Today is International Volunteer Day. OpenStreetMap is all about volunteers of course. It’s about people getting out there and mapping their neighbourhood. If we have enough people volunteering in this way (just a little of your time, and local knowledge) we’ll have a free map of the world in no time!
But did you know OpenStreetMap is made up entirely of volunteers? Sometimes people assume that OpenStreetMap is a commercial company alongside other map providers, but OpenStreetMap is something different. It’s an internet-based collaborative project. Not only the mappers, but the entire organisation is built and driven by volunteers in their spare time.
The people who develop the website and the map editing software
The people who maintain the servers and keep the database and map view operating smoothly
The people in the working groups of the OpenStreetMap Foundation
The people on the OpenStreetMap Foundation board
We do occasionally discuss the idea of paying people in various roles of the foundation, but as it stands at the moment OpenStreetMap is an entirely volunteer-driven organisation from top to bottom. We’ve got where we are through the hard work and dedication of people who give up their spare time to the project. Hats off to the volunteers of OpenStreetMap, and a very happy International Volunteer Day!