, the OFT's investigation in to competition with public sector bodies (presumably including the OS), recent comments about Crown Copyright (see Jo's blog) and recent legal rulings on databases and copyright within Europe (re: British Horse Racing Board).

So, applications such as Google Earth have demonstrated the huge demand for geospatial data, whilst there is considerable unrest within government concerning access to both research outputs and publicly funded data collection. There are clearly challenges ahead for both the government and the OS. Exciting times!

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