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Am I right in saying using OCM data would prevent charging for the app (or any commercial activity) in which case it's hard to justify the resources to make a good app for free?
 

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Some of the data on OCM is copyright to their owners. This is one of the big issues with OCM and NCR. The owners of the data... the likes of Chargemaster, CYC, the PiPs, Pod-Point, Ecotricity etc... all consider their data to be commercially valuable and so they won't give anyone access to it.

OCM has some negotiated verbal agreements (so I am told) to load data from certain sources as one-offs, but the data has not been supplied to OCM under an open licence. This makes sharing the data to everyone else difficult unless we all comply with the licence of the owner. OCM cannot get data from a source under a particular licence and then license it out under an open licence... that is not allowed as OCM is not the original licence holder. It is the originator of the data that holds the licence and it is they that says who can do what with their data... not OCM.

So, a lot of the data on OCM is open source particularly the data supplied by the public. If you enter a charge point into OCM then you do so on the understanding your data has an open licence. However, data that has been supplied by a data feed is still copyright to the original owner and that is one of the big issues with OCM.

OCM, or anyone, cannot just get hold of any data somehow (data feed, programmatically using screen-scraping etc) and use the data without the permission of the original data owner. It is copyright. You need permission in writing. OCM does not have those permissions as far as I know. I have asked and I am told the permissions are verbal and that is not worth the paper they are written on as far as copyright is concerned as there is no trail of permission.

However, it is worth noting that if a contributor, member of the public, confirms the data online for a particular charge point then that is then data provided by the public and so can be licensed as open and this is what is happening. As people update OCM and confirm the data supplied by the various suppliers so it is changed to being open data.

There is no current update feeds from any data source AFAIK.

So, in summary then... The data on OCM is of mixed licensing. The open data we can all use, even for commercial purposes, under an open licence subject to the compliance of that licence. The non-open data you would need permissions to use, even privately, from their respective license holders. Good luck with that!

The bulk of the data is currently open on OCM and I suggest that we use that and all contribute towards keeping it up to date. If there is data there that is copyright then check that the data is correct, correct it if it isn't (which is often the case from these old data feeds) and it then gives us more open data.

In my opinion, this licensing issue is the one big problem with OCM, or any database, right now. Unfortunately, Chris Cook, the lead development on OCM is not particularly bothered about licenses and finds it all a bit of a pain (his words, not mine!). So it will be down to every individual use to get the appropriate permissions for any data on OCM that is not open as OCM does not have the necessary licences and permissions to re-license to us.

Having said that... this issue of licensing will affect NCR, OCM and any other product that tries to offer a charge point database service/app etc. The owners of the data are showing no signs of being willing to put in place regular data feeds to ensure the data is accurate. In my opinion, without that regular feed from the data owners the data is always going to be out of data and inaccurate and I question the value of any project, such as OCM, without those feeds in place. However, OCM is the best we have right now as far as I can see.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That's useful if OCM provide an open feed of only user submitted data, so third parties could build on that, otherwise it's too risky. Be interesting to see/know if they do that?
 

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I have no problem in changing the OCM license and financing the cleaning of the data to ensure it's open and freely available for both commercial and non-commercial uses.

However, like so many projects in the EV space, the community is not yet large enough to support a project like OCM and therefore it's better to wait. In the future enough EV drivers will care about this issue to work together on an open solution.

@Paul_Churchley to be fair to Chris Cook he's invested thousands of hours in OCM and I'm not surprised he doesn't want to undertake yet another major piece of work without community support.
 

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I accept Chris's obvious commitment but I see this as important and I have offered to do the database work myself to take the load from him. I am a qualified and experienced DBA (both Microsoft and Apache/Linux) and could easily undertake this work myself but he is reluctant to accept any major help it seems.

I am a massive admirer of Chris. What he has done with OCM is superb but I do get frustrated when I am able to help (I have the skills and the time) but not allowed to do so. Sorry. however, I do respect that it is his baby (so to speak) and so he must do what he is most happy with.
 

