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Discussion Starter #1
I got annoyed with the new Ecotricity map and created my own version.

Click get scrape button to get current Ecotricity website status before clicking on show map button.
On map screen, you get various buttons to display the different types of chargers.
Click on the map marker to bring up the info window. Click on the info window passes you to google maps with directions to that charger.

App tested on Nexus 7, Note 2, S3.
Get app using the dropbox link:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/4ldldfo0kqvfqql/EVChargersMap.apk

Grateful for any beer money donations to my paypal account if you find the app useful. Message me for details.

Next Steps:
Get scrape of Open Charge Map chargers
Get scrape of live status from other providers.
Record charger offline status in permanent process. ie. Enable p2p model where other users client app have the ability to set charger offline status and this info to be shared with other users.

Out of scope:
Location of petrol stations - sorry all you hybrid drivers. No interest in this at all
iOS version - unless someone wants to send me an iphone
 

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This is definitely not the right way to do this. Scraping will just cause bad feeling and may lose us any chance we might have to convince them to give us an official access to their data.

FYI... you do not need to scrape from OCM... the API is public and open... just use the API!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
@Hoa Tu this is good advice :)
Yep, was planning to use the API for Open Charge Map. Just need to eyeball it so I can work out a data schema for all the data sources.

I'm actually more interested in sorting out the on/offline status data permanancy feature and enabling the p2p sharing of charger status as that would be the most useful tool.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
This is definitely not the right way to do this. Scraping will just cause bad feeling and may lose us any chance we might have to convince them to give us an official access to their data.
You might want to have a word with all the price aggregator and comparison websites if you believe screen scraping is illegal...
 

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You might want to have a word with all the price aggregator and comparison websites if you believe screen scraping is illegal...
Price comparison websites generally use feeds from the sellers rather than screen scraping.
 

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Screen scraping is always the fall back solution if an API isn't available. Scraping isn't illegal and preventing people from doing it (using code) is normally seen as aggressive.
 

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Scraping isn't illegal
Thats debatable, and more importantly IMO is the use of original expression ("data") that's clearly covered by copyright;

"Web scraping may be against the terms of use of some websites. The enforceability of these terms is unclear. While outright duplication of original expression will in many cases be illegal"

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_scraping
 

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I am always completely shocked at how so many people just ignore copyright as if they don't think copyright should exists. People ignore it with music, films and online data.

There is a principle here that has nothing to do with screen scraping... and that is the republishing of works such as this kind of data that is protected by copyright. It doesn't matter whether it is acquired by screen scraping or other means, even legal means, if you republish then you are potentially in breach of copyright.

Surely, if you believe that this data is protected by copyright then to scrape it and republish, either in original or aggregate form, is potentially a breach of that copyright.

Whether it is enforcable or not though is a different matter I do agree with that.

However, all that aside, do you not believe that we want to try to not antagonise the Chargemasters, Pod Points etc and don't you think that a better approach would be to try to persuade them to allow us 100% legal and permitted access via an API? Screen scraping won't help us achieve that.
 

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Paul, I completely agree with you about people ignoring copyright, but there is one wrinkle you may not have considered: facts cannot be copyrighted. I think that means scraping the position of charging points might be legal[*] so long as you don't scrape comments about them or descriptive text, but you may, as Kevin has pointed out, have to be prepared to pay lawyers to defend yourself.

[*]Except for Chargemaster points, some of their locations are pure fiction and as such are copyrightable.
 
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Unless anyone here is clear on the law I don't think they can tell @Hoa Tu what is or is not the right or wrong way for him to do this.

I can understand some may want to advise but unless you are directly involved I'd suggest it's best just to suggest your way of doing things and let Hoa (or whoever) make their own, informed decisions. It's one thing to raise a concern or try to help out fellow EV owners, it's another to try and force your views or interpretations upon them.

There doesn't seem to be a clear yes/no answer to the practice of "web scraping" and many UK based articles seem to imply it's perfectly legit and ethical, others the opposite. If you want to support this and use the app, great, if you want to object (politely) and decline, that's also great.

Personally I would approach the networks first, or develop the app then approach them, but others are free to make their own call on that, I can't endorse it or say it shouldn't be done as there appears to be no grounds to say yay or nay, unlike things like street-racing or speeding, which is a clear "nay".
 

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No one is trying to force any views on anyone and I don't like your suggestion that we are tbh. I am entitled to voice my opinion and that is all I am doing. Why do people have to make out that I am forcing my views on others just because I am prepared to argue the point? DOH!

I am not sure how anyone can force anyone to do anything on a forum but if I have strong views I will vice then even if people don't like them our agree.

I don't agree with people using screen scraping to steal data in this way and I will continue to fight against it.
 

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I've been asked by another forum member to remove this thread, I think that's rather forcing the point. I don't feel that would be appropriate, and due to the course this thread has taken I'm explaining in an open way where the situation and my views are on this particular app/topic.

As a victim of copyright theft myself I can understand concerns, but "fighting" on the forum is not welcome in any way, shape or form, but open and honest discussion and debate is. As suggested elsewhere I'd recommend a different, off-topic thread if people wish to debate the ethics of screen-scraping further.

p.s. @Paul_Churchley there are many people in this topic and I'm speaking to all of those involved and watching from the sidelines, don't take it personally as it's not. :)
 

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I haven't taken it personally but as I am the only one arguing against screen scraping here then I can only be the target of your comments :)

I am bowing out of this discussion as clearly I will just become annoying to everyone else.

Enjoy your screen scraping.
 

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We already have a real world example of what happens when people use charging station data without permission;

In September 2011 the charging app PlugSurfing took data from the EV-Network website and redistributed it without the permission of the website owner or network members. This data included private details such as home addresses and even access codes for locks on home charging stations. The story was widely covered by the EV press including Green Car Reports;

Security Breach: iPhone App Releases Private Data of Electric Car Owners

Following the publication of this story I was contacted by a US law firm who were investigating the potential for a class action against Apple for personal injury. I was not interested in pursuing this but it reminded me how important data licensing is and the risks involved if you ignore it.

In the US my business gets sued every few years and we have an attorney on retainer which to-date has ensured that we have never lost a case. It's also clear that the UK is becoming much more litigious and if you have any doubts then have a private conversation with ZCW about the threats they received following the withdrawal from the Home Charging Grant scheme, or even ask yourself what might be going on behind the scenes regarding this ongoing story;

Industry Attempting To Stop DIY EVSE

If you are scraping data or in any other way ignoring data licenses then I think you are being extremely naive... if someone can make money out of your actions then they will because unfortunately, that's human nature. IMO the solution is to create open data with a strong legal foundation and then use it (i.e. don't keep reinventing the wheel!).

@Paul this is an important topic that should not be removed IMO but possibly moved to it's own thread :)
 

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Now, why can't Ecotricity's map be as straightforward as that?

Excellent job.
 

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I get 'there was a problem parsing this package' on both my Samsung S4 and note 10.1 2014. Both are running 4.4.2 . I've tried downloading multiple times, any ideas?
 
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