A one-two-three on licensing your content to Google

Tuesday, December 16, 2008 at 11:40 AM

[Cross-posted with the Content Central Blog]

With Google Maps and Google Earth, we strive to provide our users with the most comprehensive, accurate and compelling representation of the world. We believe that integrating the geospatial data produced by governments and other public sector organizations is vital to achieving these goals. The positive effects of governments using Google Maps and Earth to share their geospatial data are many, but this post isn't for our standard sales pitch. Rather, my purpose is to address a specific question that we hear over and over from organizations around the world: "What's the process for licensing our geospatial data to Google?"

Glad you asked.  There are three steps to licensing--or granting Google the legal rights--to publish your organization's geospatial data on our services:

Step 1: Tell us about your organization and the data you have to share.

The best way to tell us about you and your content is to fill out our contact form. The more details you provide the better, so that we can determine if your content is a fit with our services.

Step 2: Sign our content license agreement.

If your content is a fit, we will send you our content license agreement that you and your organization's legal authority can review and agree to accept.  It's with this agreement that you affirm that your organization has the necessary rights to provide the content to Google.  The agreement also defines what Google will and won't do with your content.

For governments, we offer a "government-friendly" version of this content license agreement that is tailored to the unique legal status of public sector organizations.  In some countries, we're able to provide this agreement in a "click-to-accept" format.  We send you an invitation by email to review this online document and you can just click to agree to the terms.  For other countries, we email you a conventional paper agreement.  In all cases, we strive to keep the process simple for your organization and Google, and to eliminate the need for negotiations over legal terms, so that we can quickly get to work integrating your geospatial data on our services.

Step 3: Provide the content to Google.

Once you've clicked or signed to accept the content license agreement, we will work with you to get your content transferred to us. Our preferred method for transferring geospatial data is to download the datasets from your FTP/HTTP(S) server.  Alternatively, you can send your data on DVD, or, for larger datasets, we can arrange to ship you a hard drive that you can send back to us at your convenience.

That's the whole process.  And when done right, it can happen very fast!

If you're interested in hearing more about how to add your geospatial data to Google Maps and Earth, listen to a recent Very Spatial podcast in which a couple members of our Content Partnerships team discuss Google's efforts to partner with governments around the world.