Monthly Archives: January 2021

Community survey on 2020 OSM Foundation board decisions and current topics

Would you like to provide feedback on decisions that the OSM Foundation board made in 2020 and on current topics? The board has prepared a survey and is asking for your input in order to set priorities.

You can see a copy of the questions in English here.

The survey is available in 18 languages so far. Image by D. Kazazi, CC-BY-SA 3.0. Official OSM logo by Ken Vermette, CC-BY-SA 3.0 & trademarks apply.


Thanks to volunteer translators, the survey is available in eighteen languages so far:

Helping with translations

If you would like to provide a translation to a language not on the list, or to suggest a correction in one of the translations, please email

If you would like to help with translations of non-English answers to English, future surveys or blogposts, please send an email to with subject: Helping with translations in [language].


  • You need to provide an email address (to receive a token) and solve an equation in order to access the survey.
  • There are 18 questions, most are multiple-choice and mandatory.
  • There is an optional section with demographic questions.
  • There are several sections. You cannot go back to the previous section but you can resume later.
  • Please note that pages with background information linked from the survey are in English.
    • If the pages are on the OSM wiki, you are welcome to translate them.
    • If they are on the OSMF website and you would like to provide translations, please email the Communication Working Group at with subject: Translating OSMF pages in [language].


There is discussion about the survey on the “talk” mailing list, where you are welcome to provide feedback. You can register to the talk mailing list here. All past messages of the list are available here.


  • Read the LimeSurvey privacy policy.
  • The answers can be accessed by current board members and the administrative assistant and will be processed by the board.
  • The email addresses and names (if provided) of participants won’t be published after the survey ends.


The general results will be published after the survey ends. Past surveys are listed here.

Deadline for participation: 14 February 2021.

Even if you don’t participate, it would be appreciated if you spread the word about the survey.

Thank you in advance 🙂

The OpenStreetMap Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation, formed to support the OpenStreetMap Project. It is dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free geospatial data for anyone to use and share. The OpenStreetMap Foundation owns and maintains the infrastructure of the OpenStreetMap project, is financially supported by membership fees and donations, and organises the annual, international State of the Map conference. It has no full-time employees and it is supporting the OpenStreetMap project through the work of our volunteer Working Groups. Please consider becoming a member of the Foundation.

How Joe Biden’s Ancestors helped OpenStreetMap, and OpenStreetMap helps our descendants

The Blewitt clan of Ireland is proud that one of their kin, Joe Biden, was elected the next President of the United States. His Irish roots are well known on both sides of the Atlantic. Before Biden’s great-great-great-grandfather Edward Blewitt moved his family to America to escape the Irish Famine, Edward and his brother James were surveyors whose work shaped Irish maps and municipalities, supported livelihoods, and has even been used in OpenStreetMap today.

Edward and James worked on two foundational Irish mapping projects in the 1830s–40s, the Ordnance Survey and the Griffith’s Valuation. In 1838, James corrected an error in the Ordnance survey’s calculation system that had been missed by many of the brightest mathematical minds of the day in Ireland and Britain. In the late 1840s, Edward managed public works programs that built roads, improved farming through drainage, and gave work to people suffering through the Potato Famine.

Image of the First Edition Six Inch to the Mile maps
First Edition Six Inch to the Mile maps

Their surveying work has been valuable even 150 years later. The OpenStreetMap community used the “First Edition” Ordnance Survey maps the brothers worked on to map all the townlands on the island of Ireland (see “Mapping Ireland’s 61,000 administrative boundaries” at State of the Map 2016). There are approximately 61,000 townlands in Ireland, the great majority of which have been mapped thanks to a donation of out of copyright maps from Glucksman Map Library, Trinity College Dublin, and Bodleian Libraries, University of OxfordOpenStreetMap Ireland isn’t stopping there. They are now attempting to map all the buildings in Ireland and welcome all contributors.

image of historic imagery used for editing modern day OpenStreetMap data
Historic imagery used for editing modern day OpenStreetMap data

OpenStreetMap’s freeform tagging scheme allows people to map what’s important to them. And people are mapping the historical and heritage features they care about. You can explore OpenStreetMap’s coverage of historical features on interactive maps on the HistOSM and Historical Objects websites. If you want to use OpenStreetMap data like this, it’s all available to everyone. If you see something missing, please open up your favourite OpenStreetMap editor and fix the map!

OpenStreetMap is becoming the de facto source of map data for many services and organisations, so we can help preserve our shared human heritage for years to come. Who knows, in 150 years, maybe OpenStreetMap data you enter today will be useful to someone?