Monthly Archives: March 2024

SotM 2024: Call for Participation

SotM 2024 Call for Participation with logo, Nairobi OSM background

The State of the Map (SotM) conference is the annual OpenStreetMap (OSM) conference run by the OpenStreetMap Foundation (OSMF). It is organised by the SotM Working Group, a team of volunteers. This year, SotM 2024 will again be a hybrid event, held in person in Nairobi, Kenya and online!

State of the Map is intended as an opportunity for the OpenStreetMap community to get to know each other, both personally and regarding their work in OpenStreetMap. We want to offer a programme that covers all topics relevant to OpenStreetMap. Sharing OpenStreetMap knowledge is the essence of SotM. Apart from presentations, we value the interaction between listeners and speakers, so we want to create an environment that boosts critical and healthy discussions, including contentious topics. This year we meet in the vibrant city of Nairobi in Kenya. This will be the first international SotM on the African continent. We hope that many of you join us there. At the same time, we recognise that many people may not be able to travel due to personal reasons or governmental restrictions. Therefore, we intend to share the programme virtually as well and give the virtual visitors the opportunity to participate and interact.

We would love to see your submission for one or more of these tracks:

  • OSM Basics
  • Community and Foundation
  • Mapping
  • Cartography
  • Software Development
  • Data Analysis & Data Model
  • User Experiences


Don’t worry too much about the track categories. They are mainly there to give you an idea on what kind of talks we are looking for and to help us organise the conference. If you find it difficult to select the right track for your talk, choose the one that fits best.

OSM Basics

OSM has grown a lot. Many newcomers or “newbies” have a great thirst for knowledge in areas that may seem uninteresting and basic to existing contributors. We want you, the expert, to pass on your knowledge to the next generation of community members. Considering we have a variety of participants from across the globe, these talks should focus on being easy to follow and understand. Please note in the submission what approximate level of previous knowledge is required for the participants.

Examples for this kind of talk are: Explaining the OSM data model. Introduction to OSM Editors or cartography tools. Working with OSM data using the Overpass API. How to render a map? How to print a map?

Community and Foundation

Want to recount your experiences while building a community? Or talk about the vision of OSMF? Or maybe discuss the strategy of the Board? Then this is the right track for you. Reflections on community diversity and questions on etiquette are also suitable. Other possible topics include why to become an OSMF member, working group experiences, and everything related to OSMF and the OSM communities.


This track is all about mapping, surveying, data collection, tagging; tips and reflections on OSM editors, or new editor features; reflections on automated mapping, organised editing and imports.


Possible topics can include cartography and data visualisation, rendering raster and vector maps, map styles, CartoCSS, MapLibre, maps with QGIS, printing maps and more. All your ideas on how to create a beautiful, fun, quirky and out-of-this-world map! The track also provides a space to present your artistic and creative projects that use OSM data or themes to create clothing, jewellery, 3D printed objects, engravings, visualizations, computer or mobile games, virtual worlds, augmented reality, flyers, postcards, etc.

Software Development

This track awaits talks by or for developers of applications that make use of OSM data: OSM editors, (vector) tile servers, geocoding, routing, navigation, editor layer indices; tips and tricks with new PostGIS features, or new features of other tools and applications.

Data Analysis and Data Model

This track is dedicated to OSM data itself: analysis of OSM data quality; reflections about enhancing the data model; or discussing the way the OSM data is accessed through the API. Also submissions about the use of AI with OSM data are welcome in this track.

User Experiences

This track is all about the usage of OSM. Examples are how OSM is used in governments, public transport, humanitarian response, and scientific context, among others, as well as OSM as an educational tool in classrooms. You can present citizen projects that are using OSM data to understand and manage their environment.

Submission Types

You may choose for most submission types whether you attend in person or participate virtually. We will try to make all events available for online and offline attendance. Exceptions are noted below. Please keep in mind that the conference will take place in the EAT timezone (UTC+3). We will try to accommodate the timezone of participants when scheduling events but we will be restricted to the usual conference hours between 9am and 6pm local time (i.e. EAT).

