Data Use Policy

Non-Commercial Use, Including Education

Use of Running Reality data for non-commercial, not-for-mass-distribution, purposes is generally acceptable and encouraged. This includes use for homework assignments, class projects, and class reports, including both at the K-12 and college levels. Screenshots and individual images may be used for such individual-use purposes without the need to contact the Running Reality organization first. Reference to Running Reality as a source of information should be included in such instances in a manner akin to references to all other website based reference material. Citations to Running Reality material should include both the month and year on which the material was referenced, because Running Reality maps are subject to continuous updates and improvements.

Because Running Reality includes citations attached to individual factoids, we strongly recommend users who reference our data to also investigate the primary source material we have used by following such citations. If referencing a single factoid, it is often best to also cite the original source material, in addition to just Running Reality alone. When referencing aggregate material, such as a Running Reality world map on a particular day that is not specifically found in other primary source material, then it is important to cite Running Reality for this aggregation of the large number of individual factoids used to assemble such a map. Note that in some instances, a Running Reality factoid’s only citation is to “common knowledge”, meaning that the same factoid information can be found in 3 or more independent sources, such as the modern boundary of France or the present day street layout of New York City. Running Reality maps assembled largely from such common knowledge should still be cited per standard practice, in part due to less obvious aggregation of data that may be occurring, such as the background image tiles.

Commercial Use

Running Reality does not permit the commercial use, or use for mass-distribution (e.g., publication on a website) of large quantities of Running Reality raw digital data. Running Reality digital data, such as nation boundaries and other geospatial display information has been digitally watermarked to prevent such copying and re-use of the entire Running Reality world history dataset. The method of watermarking is not disclosed, but does not harm the general accuracy of the data for typical users.

Copying of Running Reality maps for commercial or mass-distribution purposes is allowed by the same general guidelines for map reproduction via current U.S. copyright law: that is a visual and indirect tracing of any displayed map is acceptable, and such tracing is considered a unique act of re-creation that is separate from the act of digital copying of the original numerical data. Watermarking of Running Reality digital data is performed to allow us to distinguish a posteriori between these two distinct methods of reproduction.

Please contact the Running Reality organization for limited use of Running Reality data for mass-distribution purposes, such as inclusion on Wikipedia articles. While we are generally open to such use, provided proper citation is given, electronic notification is requested so that the Running Reality team may verify that information such as a map segment screenshot being considered for use is reasonably correct at the time of evaluation.

Disclaimer on Accuracy

All Running Reality maps are inaccurate to some degree. As noted above, citations to Running Reality material should include both the month and year on which the material was referenced, because Running Reality maps are subject to continuous updates and improvements. It is not Running Reality’s policy to flag individual maps or factoids with their assessed current level of accuracy. Instead, maps are provided as-is for user consideration, and users are encouraged to seek additional references, such as those found in Running Reality factoid citations, to assess the accuracy of displayed information for themselves on a case-by-case basis.

In general, areas with low-accuracy may sometimes be notable due to the following characteristics:

  1. A single factoid being applied over the lifetime of an object (such as a single nation border for the duration of that nation, or a single location for a person or ship)
  2. The complete absence of information (such as a missing nation, a missing battle, or a nation with no population factoid.)
  3. A time in history known for rapid change over a short period of time.
  4. Modern era fine-scale geospatial data in complex locations that is poorly matched to neighboring data (such as the fine scale border between Maine and New Brunswick, or the fine-scale borders of 1700’s era German city states.).
These are guidelines only, and not meant to represent a complete list of issues.

Users are encouraged to report detected inaccuracies, in order to speed up the process of map improvement over time.