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Thread: Legal Maps For Use In Video?

  1. #1

    Question Legal Maps For Use In Video?

    I need to be able to use a US map and a world map in my film, also be ableto legally edit it for use in this manner (ex: highlighting a state) any ideas?I know Wiki sometimes has images that are licensed for free use to the public.


    Why am I an editor? ...because I'm a bad filmer!
    ☮ ♫ ☾ ☆ ☼ ☯ ~ Live Long & Prosper

  2. #2

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    I can't help you in relation to U.S. maps but I can give you an insight into U.K. map usage that may help you know where to look.

    Here in the U.K "The Ordnance Survey" owns all the data in relation to surveying and mapping. They offer many usage deals. If writing a guide book it is quite easy to calculate the costs as they have a per inch replication charge per copy sold. They also offer a massively discounted rate if you reproduce their maps with a completely different look/colour scheme that they must approve.

    Many non O.S. map companies actually make maps in this way and a percentage of their sales goes to the O.S.

    When it comes to video it gets a bit more complicated, they told me the only way they could price it is if I submitted the final film for evaluation. I brought up the issue with budgeting and pre-production planning. As a result of a long back and forward email conversation I eventually got this reply

    There is no royalty charge for using Ordnance Survey maps in background or incidental shots where no map detail can be studied, for example when used as a scenic prop and is not featured in close up. There are no time limits for this type of use and a licence is not required for this use.

    If however close ups are used and you are able to adhere to the following conditions, again you will not need to pay a royalty:

    include Ordnance Survey in the credits
    mention Ordnance Survey by name in the commentary
    show the Ordnance Survey name or logo on screen for at least part of the programme; or
    focus briefly on the cover of the Ordnance Survey map you are using

    You need to let us know how you will acknowledge us when you inform us that you want to use our mapping in your film.

    If you are unable to offer any on screen acknowledgement you will need to take out a media licence for the DVD, the cost of this is 168.00 plus VAT.

    Please let me know how you wish to proceed.
    They also made it clear that digital maps are for personal use only but print maps to order of any section unfolded and supplied rolled up in a tube so as no creases appear on screen.

    Perhaps this information will help you in the right direction of where to look in the U.S.

    David.

  3. #3

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    Well, when I say map I mean an accurate illustration not satellite imagery.


    Why am I an editor? ...because I'm a bad filmer!
    ☮ ♫ ☾ ☆ ☼ ☯ ~ Live Long & Prosper

  4. #4

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    Isn't that what a map is? Where did satellite imagery come in to it? If you want to draw a map from your head, then draw a map. if you want to take published maps or take data from them and reproduce a scale representation then the advice I gave is solid. Do a bit of work and find out how it relates to you.

    David.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for posting that, David. this is one of the most informative posts I've ever seen here.
    For clarification, are these all "or" (ie we only need to adhere to one of those conditions) or do we need to adhere to conditions 1 and 2, plus either 3 or 4?
    I also understand that this was guidance given personally to you and therefore the OS may apply different criteria to the rest of us.

    On the few occasions I've used maps, I've tended to avoid the issue by "drawing" my own.
    Tim

  6. #6

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    As worded in that reply from the OS it was unclear Tim, they must have realised this as the email was soon followed by another pointing out that just any one of these conditions must be met. Sorry I should have said that.

    I'm pretty sure it's the same for all, but you also need to let them know what section of map you are using and how you are acknowledging them for each film or map used.

    Even if you draw your own maps based on data from other maps there may be legal issues. The OS surveyed the land and own the data, they charge a lot less for redrawn maps that use their data. But they can only claim so much, when you move away from keeping to scale and details they can't really claim to own your knowledge of geographic locations.

    When I first looked into this I considered finding out if using a different companies maps would be cheaper. But it turned out that all the different companies pay the OS for the usage of their data. In turn if I want to use a third party companies maps I need to pay them and they need to pay the OS making it more expensive than working directly with the OS.

    I don't know how google maps works in this regard, I have a feeling they use their own data. So redrawing their maps could be an alternative, but the legal issues/costs would need looked into. For my purpose they don't have enough detail in contours so it wasn't worth checking out for me.

    David.

  7. #7
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    Thanks David.

    In the meantime, this question rather intrigued me so I went and asked over on the IAC (Film & Video Institute, the closest we come to a "governing body" for amateurs in the UK). One of the guys there posted this:

    Take a look at OpenStreetMap which offers maps under a Creative Commons licence variant.

    Worldwide and fee (so long as you give attribution in the credits).
    Tim

  8. #8

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    Excellent. It's very limited in it's data and what's missing rules it out for me. But it's always good to know, especially as sometimes too much detail can look bad on screen.

    While I was talking with the O.S. and before they could confirm that their digital maps couldn't be used for anything other than personal use I was experimenting. This idea could be used with those maps.

    If you need a larger area to pan and zoom around on your video do a number of screen captures of all the sections you need. Then crop the GUI type graphics out and save all the maps as jpegs, tiff's etc.

    Then Photoshop finds it very easy to stitch them all together with the "Automate" - "Photomerge" tools. Because there's no lens distortion in a screen capture from a graphic or any other lens imperfections it's very fast and very accurate (especially when compared to merging photo's of the paper maps for similar purpose). I had them as one massive image on a plane in C4D with a CGI camera set to a narrow depth of field doing flyovers on the maps. It looked great and the bokeh reduced the amount of detail and allowed the viewers attention to be directed where necessary.

    But they wouldn't let me use them.

    It's kind of mad as if I had more room to set up a rig with a real camera it wouldn't be a problem with their paper maps. But I did also want to composite in CGI elements anyway and the 3d tracking would have been a nightmare and I doubt they'd have agreed to it.

    I got a better solution i the end, I'll soon be actively seeking graphics work again for a while so I'm putting a website together with a section that shows it in the demo reel. I'll post a link over the next few weeks sometime.

    Something else good about those maps is that they're vector based. When the O.S. released their digital maps they just stuck in the old bitmap based maps in their software. I thought that was poor. So even if you can't get the vector graphics from the site, this would make colour adjustments a lot easier (the O.S. wont allow it with theirs anyway), because that colour scheme is just horrible, IMO anyway.

    David.

  9. #9

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    Any Adobe Illustrator experts out there fancy exporting a map as an SVG from Tim's link and seeing if they can get it to open properly. I'm getting message saying "The following items could not be imported properly" - "Clipping will be lost on roundtrip to Tiny". And it opens up real messed up.

    David.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by david walsh View Post
    Excellent. It's very limited in it's data and what's missing rules it out for me.
    It is indeed limited thought I'd venture to suggest too detailed for some purposes.

    Often you wnat to give just a rough idea of a location or a route. For my "Mallorca" film, three years ago, I had to remove the detail as I only wanted a brief glimpse - any more info would have been too much to take in (checkout 0:54 for locations & 2:27 for route example and try to ignore the quality!) http://www.videoforums.co.uk/user-vi...ts-please.html


    What you did with C4D and the digital maps sounds really cool (am I too old to say that?) A great shame OS didn't allow you to use the digitized mapes, however I look forward to seeing the alternative you managed. Don't forget to paste the link.




    [/QUOTE]
    Tim

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