Data Use Policy


Running Reality will always be free and open access. Both the web version and the more powerful desktop app are both free. We believe in making this new kind of digital history available widely, for free, to even the most rural and remote parts of the internet, with easy-to-use tooling, for the benefit of students, teachers, scholars, researchers, and enthusiasts.

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.

Premium lesson plan templates are available for educational use. The lesson plans do not provide any additional data access or data rights -- Running Reality already provides all data and maps for use. The plans provide convenient navigation of the data and maps to help structure a discussion using digital history to achieve educational objectives.

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.

Embedding a Running Reality map is also an option where you can share a live, interactive map that engages your visitors and audience without requiring any content transfer or rights negotiation because all the data continues to be hosted on the Running Reality servers.

Contributed Data

Data access to the raw data is driven by the nature of the submission.

For fully open data, we appreciate the ever increasing amount of fully open raw data available from large organizations such as national and municipal governments, Wikipedia, and Open StreetMap. Data provided to Running Reality under open or share-alike licenses, such as the ODBL, will be honored with derived factoid data made available.

Data submitted to Running Reality adheres to our submission policy where Running Reality requests specific rights to the submitted data to be able to incorporate the data into the world history model and to show that model to visitors. These rights do not change 1) the data rights the submitter retains or 2) the rights of the content creators of a cited work.

Running Reality does not ask for rights to openly redistribute the raw contributed data and we do not currently make all the raw world history model data available for export. Further, the data is very engine-dependent. We are focusing our resources on building out the engine and its data, making user friendly tools to explore history, and continuously editing the world history model data.

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.