Organised editing guidelines

OpenStreetMap is powered by its community. While originally supported by individuals, the continuing growth and popularity of OSM have also spawned organised mapping efforts by companies employing mapping teams and unpaid groups like school classes that are directed to work on OSM. 

Organised mapping efforts are an integral part of today’s OSM contribution landscape and, when done well, help make OSM better and more widely used. 

The OSM Foundation has created the Organised Editing Guidelines that summarise expectations, consensus and established conventions based on discussions with the community, members of the OSMF advisory board and humanitarian mapping efforts. Their goal is to provide a framework to both organised mapping initiatives and the communities to encourage good organised mapping. They are not meant to apply to community activities like mapping parties between friends or doing a presentation on OSM at a local club. If you’re not sure whether you should apply them, contact the local community for advice.

The Organised Editing Guidelines can be found here: 
https://wiki.osmfoundation.org/wiki/Organised_Editing_Guidelines

The guidelines have been developed thanks to volunteers of the OSMF Data Working Group, with various rounds of feedback from the wider community, and have been approved by the Board of Directors. Unofficial translations are found here: https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Organised_Editing_Guidelines 
You can add your translation there, or contact the Communication Working Group at communication@osmfoundation.org

Sometimes edits made as part of an organised exercise can be problematic, or their accuracy/quality may be disputed by others in the community. As with other disputes, the Foundation’s Data Working Group will respond to organised edits that have gone wrong. While they will intervene for edits that are problematic, not following the guidelines per se is not treated an offense. The overall goal of the guidelines is to provide a framework for ‘sizeable, substantial’ activities: “We wanted something that doesn’t scare casual events off while letting us regulate a geography class gone berserk or a misguided volunteer mapathon.”

Look for the monkey

We – the State of the Map working group and the local team of Heidelberg –  are already working on SotM 2019. In December we launched the website

https://2019.stateofthemap.org/

The local team prepared a wonderful logo and an appropriate conference motto “Bridging the Map” which not only applies to the basics of OSM community but also to our host city Heidelberg:

State of the Map 2019 logo by Michael Auer
Right next to the old bridge in Heidelberg there lives a curious little statue – a bronze monkey. In its hand, it holds a mirror to remind anyone crossing the bridge to look back from where they came from and remember who they are. For the 2019 SotM in Heidelberg we want to take the role of that little monkey and remind everyone that no matter where we are going and what we are doing with OSM, we should never forget that we all come from the same origin: a little map that anyone can modify and use. Whether you are a hobby mapper, a scientific researcher, a humanitarian, an NGO, a government agency, a small business or a global company — we want to bridge the gap between us, or better yet, we want to Bridge the Map.

Our estimated timeline for 2019 is

15 Feb – Call for Scholars
28 Feb – Call for Abstracts (general and academic)
30 Mar – Deadline of Call for Scholars
24 Apr – Deadline of Call for Abstracts
16 May – Start Early Bird ticket sale
20 Jun – Program Announcement
04 Jul – Switch to regular ticket prices
21-23 Sep – State of the Map in Heidelberg/Germany

Open open open

Apart from the daily work of conference preparation, we have spent considerable efforts in order to use more FOSS tools. We started by moving our meetings from Hangout to Mumble. We use HOT’s Mumble server which already serves the OSMF board and other OSMF working groups. So it was already proven that Mumble is smart and works on all platforms.Our next step was much more challenging. We moved our email communication from Google Mail to the OpenStreetMap mailing list server. We couldn’t move our domain yet as there were too many constraints for a rigorous cut. So we decided to keep the Google account with the stateofthemap.org MX until everything is sorted out. At the moment the mail address “team@stateofthemap.org” is still valid, but it is forwarded to sotm@openstreetmap.org.
Tom – thank you so much! – has set up a number of private mailing lists for all our needs:

sotm@openstreetmap.org
program-sotm@openstreetmap.org
academic-sotm@openstreetmap.org
scholar-sotm@openstreetmap.org
sponsor-sotm@openstreetmap.org

All these lists are private. Only members of the SotM working group or the appropriate teams are able to read the emails addressed to these lists. For example progam-sotm@openstreetmap.org is read by the program committee and used for all internal communication. At the same time everybody (from outside) can write to this email address send their questions to the program committee using this email address.

Our next step will concern the submission form for the conference contributions – the “Call for Abstracts”. We will move from Google forms to Pretalx, which is Open Source software. It is already used by FOSSGIS (the German local chapter). So we know about advantages and limitations.

