The Open Knowledge Forums are a series of lectures and panel discussions about the ways that "open knowledge" can benefit the public interest. The next one is a week away, in London, and it's about a plan to produce a set of public domain maps of London (London's maps were produced at tax-payer expense, but can't be freely used; rather, you have to pay the ordinance survey thousands of pounds for the privilege; by contrast, US government maps are free and plentiful, and form the basis for thousands and thousand of competing mapping efforts, from Michelin guides to Google Maps).
There are a number of interesting proposals for this, including deploying an army of GPS-wielding geohackers, and buying up Russian satellite photos of London. Check out this squib from last January's NTK:
fraternity have come up with an intriguing proposition. With a
grand's worth of Russian 1-meter resolution satellite pics,
they believe they can stitch together an entirely free,
redistributable vector database of the capital, freed from
the shackles of the Ordnance Survey's restrictive copyrights,
and thus open to all manner of GPL-style repurposing.
Here are the details:
* When: Thurs April 14th 2005, 7-9pm
* Where: Stanhope Centre, Marble Arch, London. [WWW]Directions
* Who can attend: public. Registration is optional but useful so please notify us if you can via email@example.com.
* Speakers: Steve Coast of openstreetmap.org; Roger Longhorn (geodata policy expert); Giles Lane of urbantapestries.net; Jo Walsh of mappinghacks.com