Update 11/17/08 9:00 pm: The BBC has chimed in with an excellent summary of the issues at in the battle between the OS and Google. Google apparently called the BBC: to stress that they believe Ordnance Survey has misrepresented its terms and conditions. They say that when we hand over data to Google Maps, they are not claiming ownership of that information, just the right to crawl it and use it for marketing purposes. I’m not sure that will settle the row. Well if that’s the case I wonder then why don’t they just change the TOS?
Why is Britain’s OS and the British mapping community in an uproar over the Google Maps TOS and why should you care?
In this battle of acrimonious acronyms, the Google Maps Terms of Service is being called into question and it highlights significant problems with Google’s Map API TOS that can affect all of us. The conflict also highlights the difficulties that a government agency confronts when it is asked to perform like a business.
Regardless, it certainly is affecting the future of all API mashups in England particularly those in the public sector that use the British Government’s Ordnance Survey (OS) data.
For example, it means the police are breaking the law (according to the OS) for their Google Map based crime maps, because they use OS boundaries.
Should a for profit entity be allowed to profit from government data for free?
Should a government agency restrict use of public data?
Continue reading Will Mashups be threatened by Google’s Map API TOS?