On 11.05.2018 17:19, Tim Frey wrote:
> Out of this, we consider, heavily, to “open source” the licensing of the
> user created STAPPZ content for the OSM community. In addition, we also
> consider to open source the backend of STAPPZ and the IOS and Android
> app to make a community project out of it.
I'm going to split this reply into two parts: About the content, and
about the software itself.
As for the content, a lot depends on if you can publish the images under
the terms of an open license.¹ That's a legal question, but probably
also a bit of a social one (i.e. would this be in line with what the
creators expected when they shared their images on your app, or would
they be unpleasantly surprised/unhappy about this).
Assuming the answer is that yes, you can publish them, the next question
is what to do with the images. OSM does not currently have an image
hosting platform, so if we're only talking about contributing the
images, they would need to be donated to a separate platform.
The obvious recipient for such an image donation would be Wikimedia
Commons, as they're the most popular repository for open-licensed media.
Images on Commons can be linked with OpenStreetMap POIs² and are used as
such by some OSM-based maps. Of course, they're also used by Wikipedia
and its sister projects – notably Wikitravel, which is a crowdsourced
travel guide (although much closer to the traditional book format than
A caveat is that such a donation would likely require some manual effort
to filter out lower-quality pictures or duplicates, and to add
meaningful descriptions. Still, assuming the legalities work out, it
seems feasible to donate the images and would be a generous contribution
to the open content ecosystem.
Ok, so let's talk about the app and backend a bit. I'm not sure how
familiar you are with OSM's organizational model, but as a rule we're
very decentralized – even core components of OSM are being developed as
mostly independent Open Source projects. For you, this means that even
if there's community interest, any re-use of your project would probably
still start out with _you_ spearheading its development, re-imagining it
as something you believe fits a need of the OSM community, and trying to
gain mindshare in the OSM contributor and developer community. Of
course, this may be at odds with your goal to focus on other projects.
If this does not discourage you, though, let's consider what needs the
software could serve. I don't have any amazing ideas to offer, but I
could see two basic roles in the OSM ecosystem an image platform might
potentially be able to fill. Broadly speaking:
* Images could be used internally by OSM contributors as a data source
for mapping in addition to sources as aerial imagery and GPS tracks.
* Images could be displayed by user-facing sites and apps alongside OSM
data. (I believe this is what you were getting at with your Google Maps
The former use case is already partially covered by
Mapillary/OpenStreetCam, so the question is if there's enough of a niche
left for another app.
The latter seems more ambitious. As I mentioned before, mappers are
currently using tags like image=* with links to external platforms to
add images to OSM POI. Those links can technically point anywhere,
although Wikimedia Commons currently appears to be the most popular
platform to host the images. Inviting users (including non-mappers) to
easily contribute images to a dedicated, OSM-affiliated platform might
be a worthwhile cause. Not sure how well this fits your platform's
existing social features, though.
¹ Typically one of the open CC licenses: CC0, CC-BY or CC-BY-SA.
² Using http://wiki.osm.org/Key:image
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