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Allow Wikimedia Maps usage on
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Per, please allow Wikimedia Maps to be used on

Link to site:
The specific URLs for the different environments of our application that would use the Welsh-language map are:


Purpose/details about your project: We are aiming for a launch date of 1st of July 2022 for the UK-wide application, which would include the Welsh-language map. If we were able to have access to the Welsh-language map before that for testing, it would be helpful.
Wikimedia Affiliate supporting project: BBC is not an official WMF affiliate but I do believe they are mission-aligned and I @sdkim will make the decision to approve them for being added to the allow-list.

Event Timeline

For whoever picks this up, please reach out and I can provide the expected traffic they have provided.

I don't believe this request meets the criteria in the Maps Terms of Use.

Wikimedia Maps may not be used by third-party services outside of the Wikimedia projects. We may make limited allowances for services that support the Wikimedia projects, such as community tools hosted on Wikimedia Cloud Services.
The following are prohibited on the Wikimedia Maps service:

  1. Use for anything other than supporting the Wikimedia projects (for example, you may build a tool for Wikipedia editors, but you may not use it for an unrelated app or business)

The criteria in are somewhat broader, but this request would still not meet them.

The BBC is not a Wikimedia affiliate, and no information has been provided to show that this use would support the Wikimedia projects. The BBC, with limited exceptions, does not produce freely-licensed material, which strains any claim of them being "mission-aligned".

Ignoring that this proposal contradicts the Maps Terms of Service at time of writing, will support and benefit Wikimedia projects, other than through providing historical references? We can't use the content on-wiki as it doesn't seem to be freely licensed.

The only thing I can see is "mission aligned" is provided free, historical footage, and consequently knowledge - at least in the UK - which I absolutely support. But is it freely licensed? With limited exceptions, no, not as far as I can tell.

It also makes you wonder why a company like the BBC would like to use Wikimedia maps, when they could just as easily set up their own OpenStreetMap instance, or use a commercial maps API like .here, Google Maps or Bing Maps.

Tools such as Wikimedia Maps are designed to help the Wikimedia community. Letting a big company like the BBC use them, especially when they're not fully "mission aligned" sets a dangerous precedent. We do not need to fork out Wikimedia infrastructure to mostly unrelated, for-profit companies that should and most importantly do have the money to use their own infrastructure.

That's why I can't support this, because if I did, as drastic as it sounds, it feels sooner or later we'll end up with a potential scenario where Wikimedia Cloud Services and other related tools and infrastructure, originally designed exclusively to help the community, operated like a commercial service that only happens to have a non-profit behind it - not to mention how having media organisations funding the foundation and its infrastructure could negatively effect neutrality.

For those commenting with concerns about 'slippery slope' and 'mission alignment' - I should clarify some context here:

  • The Maps API used to be available for anyone to use for any purpose, but was restricted when it was found that commercial users had been overwhelming it, to the detriment of its usability by all. A 'tragedy of the commons' situation.
  • This is a specific BBC project, not the whole BBC, of a temporary website featuring geolocated archival footage, for a forthcoming anniversary of the broadcaster. Moreover the need is quite specific: Welsh language map tiles. [FYI @Jason.nlw ].
  • The developers of the site approached the relevant Wikimedia Affiliate (WM-UK) to ask advice/help (having read the 'external usage policy). They couldn't, but forwarded the request to me - in Wikimedia Enterprise - the project specifically for third party [especially high-volume & commercial] re-users.
  • Enterprise, however, does not have an equivalent to the Maps API. And so I forwarded the request to the people running the current API with a request for this temporary and scope-limited exception.

As the BBC is a Reliable Source (in the wikipedia policy sense of the phrase), non-commercial, the use is time-limited and of low-resource requirements, and the intended use is access to archival multimedia content for Welsh language... I feel that very much is mission-aligned and not a precedent for future independent commercial exceptions. Hopefully in the future the Enterprise API suite will also include an equivalent to the Maps API and we can therefore respond to high-volume commercial demands and mission-aligned usage for free, without needing to resort to one-off exceptions like this request.