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Just for my understanding...

Why would any charger operator want their unit / location data not to be public? If they are to be a revenue stream the units need to be known about to be used.

Also, how did the data get into OCM in the first place? Not sure I understand how an 'Open' thing can be filled with information that shouldn't be used.

How can users or operators tell the difference between user submitted points and data taken from their own data source / site and them submitted?
 

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I can help with that...

Open Charge Map is the name of the database and the intention is that it contains open data but at the moment it doesn't just contain open data. Initially, when OCM started up, it managed to get some data feeds from various network operators, PiPs etc. The data was supplied to go onto OCM but it was not licensed to OCM under an open data licence. This meant that OCM could use it but it couldn't be passed onto others to use with those people getting permission from the original data provider.

That covered a lot of the original data on OCM for the UK. However, we can add our own stations and when we do that the data we provide is given to OCM under an open data licence. This means that other people can use that open data for their own uses under the terms of the open data licence.

So, OCM has two types of data... data that we have entered which is genuinely open data and can be used by other systems/apps etc under the open licence... and data that has been supplied to OCM through a data feed from a commercial network or Plugged in Places area and that is copyright to the original data provider and while OCM is permitted to use it as it has permission it is not permissible for others to use it without getting specific permission from the data copyright holder.

This is muddied rather unnecessarily IMO because the data is all mixed up in the same database. I have made my opinions known to Chris who runs it but he doesn't have much time for licences and so doesn't consider this at all important. I am an experienced database administrator and designer and I would separate out the public data from the non-public so that the entire database can be open licensed and as data becomes open it can just be moved from from the non-public to the public. Chris is not interested in doing this. Sorry.

Now I don't want this to seem like I am having a go at him. I am not. He looks after it and develops it without much help and so actually it is his baby to do what he likes with but if he wants OCM to be used more then this licensing issue much be resolved. He knows this already as does Kevin :)

It does seem like it is all fluff about nothing because most people don't think that they need to comply with copyright on the internet either but without copyright professional software developers, photographers, music artists etc just wouldn't get paid so it is important even though it seems like something to ignore.

There is a data source field on the database record to show the data source so you should be able to determine which locations are copyright and which are open data. If you wish to observe the copyright and stay on the legal side of the line then I recommend that you contact the data copyright holders before using their data in your own products.
 

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Hmm. Ok. Well, if that's the case it seems like the most sensible option would be to wipe the lot and start again.

Copyright is designed to protect the rights and interest of the 'owner'. I'm not sure how you can copyright the location of a publicly accessible object that the owner wants you to use. By holding that data and passing it to others you aren't acting against the owner?

In fact, I know the exact location of CM unit 917. I know it's number (it's on the front). But if I tell you am I infringing copyright?
 

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Hmm. Ok. Well, if that's the case it seems like the most sensible option would be to wipe the lot and start again.[/quote}
Why do that? You have good and valid data. Hold on to it and let it continue to accumulate. If you need a server tohost it then you are welcome to use mine free of charge :)

Copyright is designed to protect the rights and interest of the 'owner'. I'm not sure how you can copyright the location of a publicly accessible object that the owner wants you to use. By holding that data and passing it to others you aren't acting against the owner?
It isn't the location that is copyright... it is the recording of the information. The recorded data has to have been recorded by someone. Therefore, someone must have done something to get out and record the position. If that was the network operator then if we use there recorded data then we must have there permission via a licence.

However, even though they have recorded the position, if someone else goes and records the position seperately then they have the copyright to their data.

A good example is Google Maps. Wuld you say it is permitted to use Google Maps to locate the position of a chargestation and then use that position in our apps? The answer is almost certainly no. The position has been derived from data collected and stored at great expense by Google. If we determine a position from a Google Map then our position is a "derived work". It is created as a result of their efforts. That is why OCM uses Open Street Map in its apps.