We still have some proprietary tools in use, and switching from a proprietary to an Open Source tool takes additional work – not only for us but also for the operations working group. In the past few months we could spend some time on this, but during the hot phase of SotM preparation there will not be enough capacity. Also, the Open Source tools are sometimes less comfortable than the proprietary equivalent, and it needs a lot of communication to persuade all the affected people to make this additional effort. The State of the Map working group supports the idea of Open Source software, and we think this goal is worth the extra effort (even if the path is sometimes rocky).

State of the Map working group
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Academic Track at SotM 2019 – Let’s get started!

SotM 2019 logo, by Michael Auer, on a round table © CC-BY-SA 4.0 OSMF CWG

Following the successful initiation of the Academic Track at State of the Map 2018 in Milan [1], this Track will be included again in the program of State of the Map 2019, to be held in Heidelberg on September 21-23, 2019.

The main purpose of the Academic Track is to bring together and foster interactions between the OpenStreetMap community at large (contributors, developers, users, etc.) and the academic/scientific community of researchers from all over the world.

A designated Leading Team would be in charge on the organization of the Academic Track, co-chaired by Marco Minghini (on behalf of the OSMF  State of the Map Working Group) and Yair Grinberger (on behalf of the  Heidelberg local team). We hereby issue a call for applications,  inviting all interested individuals to apply to join the Leading Team.  This team will be in charge of:

  • writing and publishing the call for abstracts/papers for State of the Map 2019
  • designing and managing the review process of the submitted  abstracts, deciding which ones to accept for oral presentation or poster  presentation
  • defining the Academic Track schedule at State of the Map 2019, by  working in close contact with the Programme Selection Committee
  • planning and managing possible publication outputs, e.g. conference proceedings or a Special Issue in a scientific journal

In agreement with the OSMF State of the Map Working Group and the local team, it was decided that the Academic Track Leading Team will be composed by Marco and Yair plus 3 additional people that would be selected through this open call. Thus, we invite applications for researchers or academics to be part of the Academic Track Leading Team. The call is open to everyone interested. Applications shall be made exclusively by sending an e-mail to the OSM science mailing list science@openstreetmap.org (this requires registering for the list at https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/science), and filling the following template:

Name and Surname 
Please enter your name and surname.

Affiliation
Please enter your (current) full affiliation.

Academic experience, in particular on OpenStreetMap
Please enter a short description of your main academic interests and  contributions, especially related to OpenStreetMap. A full list of  OpenStreetMap-related publications (or a link to it) is appreciated.

Editorial experience
Please enter a short description of your editorial experience, e.g.  as a Member of the Editorial Board of scientific journals, Guest-Editors  of Special Issues, reviewer for scientific journals. Place the focus on  OpenStreetMap, when relevant.

Participation in State of the Map 2019
Despite it is not required that you are attending State of the Map  2019, please inform us whether you plan to attend (if selected as a  member of the Academic Track Leading Team).

Only applications submitted according to this procedure and only self-nominations will be considered.

The deadline for applications is January 3, 2019.

Applications will be assessed by the OSMF State of the Map Working  Group and the Heidelberg local team. The three available seats of the  Academic Track Leading Team will be assigned based on the candidate’s personal merit and according to the overall goal of forming a diverse and Interdisciplinary Team. In absence of candidates who are meeting the expectations, the OSMF State of the Map Working Group and the  Heidelberg local team reserve the right to select less than three people, or nominate additional persons by invitation.

Best regards,
Yair and Marco – on behalf of the OSMF State of the Map Working Group and the State of the Map 2019 Heidelberg local team.

[1] See the call for abstracts for 2018 and the program of the Academic Track on Sunday, 29 July, room S1.3 (https://2018.stateofthemap.org/program)

RFQ: GDPR-related changes to the Rails API and CGIMap

RFQ © CC-BY-SA 4.0 OSMF Communication Working Group

The European data protection regulations (GDPR) require that a number of API calls which are currently accessible to the public be modified so that they are either only accessible to logged-in users, or produce reduced output when the user is not logged in.

The list of API calls need changing has been prepared here:
https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/GDPR/Affected_Services

OSMF is looking for someone to prepare a pull request for acceptance against the current “openstreetmap-website” code that will implement these changes.

We are looking for someone willing and able to implement these changes for us to (a) the Rails API and (b) the C++ CGIMap binary. Both tasks can be performed by different people.

We would very much like to work with someone who has experience with OSM and ideally also with the affected software components. We would expect the work to be of a standard acceptable to the respective software maintainers, and especially we would expect the necessary tests to be written.

