OpenStreetMap contributor Gregory Marler moved to Durham to begin a university degree, but the OpenStreetMap project does not have a lot of data for Durham. Marler has therefore hit upon the idea that he would not only contribute Durham data to the project, but only rely on free and open mapping data to get around the city:
So an idea was born in my head. I would go and live in Durham and map as much as one man can to get it looking better. But let’s make things more interesting, let’s introduce the rule that I can’t use any map that is copyrighted in a restrictive way. I will only use maps that I can legally draw over, rub out, and display wherever I like. As far as I know right now this only adds up to maps people doodle for me (they automatically own the copyright permission have to let me use it) and maps created using OSM data (the main map, information freeway, cyclemap, and maybe others). And while I do all that, I’ll blog about it so you can now what it’s like creating a map without any exisiting local knowledge or map data.
He’s writing about it on his blog, Living with Dragons. I’m an agnostic when it comes to free vs. commercial mapping data (I don’t care whether the cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice), but I admire the tenacity of people who undertake projects like this. More here; thanks to Crafty for the tip.