I don't know whether there's anything which could be done to help these more corporate charities get on board (for instance to make it easy for them to set up and maintain an official database using OSM tooling, on the basis that the data they gather is publicly available and licensed as open data).
Google offer a tempting deal to charities: free mapping, and the chance to get your content hosted on Google Maps. So, for example, Sustrans' cycle routes are now integrated into the Google's UK mapping data.
This seems to appeal particularly to the higher-ups. The developers/GIS team may be more au fait with OSM, but when the marketing director says "We have the choice of getting our routes publicised for free on Google, or... what's this obscure 'street map' site you mentioned?", it's hard to convince them. (I did try to persuade one such charity to switch to OSM-backed mapping, but the answer was "Google is a corporate partner of our charity - we can't be seen to switch away from them".)
It's a great shame especially because, as you say, the tooling available around OSM data is so much more powerful than the Google Maps API could ever be. But I'm not too worried: it'll come in time. With OSM powering more consumer-level sites by the day, it's getting easier to answer the marketing director's question.
There is a de facto prohibition on the blending and derivation using many geo data sets due to licensing restrictions and regulatory requirements, including many government data sets. Even OSM does not have the equivalent of a BSD-like license. In many cases, blending two sets of geo data and doing derivative analytics creates an unresolvable conflict between the individual licensing terms and the requirements of a specific application. Specific to OSM, many popular geo data sets have regulatory restrictions that make them fundamentally incompatible with OSM for many applications where OSM would otherwise be a great data set.
With commercial data set providers, the license is customizable to be appropriate for the regulatory and other requirements of the application. With OSM, you are stuck with an OSM license, which would violate all kinds legal and practical constraints for many use cases. I can say that for many geo applications I've supported, compliance with the OSM licensing would literally be violating the law. Fortunately, commercial data sets are much cheaper than they used to be.
- OSM may be a minor input to a petabyte scale derived database, a large percentage of which may be modified every day. Many popular derivations would be technically and economically implausible to make publicly available.
- Jurisdictional restrictions on where the derived database can reside because of the type of data that was used to construct it. Making it available publicly without compliance mechanisms would break the law.
- Regulatory restrictions on the public usage of an input it is blended with, such as PII data like raw mobile network telemetry. Proper compliance mechanisms are often post-derivation and outside the derived database. Again, making the underlying database available without the compliance mechanisms would be breaking the law.
- OSM is the tail wagging the dog for many of these applications. Trying to make the licensing and compliance of complex applications revolve around OSM's requirements is unjustifiable effort. It is the same reason no one adds a little bit of useful GPL code to a million LoC code base even when it would make sense in the abstract.
This is a long-term problem for OSM in that applications are increasingly about getting intelligent answers out of spatial data systems, which implies the above analytical data models, rather than a map that a human is still required to interpret. Commercial cartographic database providers are usually more than happy to write you a license that conforms with the legal and practical requirements of your analytics application.
I realize that "funding" is an obvious answer, but I'm not real sure what that is supposed to look like. I also don't think the generic answer would convince proponents of the share a like terms (I'm personally ambivalent about share a like, but it's clear that a big chunk of the OSM community values it).
The previous license change was a lesson learned.
Not exactly. The licence can only be changed to a "free and open licence" after a 2/3 vote of active mappers.
I've come to the conclusion that it's not malicious (or even 'Not Invented Here' syndrome), but ignorance and a complete misunderstanding of the FOSS world. It seems that a lot of the people and groups involved come from a corporate background where they had to build and keep everything in house. Whenever I mention not reinventing the wheel, building on others work, collaborating with other groups, or opening up our the data I'm met with mostly blank stares. (I could go on and on about this disconnect and why I think it's happening, but it's not directly relevant to your comment.)
I think the major issue is that non-developers (and even some developers) have no idea how to work with others. It isn't that they don't want to or are refusing to, they fundamentally just don't know how to. The idea of working with more than the fifteen people that are present in the room is mind-boggling, let alone the idea of working with people all around they world they may never meet. On top of that simple issue you have the same concerns you do with any person outside the Open* communities: security, trust, liability, etc. Have you ever seen a layperson look at a software/data license? It's beyond overwhelming, so they all go back to whats safe, even if it's not the right thing for their goals or the community as a whole.
To begin to remedy this I think we have a lot of work ahead of us...starting with making the ideas and principles of Openness more accessible to those outside our community.
TL;DR: I believe that silos are a symptom of being ignorant and/or overwhelmed by the Open-anything world.
I'm particularly bothered by this in the case of MTB Project which works with IMBA, a non-profit, yet doesn't share the data back with the greater world.
If you have never contributed to OSM, the process can be pretty easy:
Go walk/hike/bike the trail so you remember what it looks like, perhaps taking notes and recording a GPS trace of it.
Go to openstreetmap.org, make an account, move the map to the area where the trail starts, click "Edit".
If you recorded a trace, drag it into the editor so it can show it as a reference (hopefully it's a GPX, it might be necessary to convert it).
Using the "line" tool, trace the trail, combining the information from the GPS trace, notes and imagery. Make sure to select the finished trace and mark it as a walking/biking/hiking trail. Then click save.
So there is a lot to do, but none of the individual steps are hugely complicated.
a) For planning routes in advance to then download to your smartphone and follow using the app (as mentioned elsewhere OSM was definitely the best mapping layer to use for this both as a resource and as a mechanism to feed your own updates back in).
b) For creating tracks from the routes you've actually cycled which can then be uploaded to the website for later examination.
c) In addition to b) you can annotate your uploaded track on the website with actual pictures from the journey round. These can be from a number of sources (i use flickr) and it will either time sync or gps sync them to the route so you get a nice one stop for looking at previous trips. This has the added benefit you can just take pictures as your going round to then refer back to when fixing OSM without having to worry about making notes as to where it was etc.
Has anyone else used this app or anything else to do this as i'd be interested if there's any alternative ways.
Example annotated track from Hay Bluff:
(It's also knowing that all of the local MTB trails that I've surveyed / mapped are now properly on Strava.)
That being the case, perhaps I should write the program I was thinking of writing. Even though GPS elevation data is really, truly horrible I think you could probably use statistical techniques to get good data with enough GPS traces. Even routes that are mildly popular can have thousands, or tens of thousands of rides per year. Each one of those rides on Strava has GPX data associated with it. I'm sure it would be more than enough.
Unfortunately, I have about a million other projects on the go :-P
The end goal for this is printable PDF maps, with good data ending up in OSM one of the stepping stones.