We are willing to pay for the work to be done. If you are willing and able to do this work for us, please reply and tell us:

  • your experience with OSM and the Rails API/CGIMap
  • how long it would take until you could deliver
  • what kind of payment you would ask for.

Please get in touch by November 15. Update 20th December: the call is still open and we welcome expressions of interest.

Introducing the Belgium Local Chapter

Signing the Local Chapter agreement, during State of the Map 2018 in Milan. © CC-BY-SA 4.0 OSMF Communication Working Group

If you have followed the State of the Map news, you will know that OpenStreetMap Belgium has become the newest Local Chapter of the OpenStreetMap Foundation!

Introducing them, in their own words:

“OpenStreetMap Belgium started as a tiny group of mappers doing meetups. Over the years more and more people started showing up and with the increasing usage and visibility of OpenStreetMap it was time to start organizing ourselves better. The invitation from Open Knowledge Belgium to join them as a working group, giving us the structure we needed without all the overhead, came at the perfect time. From then until now we have been actively supporting OpenStreetMap by co-organizing FOSS4G Belgium, the Open Belgium yearly conference, meetups, mapathons and many other OSM related events. This all escalated a bit with the organizing of SotM in 2016, which was a great boost for our community. We are very happy to be able to join the OSMF as a local chapter and we hope we can have continued positive impact on the OpenStreetMap project both on a local level and internationally.

The OpenStreetMap Belgium chapter is for outreach. www.osm.be was built with this in mind. We offer free tiles for Belgium to help with the switch to OSM. We promote open source by doing projects with the Open Summer of Code, for example building a mapping tool that shows local government that their data was successfully integrated into OSM. We are also a “single point of contact” for people outside the community, making it easier for them to communicate with the project. At the same time, being an official voice helps to get the project be taken more seriously. As part of the wider OpenStreetMap movement, we try to support international friends in other countries – directly or through Missing Maps and related projects.”

We welcome them aboard!

Are you interested in establishing a Local Chapter? You might want to check the OSMF website and join the Local Chapters mailing list.

Play a role in shaping OpenStreetMap

This year, OpenStreetMap reached the milestone of 1 million map contributors. Did you hear about the amazing sessions and everything interesting happening at the State of the Map conferences happening across the globe? This community is growing — what will make this journey better? YOU being a part of it.

If you are a map enthusiast, working hard to keep OpenStreetMap up-to-date, participate and organise mapping events, love teaching folks the nitty gritty of OpenStreetMap, share and write diaries or blogs about OpenStreetMap — if you aren’t a member already, then you should join up and support the OpenStreetMap Foundation

OSMF Working Groups

We’re running a membership drive from now until mid-November. Sign up now. We are already 800 members worldwide! You can help by liking, retweeting, or spreading the word about the Membership Drive to friends or at local events/conferences.

Some questions that you might have:

Why should I join?

  • Keep OpenStreetMap’s servers running: OpenStreetMap is the world’s biggest user-generated map, free for everyone to use.
  • Support our volunteer working groups: Our Working Groups keep OpenStreetMap safe from vandalism and legal threats, resolve licensing issues, organise conferences, keep our hardware and software up to date, and many other things.
  • Enjoy discounts to OSM events: The annual State of the Map conference offers significantly cheaper prices for OSM Foundation members.
  • Show your support for OpenStreetMap.

What are the things that I could do once I become a member of OSMF?

  • You’ll have an official voice in the governance of the Foundation — the organization which owns and maintains the servers, holds the license, runs the State of the Map, coordinates local chapters.
  • Influence the future direction of the project.
  • Vote in the annual OSM Foundation elections for the board that steers the project.

I’d like to join but there’s currently no suitable money transfer facility for me

A membership fee waiver policy will be implemented soon – stay tuned!

en.osm.town: Announcing a new Mastodon instance for OSM (en)

en.osm.town flyer at State of the Map 2018. Photograph by Rory cc-by-sa 4.0

Mastodon is an open source, federated micro-blogging system, with more than a million users. It is similar to Twitter, but open source and spread across many servers. https://en.osm.town/ is a new instance/server focused on OpenStreetMap (there’s already fr.osm.social for francophone OSMers). Like email, this server (“instance”) talks to other servers, so anyone on the “fediverse” can follow and interact with anyone on this server & vice versa. The “local timeline” will only show toots (= tweets) from everyone on the server, so will be full of OSM related stuff. The server was set-up by community member Rory, who we’d like to thank 🙂

Let’s use something open, and under our control! No adverts, no analytics, no “algorithmic” promoted tweets. 500 characters. Let’s connect on mapstodon! Follow us on https://en.osm.town/@openstreetmap

Other official OSM announcement channels:

New Tile Render Server in the USA

We have a new Tile Render server in the United States! The hardware has been kindly provided by OpenStreetMap US and hosted by the Oregon State University Open Source Lab. Big thanks to them, and to Ian Dees who coordinated this response to the Operation Working Group’s request.