Now, if I go to a station and using my phone GPS I record that position and update OCM then I have replaced the copyright data with my own which I can license as open data. Now the charge station position is no longer copyright to the charging network.

I can hear you all groaning and saying what a load of twoddle! Sorry, but that is the law of copyright. We either accept it and comply or don't and accept the consequences. The consequences in our case is upsetting and alienating the charging networks as they might consider that they have a claim to license the data. Would they sue? Probably not at first IMO but if it did actually threaten their business then they might.

All of the above is just my understanding of things as they stand. I am no expert but I have investigated this to a degree as I wanted to import the OCM charging station location data into OPen Street Map as a data feed. It soom because clear this could not legally happen as much of the OCM data is copyright and the OCM - OSM project went on hold until such time that the OCM data complies with the OSM Open Data Licence requirements.

In fact, I know the exact location of CM unit 917. I know it's number (it's on the front). But if I tell you am I infringing copyright?
No, because it is you that determined the position... not some charging network operator, Google, Yahoo or anyone else :)
 

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What you say *kind of* makes sense on one hand and makes no sense at all on another!

The fact that data is stored in OCM with no origi attribution along with the fact that OCM presents it's self as open suggests to me that the data must be deleted?

If I pull a pile of data from OCM and use it, it would be me breaking the copyright, not OCM?

Also, if there were consequences, and an operator tried to prosecute, on what grounds would it be possible? Re-publicising already public data? Even if you attributed it to their data source?
 

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What you say *kind of* makes sense on one hand and makes no sense at all on another!
I actually agree with that!

In my opinion, it is misleading to have any copyright data on OCM and if I were the one running it would delete the copyright data completely.

If I pull a pile of data from OCM and use it, it would be me breaking the copyright, not OCM?
In the first place it would be you as you would be using copyright data without the copyright holder's permission. However, depending on how that data was aquired by OCM and how it was licensed to them then they could also be in breach.

I do not know the facts about what licenses exist between the various data sources and OCM but I have been told by Chris who runs OCM that it does not have written agreements in place and that OCM has verbal permission to use the data. If that is so then the legality of the copyright data on OCM is at least suspect in my opinion. I have made this very point to Chris so this is nothing new, yet the licensing and copyright status of the data on OCM remains cloudy.

Also, if there were consequences, and an operator tried to prosecute, on what grounds would it be possible? Re-publicising already public data? Even if you attributed it to their data source?
Your mistake here is the one most people make when it comes to copyright...

Just because something is accessable by the public it doesn't make it "public data". I can license you to publish something publically. Anyone in the public can then see it and read it. But that is still copyright to the original owner. This is the case with books. Just because I publish in a book so everyone can read it it still is protected by copyright and there can be no re-publishing without permission from the owner of the copyright.

OCM might or might not have a valid license but unless they have a license themselves from the original copyright holder that gives them the right to re-license to others then that is where the rights to use stops.

The Open Data Licenses gives a license to re-license under certain terms and conditions. Without that right to re-license to others OCM can publish the data themselves (if they have a license to do so!) but others cannot use the data as OCM wouldn't have the license to re-license.

It sounds messy but the principles are actually pretty simple and straightforward.
 

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A lot has changed in the four years since we started OCM... my plan was always to create data that is truly 'open' but even in the early days projects like Open Street Map got things wrong and had to re-license.

OCM has been waiting for the number of EV drivers to grow to the point where we have a pool of people who care about open charging data. If we have reached that point then I will resource a new database that contains only open data while maintaining compatibility with the tools that OCM and third parties have created :)

Chris and I have discussed splitting the database (www.openchargedatabase.org) and maps/tools (www.openchargemap.org) to minimise future confusion.
 

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Chris and I have discussed splitting the database (www.openchargedatabase.org) and maps/tools (www.openchargemap.org) to minimise future confusion.
That would make a lot of sense, it's always a grey area and there will always be concerns due to past behaviours of "open" systems that then shut-out or monetise user submitted data.

