Yahoo Maps API launch

Along with the launch of their beta maps site, Yahoo! has updated the Yahoo Maps API. This has sparked an interesting discussion among geowankers about what you can actually (legally) do with these APIs in relation to GPS.

Here are the restrictive terms:

Yahoo! Maps

Sensor-Based Location Limit
You may use location data derived from GPS or other location sensing devices in connection with the Yahoo! Maps APIs, provided that such location data is not based on real-time (i.e., less than 6 hours) GPS or any other real-time location sensing device, the GPS or location sensing device that derives the location data cannot automatically (i.e. without human intervention) provide the end user’s location, and any such location data must be uploaded by an end-user (and not you) to the Yahoo! Maps APIs.

Google Maps

In addition, the Service may not be used: (a) for or with real time route guidance (including without limitation, turn-by-turn route guidance and other routing that is enabled through the use of a sensor), or (b) for, or in connection with, any systems or functions for automatic or autonomous control of vehicle behavior.

These terms reflect restrictions from TeleAtlas and NAVTEQ and have the purpose of protecting the in-car navigation market, which despite all the recent buzz about online mapping represents by far a greater source of revenue.

The restrictions prompted the best question I’ve seen on this topic (from Geowanking Digest, Vol 24, Issue 4):

What happens if I used a sextant to get the real-time position data?

Assuming that a sextant is a ‘location sensing device’, I’m guessing that some lawyers would have to get involved.

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