Our distributed tile serving infrastructure brings the “standard” map tiles to your browser wherever you are in the world in a reasonably fast fashion, resulting in a pleasant map viewing experience on the OpenStreetMap.org front page, and with new map edits reflected a few minutes after they are made. It should always be noted that this is far from the only way of using our maps, and we encourage developers to take our data, render it, and otherwise make it available to users in a new ways. However, we do like the front page map to work well. We have a set of “rendering” servers doing the hard work of creating and refreshing raster map tiles, and a larger set of caching servers. With the introduction of a new rendering server in the United States (the first outside of Europe) tiles will load faster. The server itself is fast, and for users in the United States we expect to remove about 100 milliseconds of latency for people viewing the map.

Network latency for requests to the new tile server from various locations in the USA

Details of this new server (which we’ve named “Pyrene”) can be found on the hardware.openstreetmap.org site.

We’re still building our tile serving infrastructure, with a lot of help from people and organisations donating resources. If you are in a position to help with this sort of thing, a caching server – or better yet a rendering server – in India would make a huge performance improvement for people there. Learn more about the kind of servers we need at our wiki page and contact the Operations Working Group.

OSM condemns recent anti-semitic vandalism

Earlier today news surfaced of various online maps displaying an anti-semitic term instead of the label “New York”. Unfortunately we have to confirm that this data originated with our editable map project. This vandalism was detected and fixed within 2 hours, and the vandal was blocked from contributing further to OpenStreetMap.

On behalf of our organisation and community, OpenStreetMap condemns this kind of antisemitic hate speech without hesitation. We are disappointed that our project, which is devoted to sharing knowledge, was turned into a vehicle for the expression of ignorance, and hate. How did it happen?

Part of the “Open” of OpenStreetMap, is being openly editable. It is a wiki-style, crowd sourced, collaboration in which users all around the world can contribute and make edits. As with wikis, like Wikipedia, all changes are published immediately, and we put tools into the hands of our community to monitor each other’s changes and revert vandalism. This “soft security” approach may sound surprising, but over the years we’ve found, as something of a triumph of human nature, that the vast majority of editors want to come together to help build something great, and these massively outnumber the few bad apples. OpenStreetMap is a not-for-profit good cause, and the map data is “owned by” the community. On the whole people tend to have respect for that.

In fact this vandalism happened a month ago, but delayed processing of data updates by some companies downstream, in this case Mapbox, which presents our maps to thousands of apps and websites –means that this vandalism was seen quite widely today. Mapbox has posted their response to the incident here. There is on-going work within the OpenStreetMap community to develop better quality assurance tools, to detect and deal with this sort of issue faster. Mapbox has been spearheading these initiatives both in terms of developing vandalism detection software, and committing staff toward the efforts of monitoring and reverting bad edits. Unfortunately human error in their processing pipeline led to this incident in OSM-based maps that Mapbox provides to companies like Snapchat.

If you see vandalism on our map, you can help. Read more about vandalism here. We will continue to work with our community and data consumers to make our map even stronger.

Happy Birthday OpenStreetMap

Cake in Fukushima, Japan © CC-BY-SA 3.0  Ikiya and family

OpenStreetMap is 14 today! We’ve been partying in various locations around the world: Hyderbad, New Delhi, Moscow, Kigoma, Rapperswil, London, Washington DC, Denver, and Seattle.

Celebrations in London

Celebrations in Dhaka, Bangladesh, after a mapathon

If you missed the birthday party, don’t worry. Our community is lively with events happening all the time. You can see some of them listed on the current events list here, or find out more generally what’s happening in your country/city on the wiki.

Cake in Washington DC

The true “Birthday” of OpenStreetMap is lost in the sands of time. Observance of the anniversary of the creation of OpenStreetMap is held on or about the anniversary of the registration of the OpenStreetMap.org domain name (9th August). This year 12th August seemed like a suitable Sunday!

With over a million people making OpenStreetMap edits, and around 5000 people making edits on any particular day, it’s hard to imagine a time when all of this hadn’t even got started yet, But that time was 14 years ago, in the summer of 2004. We’ve come a long way since then. Wherever you are in the world, join us in saying “Happy Birthday OpenStreetMap!”