Talk (20 minutes)

Classic talk of about 20 minutes for the talk itself followed by a question and answer session. This is the preferred submission type. Talks can either be held in-person at the conference or, if you cannot attend, you may submit a pre-recorded talk. The QA part of the talk is always live. Virtual speakers will join via a video call. That means that even with a pre-recorded video, you need to be available.

Extended Talk (40 minutes)

An extended talk has 40 minutes for the talk and 15 minutes for questions. These are for topics you want to explore in more depth. The same rules as for classic talks apply. You should outline why your talk needs more time.

Workshop (60–90 minutes)

Workshops are sessions in which the participants are actively involved, for example by following some steps on their own devices. We welcome workshops that cover basic beginner’s topics as well as innovative technologies.

Please communicate the technical equipment that participants need to bring in order to attend your workshop. Please ensure that your participants shouldn’t be told to create an account at a commercial platform or a platform with user tracking. Or if so, communicate that in an clear way in your submission and provide guest accounts for your participants.

Workshops will be held either in-person or virtually, not with a mixed audience. If you want to offer the workshop for both audiences, you are welcome to hold it twice. For virtual workshops, we will provide video conference rooms. Online workshops will have a limited number of places to ensure a successful session.

Panel Discussion (60-90 minutes)

Panels are for hot, controversial discussions around OSM community, mapping and data. Topics may cover for example diversity, legal questions or the future of the data model. You should outline the format on how you intend to organise the discussion and make sure to invite the key players for the discussion. Panels must be held in person with all participants present at the conference. We welcome panels that include the audience. Just keep in mind that questions come from virtual and in-person participants. A designated moderator is therefore strongly recommended.


Your submission does not fit into any of these submission types? Please get in touch with the programme committee via email ( before the end of the call for participation.

Spontaneously Organised Sessions

We plan to provide space for sessions which cannot be submitted in advance. Details will be announced before the conference.

Lightning Talk

Lightning talks will be short 5 minute talks. There will be some spaces for last-minute in-person talks with an on-site signup on a whiteboard as well as spaces for pre-recorded videos. This will be announced separately.

Birds of a Feather

Birds of a Feather (BoF) sessions are informal, spontaneous discussion rounds centered around a specific topic. It is not possible to submit a BoF session in advance. BoFs will usually be held in person only.

Free Spaces

We will try to provide free spaces to meet or just chitchat for working groups, local chapters, local groups, user groups, etc.

Rating Criteria

In rating submissions, we will apply the following criteria:

  • OSM as the subject: A submission where OSM is the main subject or an important ingredient will be rated higher than one that is more generic (e.g. a general talk about GIS software).
  • Preference of “open”: A submission about open data and open source software will be preferred over one that deals with proprietary data or proprietary software and closed platforms.
  • Preference of innovation: A submission about something new, or something not discussed at previous conferences, will be preferred over one that discusses more widely known issues (exception: OSM Basics).
  • We are hoping for talks from a multitude of speakers and hence we would prefer accepting a talk from a “new” speaker over accepting a second talk from someone who has already an accepted talk.
  • We will also try to avoid accepting too many talks from members of the same organisation.
  • We prefer talks from members of underrepresented groups.
  • We value transparency. We expect submitters to disclose affiliations and sponsors of their work.

Sometimes we will make some changes or have suggestions:

  • We might ask if several speakers can merge their talks.
  • We might also ask if a change of format would be possible (for example, we might suggest the lightning talk format instead of a regular talk when we find there is not enough space in the programme for a complete talk, but it is an interesting subject).


The conference language of the State of the Map is English. All presentations shall thus be held in English. It is an important aspect of the conference that participants can interact with the speakers for questions and discussions. This restriction does not apply to Birds of a Feather sessions. They may be held in other languages, according to the preferences and needs of their participants.


Video recordings and slides of the lectures will be published under the Creative Commons Attribution International 3.0 or later (CC BY 3.0+) license.


State of the Map is a non-commercial event where neither the organisers nor the speakers are being paid. Speakers have to get a conference ticket just like everyone else. Details will be announced later.

Programme Committee

Your submissions will be reviewed by a programme committee consisting of OpenStreetMap community members from various parts of the world.