Note - this is not a request to use maps per se - that can be obtained through other services (as mentioned by others above). This is a request to provide Welsh language labels for the places on those maps - something which our Welsh speaking community have proudly been building. Personally, I feel we should be pleased that a team within the BBC see our free-knowledge in Welsh as a reliable and useful service for their educational website, and hope that this could prove to be the start of an ongoing relationship with the Welsh Wikimedia community and the BBC, supported by the Chapter and the existing relationship with the National Library of Wales.

I am generally in favor of making our maps as broadly usable as possible, regardless of who is using it, just like how we allow and encourage reuse of article content, images, etc. If we feel the new maps architecture and staffing is better that we can begin to allow external reuse when people ask, that sounds great.

I would think it makes sense to start with organizations like the OpenStreetMap wiki that are (IMO) unambiguously and universally accepted as mission-aligned and have asked in the past: T261694#6652951 and used to utilize this before it was closed off.

I'm not sure either that or this request is doable without an amendment to the Maps TOU though.

The compelling argument is that they would like to use Welsh language maps - so, given there is no alternative and it would increase accessibility for Welsh users of the website, I'm not opposed given these clarified circumstances.

Dzahn set Due Date to Jul 1 2021, 7:00 AM.

I can't speak to the technical implications of this task however in terms of mission alignment I would just like to add a little background to our Wikimedia work in Wales. In the last year we have been working with Welsh Government funding to improve the provision of Welsh language labels for places in order to improve Welsh language mapping provisions. Welsh Government now mention Wikipedia and Wikidata explicitly in their strategy for protecting the Welsh language, as a vehicle for helping improve access to the Welsh language for all. The use proposed by the BBC is exactly the kind of outcome we are looking to see from sharing Welsh language data openly on Wikidata.

BBC Wales has worked directly with the National Library and Wikimedia UK on several small scale projects including releasing Welsh language content openly for use on Welsh Wicipedia and hosting a 'Welsh Women' editathon. I've also been invited to do dozens of interviews about the value of Wikipedia on Welsh TV and Radio. For me, the very fact that the BBC have recognised the value of Wikimedia as one of the best sources of Welsh language data is hugely important in terms of building closer ties in the future.

Dzahn triaged this task as High priority.Dec 22 2021, 7:14 PM
Dzahn lowered the priority of this task from High to Medium.

While these are interesting speculations about the TOU, IANAL, and from a policy perspective, this is exactly aligned with the intentions of the policy change.

This fills a gap in knowledge equity by proving Welsh labels, isn't a significant expansion or use of maps tiles and is being used for educational purposes by a non-commercial entity. We're not supporting map tiles to the BBC forever, nor would we. This is a narrow use and one for which these kinds of exemptions were specifically conceived.

From the Product Owner perspective this is approved and should move to implementation.

When implemented, could the appropriate attribution text also be provided/clarified too, please. So that the BBC team can implement that from the start.

MSantos claimed this task.

Change 772462 had a related patch set uploaded (by MSantos; author: MSantos):

[operations/puppet@production] maps: allow bbcrewind to access maps public urls

Change 772462 merged by CDanis:

[operations/puppet@production] maps: allow bbcrewind to access maps public urls

JMinor added a subscriber: MSantos.

Looks like were set. Just need to close the loop with the BBC folks. Will resolve when confirmed.

Thank you!

Awkwardly, I went to to get an idea of whether they're running MediaWiki and generally how they plan to host Kartotherian-backed maps, but I'm served a page explaining that it's firewalled to just the UK. Maybe they can make an exception to let our user base view the site once we serve their maps ;-)

Awkwardly, I went to to get an idea of whether they're running MediaWiki and generally how they plan to host Kartotherian-backed maps, but I'm served a page explaining that it's firewalled to just the UK. Maybe they can make an exception to let our user base view the site once we serve their maps ;-)

To be clear - we do not serve their maps - this request is to serve the welsh language labels, only. Equally, this specific maps project is not yet live (it will launch in association with a forthcoming anniversary of BBC activities in a few months' time).

The BBC representative has now confirmed to me that they thank us for access to these welsh-language names for the map tiles on this service - that they found it very helpful, and have now transitioned to a longer-term solution with all their required languages. Therefore they are no longer using this API and have said we are welcome to remove the special exception that was put in place for them.