I'll just hop onto this post and point out that "The Register" has  
already openly requested this. No idea if anything's being done about  
it though.


On 5 Aug 2008, at 10:13, Sjors Provoost wrote:

> Hi everyone (legal and dev),
> Now that the Google Street view imagery is growing pretty rapidly, I
> wonder if we could ask Google for permission to use the imagery to
> improve the OpenStreetMap data. I know they do not allow us to use
> their areal images, but part of the reason for that is that Google
> doesn't really own those. As far as I know, Google does own all the
> StreetView pictures.
> Things they could be useful for (for the dev people to talk about):
> * fetch street names from the signs
> * find mail boxes
> * estimate road quality
> * get the exact width of the road (since we 'know' the camera  
> settings)
> * get the exact coordinates of features: if we know where the camera
> is, what direction it is looking at and typical size of a feature, we
> know exactly where it is. Gets even better with triangulation.
> In fact, you can pretty much semi automatically construct a very
> accurate map with these images if you only have the coordinates,
> orientation and camera settings.
> Now there could be different levels of access and different ways to
> approach it if unlimited usage is out of the question (for the legal
> people to talk about).
> * we could use images with no map overlay and only the coordinate of  
> the camera.
> * we could fetch (semi) random images. We would use the existing
> openstreetmap data to figure out where the picture was taken.
> * other restrictions?
> That would guarantee that we are not using their map data.
> Now I am guessing that I am not the only one who thinks you can
> reconstruct a very detailed map from these images, so Google might
> already be doing this. If so, they may not like it if we do it first
> or better. On the other hand, they might like a bit of competition to
> keep 'm sharp and speed things up. So it never hurts to ask.
> Sjors
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