New Paper: Legal Issues in Maps Built on Third Party Base Layers

The topic we are addressing  is not new, but it is helpful to have the legal issues well laid out.

by: Adam Saunders, Teresa Scassa and Tracey P. Lauriault

Legal Issues in Maps Built on Third Party Base Layers

GEOMATICA, 2012, 66(4): 279-290, 10.5623/cig2012-054

Abstract: The recent growth in citizen map-making ability has been brought about in part by the availability of base layers of geospatial information on which maps can be built, as well as software tools that allow geographic information to be represented. However, the legal relationship between the creator of the map and the owner of the base layer has received relatively little attention. In this paper, we consider legal issues regarding volunteered geographic information (VGI) submitted to third-party geographic information systems (GIS). This combination raises issues of copyright, database rights, trademark, and End User License Agreements (EULAS). The paper will consider the IP rights on which the EULAs are founded and the corresponding rights of those who build their own maps onto the base layers; analyze some of the key EULAs in this area, and identify important issues for those who create maps using these base layers.