Permission for using WiGLE tiles for contributing to OpenStreetMap

Suggestions for WiGLE/JiGLE/DiGLE

3 posts • Page 1 of 1
Dear admins,

I'm an OpenStreetMap map editor and have also contributed to WiGLE in the past. It is amazing how thorough coverage the WiGLE volunteers have managed to achieve since then.

I would like to offer a novel use case for your efforts that could potentially serve the community. Several software that we use to edit OpenStreetMap (mostly JOSM, iD and Vespucci) support adding imagery tile layers as a background.

For example, multiple parties have donated tiles that were filmed from satellites and airplanes providing us with global mapping coverage of various recency (Mapbox, Maxar, ESRI, Bing and some others). We also use high resolution aerial photographs made from kites or drones as a background to trace buildings, playgrounds or fences. We can use tiles donated by Strava that depicts paths that their hikers and cyclists follow to infer and/or add new footways and cycle paths.

I've discovered after looking at my own network collection logs that it is actually possible to contribute to OpenStreetMap based on that data:

1. If I find a wifi network near a restaurant with a matching name on OpenStreetMap, I can specify internet_access:ssid=RestaurantFree. This could serve both customers and a potential automated lifecycle monitoring solution in the future.

2. If I find a wifi network that has a name indicating a potential venue of public interest, but I can not find a matching object on OpenStreetMap nearby, I can start to investigate around that area either by doing web searches, conducting a survey or consulting photos to validate the existence of such an object.

If you could perhaps allow usage of WiGLE tiles in OpenStreetMap editor software as a background for the purpose of contributing to OpenStreetMap that would be a great service to the free community. All data in OpenStreetMap is licensed under ODbL 1.0.

On our side, it would be as simple as adding your TMS (I already have the URL), so no extra work should be necessary from your part:
https://josm.openstreetmap.de/wiki/Maps#Listofsources

Best regards
certainly not opposed to it - we're big fans of OSM!

a few questions, since we're not in-the-know on the terminology:
1. We're certainly usable as a "signal" - but it's important to know that our designation of "free" or "pay net" is pretty arbitrary. Is that ok?
2. is our EULA compatible with existing "TMS?" with existing licenses?
3. we're pretty much "as-is" data- we're more permissive about contributions than OSM is. We actually approached OSM a while back about allowing people to dual-submit; the link and pitch for OSM on our upload dialog exists because OSM wants folks to create a stronger "identity" than we do (for perfectly reasonable purposes). Most of this data comes from anonymous strangers on the internet. Is that ok?

Cheers,

-ark
certainly not opposed to it - we're big fans of OSM!

a few questions, since we're not in-the-know on the terminology:
1. We're certainly usable as a "signal" - but it's important to know that our designation of "free" or "pay net" is pretty arbitrary. Is that ok?
2. is our EULA compatible with existing "TMS?" with existing licenses?
3. we're pretty much "as-is" data- we're more permissive about contributions than OSM is. We actually approached OSM a while back about allowing people to dual-submit; the link and pitch for OSM on our upload dialog exists because OSM wants folks to create a stronger "identity" than we do (for perfectly reasonable purposes). Most of this data comes from anonymous strangers on the internet. Is that ok?

Cheers,

-ark
Forgive me that I forgot to introduce some of the terminology that we use.

1: Understood. At present, we would not be in need of using the free vs. pay designation. Many restaurants and hotels encrypt their networks and they hand out the password on request. We generally do not map the password, but we can still map these network names as well, as long as they constitute as being of public interest. So we're essentially considering to use any kind of network as a signal.

3: Yes, you raise valid points. As I understand, you refer to discussing submission of GPX traces to OSM in the past and that some of the data submitted by anonymous users may not be that accurate. Even in cases when we do OSM data imports from sources considered reliable (for example location and opening hours of local post offices), we have many safeguards in place and spend weeks at a time to semi-automatically and manually filter and merge the data. We had to conclude that even government data usually contains a few percent of errors, but it is still worth processing due to completeness.

I agree that WiGLE data should not be imported due to this. However, human mappers may still learn valuable knowledge by observing the WiGLE slippy map and gain insight that they could use as a hint for conducting mapping activities based on other, reliable sources. As a proof of concept, I've managed to add dozens of new points of public interest to OSM just by observing my own wifi traces after a quick tour in a village (imagine that even florists commonly have wifi!).

Also, if we had a WiGLE overlay, despite the uncertainty, it would also be possible to infer road geometry indirectly by observing how network observation density changes or curves in an area. This could become especially useful on sections where our existing aerial imagery may be hazy or blocked out by foliage.

2: So let me clarify that for our mapping activities, we don't necessarily need raw or aggregated WiGLE data. It could potentially help to render tiles more customized for mapping in the future (for example, by scattering points, adding random displacement, showing on lower zoom levels, hiding BSSID, filtering default network names, including a cross-verification user count next to the names, a year mentioned after the name or a separate layer with recent networks etc), but the currently available rendered png (or jpeg) tiles are good enough for now.

Indeed, we would not be allowed to import all or part of the WiGLE database protected by copyright/database rights. Also, the OSM community itself opposes the indiscriminate addition of every wireless network - a network is only eligible for adding if it is associated with a point of public interest that exists on the ground (e.g., a library, restaurant, café, shop or a community center). Also, the position in my experience can be up to a block away due to the great range of WiFi.

Hence we shall not duplicate either part or all of the WiGLE database neither manually, nor automatically (so we shall not be doing an activity analogous to so called aerial imagery tracing). Instead, the WiGLE visual layer shall be made available only as a cross reference to get a "hint" of where certain remote or on-site mapping activities should be concentrated.

Such activities must always use and note a reliable primary source in the changeset metadata as well (like Mapillary, a venue's own website or surveying), but the label "WiGLE.net" could also be voluntarily mentioned in the metadata for the purpose of mapper cross-verification similarly to how we reference the identifier of kite ortophotography being used.

Basically, we could potentially already conduct mapping by getting a hint from visiting the online slippy map on https://wigle.net/. However, it would be a great convenience if we could use the underlying tile map service (TMS) that this slippymap uses in an OpenStreetMap editor like JOSM, iD or Vespucci as a visual imagery layer so things could fit on our screen more easily and we didn't need to switch between windows so often. As we don't plan to reproduce or distribute your rendered TMS tiles, you are free to use any license on them as long as OSM contributors are granted access for the duration of their mapping activities.

We could make use of the URL seen in the browser's network inspector, or you may decide to give us a separate, customized URL so you could better track or control access in the future (although I think the editors already send out their respective user agent string). You may decide to revoke or adjust our access any time in the future either way if you encounter an adverse effect. Although, as there aren't a lot of active OSM mappers, and only a small subset of them would be using WiFi to gain insights during mapping, I don't think that should be a burden compared to the hundreds of thousands of stumblers that you have around here.

Do reach out if you need further clarification before your decision.

Have a nice day!

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