Get ready to be followed and spied upon for creating a free map.
Superintendent Brett Lovegrove Head of Counter Terrorism for the City of London Police at the “Project Griffin Conference” in Edinburgh, talked about “hostile reconnaissance” to help spot potential targets:
“This means noticing people who suddenly start appearing at a café and perhaps draw maps of the surrounding area.
Understandably, this is bad news, as we love going to cafes and making maps! Here’s a photo of us at a Starbucks during Leeds OpenStreetMap mapping weekend:
image copyright kevin whitworth
Kyle Gordon from Openstreetmap has penned an open email in response to Lovegrove’s advice.
We are in danger of being arrested and unfairly held for a 4 weeks (possibly 6 or 7…) under anti-terrorism laws, just by doing our hobby
Why would a terrorist even NEED to draw a map? Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and even the OS now offer free maps that they can print.
One could ask the same thing about OpenStreetMap, it is the most common question asked!
The coverage isn’t complete – Google, for example, does not have anything for the Isle of Man.
Sure, if a terrorist wants a road map for directions, they are adequate, but there’s no mapping of handy footpaths, schools, telephone boxes, bus stops, cafes to conspire in, e.t.c. Google earth & areal photographs however, can have a lot of information. A detailed O.S. paper map is another thing though, that’s what I would get. Ban the OS for supporting terrorists! 😉
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