Tracks on Google Maps
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I have a request but I'm first going to introduce myself. I'm a Kiwi, grew up in Wellington and did tramps in the Tararuas and Tongariro, but a few others as well. I left NZ a few years ago and now find myself in Switzerland working for Google on Google Maps. (Amusingly my dad worked for Lands & Survey so perhaps I've got maps in the blood?)
Anyway, I noticed that our maps don't have a lot of the NZ tracks - we didn't even have all the Great Walks.
I've been working my way through them in the last few weeks, getting them onto our maps, or correcting the ones we had. I'm not expecting people to use them in the hills but I thought they're a useful planning tool and it's a good thing for tourists to see these tracks.
The big challenge for me is that I can only work with the satellite imagery - because the GPX tracks on most sites are restricted by copyright or license terms. So if it's an alpine trail it's pretty easy, but tracks through bush are hard to trace.
The tracks I've worked through are Milford, Waikaremoana, Tongariro, Able Tasman, Heaphy, Kepler, Routeburn and Rakiura. I'd be really interested in any feedback you've got or suggestions of what trails I should do next.
Can you use GPX if people grant you the necessary permission? Several people here create and keep them. My only concern with mine (apart from maybe not being significant enough tracks and locations) is that I often don't stick to official tracks, and sometimes not to any tracks.
Also, have you tried the Department of Conservation and Land Information New Zealand? Both have detailed track information which they might be willing to release under the terms you need, although DoC in particular may be keen to ensure you don't map tracks which it doesn't consider "official".
I know a guy from LINZ who was collecting GPX data from trampers for the same reasons. He's on long term leave presently but I could ask him for a contact.
Hi - thanks for responding. If you send me your GPX trace (to drinckes at google dot com), then I can use that. Ideally I'd have a couple, and decent aerial imagery, so where you divert from the official track I should be able to work it out.
I haven't yet tried DoC and LINZ - I have seen the nzwalksinfo site that leads through to a data set from DoC but I'd need to run the licensing requirements past the lawyercats and there's a good chance it'd be no go. If you do have a contact at DoC or LINZ that'd be super.
I think that inclusion of the key tourist maps would truly benefit visitors. We locals know where things are, and are looking for the more obscure routes, but the big tracks such as the Great Walks would both help visitors orient themselves and guide them toward the safer back country journeys.
I am happy to add in a Creative Commons flag for GPX files and I can probably drop this in in the next day or so. Does Creative Commons work for you? If it does, we can add a note on the home page asking people to mark their files for you.
If you look at DOC files do note that their track data is not 100% reliable in many cases.
Thanks for the great maps tool!
Hi Doug. I'll send you a direct message about the contacts.
[Gah, I just had to delete my whole comment and re-post after I realised I'd mis-read what Matthew said and that he wasn't planning to re-assign everyone's copyright for already-uploaded stuff.] :)
Ha! No just add in the option so that people can use it if they wish.
Their license does have some requirements and I think it's a sticking point.
As far as I can tell, most of the CC licenses require attribution. This is a problem for all maps outfits because there's only so much space on the map and if you fill it with attribution for all the data sources, there's no room left.
However they do have a CC0 license - "no rights reserved" - that I think should work. I'll check and get back to you.
That would be good because it allows anyone (us, OSM, and anyone else) to use it and the more good maps there are, the better off everyone is.
I have added licensing options for everything excluding shared data (tracks etc). You can also choose CC0. This is a good choice if you want to contribute to projects where crediting is a technical issue, such as mapping.
Note that CC0 is irrevocable. Technically you can change the license, but rights once waived cannot be reasserted.
And, to be clear, this doesn't affect the licensing of any existing content. You have to change the setting yourself.
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