Ideally for something like that a truly open and free, user submitted database would be great, plus the more "closed" (but perhaps open-source to a degree, but no need) mapping interface.

Something akin perhaps to Android and Google's own ranges in operation, so anyone could build apps and resources, make money from them (to pay back investment in time and development) but OCM is the self-sustained "gold standard" interface/app that even perhaps has style-guides and best practice advice for others.

Just thinking outloud, and sorry Pluggit, this isn't really on your topic. Maybe we should start another thread about OCM and their data, maybe that's over to you @Kevin Sharpe?
 

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I have problems with data quality in OCM, the imported data is often inaccurate and if you edit it to fix this the data reverts back to the original wrong values. This and the broken licensing means that it may be time to start a new truly open charger map.
 

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I have problems with data quality in OCM, the imported data is often inaccurate and if you edit it to fix this the data reverts back to the original wrong values. This and the broken licensing means that it may be time to start a new truly open charger map.
Much of the imported data is pretty poor and I think everyone knows that. There was some discussion with Chris that he wanted to introduce a "quality score"... a field in the database that was an indication of how much confidence we could have in the data. For example... imported data might start with a low score then as people amend and correct it so its score would improve. Apps could then just filter the data depending on the degree of "uncertainty" that they were prepared to take.

I quite liked this idea but it is a complicated technique and I wasn't sure how it might work. I haven't heard if Chris has taken this further or not.

As for corrections... I have done hundreds of corrections and without my changes being reverted. Perhaps I can help with that. I am an approved editor/reviewer for the UK and can review and approve database changes that others make. If you could make a change to an entry and let me know what you have done I will see if it reviews and sticks. If not then that would be a bug.

Don't forget that any changes people make will not necessarily appear immediately as they often need review and approval and that is done by people like me. If we don't go in and approve the changes they stay in "Awaiting Approval" status and won't appear on the database.

Make a change, let me know, I will investigate :)
 

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I have problems with data quality in OCM, the imported data is often inaccurate and if you edit it to fix this the data reverts back to the original wrong values.
This is simply a function of manpower... the more people we have involved in the project the more effort we can expend on QA and the better the data :)
 

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Hi fellas

This I all really really interesting and I am going to be cheeky enough to make my own suggestions:

Really it is in everyone's interest that the data which we all depend upon is both easily accessible and accurate. The people best positioned to provide this information are the owners and it really should not be beyond the wit of man to have some kind of API / SOAP interface which would make their delivery of this data easy. Delivering this data then to the user / car could be simply done in the way in which Nissan (and I assume others) - that of an RSS feed based upon car's geographic location.

In short, the owners need to all play nice. We also as a community need to help them to do this.

The problem with ALL social network solutions of this nature is that there must be an incentive for commercial providers to provide the information / service. I am always acutely aware that when I charge up at a Nissan dealer for free, someone is taking a financial hit for that and I do what I can to make amends - I am always careful to Tweet a big "Thank you", including the Nissan dealer's details.

If in addition to tracking the locations of Charge Points an app provided some or all of the following that would be wonderful:

1. The ability to upload information about a charger if found (pretty much what is there already), including a photo etc for others - also having a means of identifying the owner

2. A mechanism to be able to "Check In" to a charger rather like a FourSquare model. I would envisage that this would provide a number of benefits:

- It could allow for the app to track who is where (and allow EV drivers therefore to possibly meet up)
- It could allow for an "in use" marker to be applied. Even if this were a simple counter of 30 mins, it would be better than nowt :)
- It could allow for the tracking of "charger tarts" across multiple providers.
- When a user checked in I would foresee that the app could generate a tweet something like "I'm charging up my @CarMake with @provider. Some tagline such as "driven by sunshine" for example.

3. The app would need to provide a back-channel to the owners so that people could report rapidly failures / ICEing issues, damage, vandalism and so on.

4. If we managed to have some kind of "badge" system then there could be rankings or promotions offered perhaps
 
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