If we have a public web site, and use OSM as the background, is any data also open source?

The use case I'm looking at is a site to report pot holes, where we'd like to have a map showing a location and allow the member of the public to click on the actual location of the pot hole. This would then be added to the back office application that handles road repairs

Would this data be "open"?, i.e. we would have to publish it for anyone else to use?


I don't think you have an obligation to publish your pothole data back to OSM, if that's what you mean.

I also don't think you're under an obligation to make the pothole data open, though I think local residents would appreciate it if you did. Besides, if users can't see prior reports, you might get lots of duplicates reporting the same pothole again and again.

Presumably your site has a terms and conditions page? In my "in-no-way-am-I-a-lawyer" opinion, you ought to add something there that states all submissions become your property and you are not obliged to share that data (also that you're not obliged to immediately fix the pothole).

Do you have a legal person at your organization you can consult and get to draft something? It's the safest option if there's any doubt!

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  • Yes, it was the concern that we'd have to push the pothole data back to OSM. Certainly do want people to see existing potholes, so as to reduce duplicate reporting – SteveC Jun 13 '16 at 18:32

Please see the OSM Legal FAQ, especially paragraph 3d aka "If I use your data together with someone else's data, do I have to apply your license to their data too?". In the end it depends on whether you are creating a collective database or a derivative database. If in doubt, contact a lawyer.

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