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As I've noted a number of times before, one of the most exciting aspects of the world of openness is the way in which ideas are not only shared within a given domain - amongst free software hackers, for example - but across completely different domains too. Thus the GNU project inspired first Nupedia, and then Wikipedia. Wikipedia, in its turn, inspired OpenStreetMap. And now OpenStreetMap has given rise to OpenSeaMap:

OpenSeaMap is an open source, worldwide project to create a free nautical chart. There is a great need for freely accessible maps for navigation purposes, so in 2009, OpenSeaMap came into life. The goal of OpenSeaMap is to record interesting and useful nautical information for the sailor which is then incorporated into a free map of the world. This includes beacons, buoys and other navigation aids as well as port information, repair shops and chandlerys. OpenSeaMap is a subproject of OpenStreetMap and uses its database.

It's still in the early stages; this is what's it's done so far - and what it hopes to achieve soon:

A completely finished chart [of the will probably never happen, because new things are always being discovered that can be mapped. However, over the next two months, we hope to render the entire Baltic Sea. Two months after that, we hope to have the whole of the North Sea rendered. The remaining oceans are planned to follow at similar intervals. However, it still wouldn't be complete because we then need to add all the navigation aids. These will be collected by community members and then entered into the OpenStreetMap database. You are cordially invited to join in and help! We need every little contribution.

Here's the licence:

All the data in the OpenStreetMap database, including OpenSeaMap data, is under the ODbL. The chart tiles are under the "Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 2.0" license. In short, the license stipulates that any use of OSM data is permissible, even for commercial purposes, however OpenStreetMap must be attributed and the resulting data must be released under the same license.

Sounds like OpenSeaMap has a great future ahead of it. I can't wait to see what it gives rise to in its turn.

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