  • Manfred Stock (lead programme committee, mapper, Switzerland)
  • Sarah Hoffmann (developer, Germany)
  • Arun Ganesh (mapper and cartographer, India)
  • Christine Karch (chairwoman SotM Working Group, Germany)
  • Federica Gaspari (OSM community, Italy)
  • Feye Andal (OSM Philippines)
  • Ilya Zverev (forum moderator, Russia)
  • John Bryant (geospatial consultant & mapper, Australia)
  • Laura Mugeha (local team, Kenya)
  • Miriam Gonzales (Geochicas, Mexico)
  • Raphael de Assis (president of UMBRAOSM/Union of Brazilian OpenStreetMap Mappers)
  • Satochi Iida (OSMF Japan, Japan)
  • Stefan Keller (Geometa Lab Campus Rapperswil, Eastern Switzerland University of Applied Sciences (FH OST), Switzerland)
  •  Séverin Menard (Geomatician, France)

The programme committee is aware of possible conflict of interest situations. We try to balance that in the composition of the committee. Nevertheless, we have imposed some rules upon ourselves to handle conflict of interest situations:

  • We do not rate submissions from our workmates, clients or relatives.
  • We act carefully and are aware about possible conflicts (especially the situation of horse trading. We act particularly careful in cases associated to a sponsor.
  • We communicate to other programme committee members when we are in a conflict of interest situation.
  • We report any outside attempt of influencing our decisions to the chair of the SotM Working Group.

We hope this detailed “Call for Participation” helps to increase the transparency of our programme selection process. Questions are welcome. You can reach us at the following email address:

Timeline and Deadlines

  • 23 April 2024 23:59:59 UTC: Deadline talk, workshop and panel submissions
  • End of May 2024: End of review phase, speakers will be informed
  • June 2024: Talk video production (test video and final video)
  • August 2024: Lightning talk video production
  • 6-8 September 2024: State of the Map

Submit your presentation

Please submit your presentation proposal to our submission form.

— The SotM 2024 Programme Committee, 5 March 2024

The State of the Map conference is the annual, international conference of OpenStreetMap, organised by the OpenStreetMap Foundation. 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. Our volunteer Working Groups and small core staff work to support the OpenStreetMap project. Join the OpenStreetMap Foundation for just £15 a year or for free if you are an active OpenStreetMap contributor.

OpenStreetMap was founded in 2004 and is an international project to create a free map  of the world. To do so, we, thousands of volunteers, collect data about  roads, railways, rivers, forests, buildings and a lot more worldwide.  Our map data can be downloaded for free by everyone and used for any  purpose – including commercial usage. It is possible to produce your own  maps which highlight certain features, to calculate routes etc.  OpenStreetMap is increasingly used when one needs maps which can be very  quickly, or easily, updated.

The OpenStreetMap Foundation Board looks ahead to 2024

2024 is already moving fast. The new OSMF Board is working hard, digging into their focus areas, and implementing the strategic plan. Following the “tradition” of the collective post in 2023, here are a few sentences from each of the Board members on where they want to contribute in 2023.

We welcome your input and participation. Contact us directly or, if you are an OSMF Member, join our monthly Board meeting.


Last year comes by so fast. I am not so proud of what I have accomplished as a board member as I have had some health challenges. It was a learning experience (the success and failures) for me!

This year, I will continue efforts to engage, grow and diversify the OpenStreetMap community, this includes:

  • Building more local chapters
    • Last year, we have revised the Local Chapters page to clearly state eligibilities and document that are required to submit. In addition; LCCWG is taking the lead role to review applications for potential local chapters as well as taking proactive steps to encourage communities to apply.
    • This year, we hope to establish 1-3 new local chapters especially in regions where there is no or less established local chapters. Our newest board member Dani will be my partner on this!
    • To learn more about OSMF Local Chapters and how to apply:
  • Growing and diversifying OSMF membership
    • Run a membership drive at first to second quarter of the year with volunteer team and community leaders
    • Review OSMF WGs, their goals, processes, operations, etc to provide a baseline how to encourage more participation in OSMF WGs
    • Review Active Contributor Membership application – ensuring that criteria are fit for people who it wish to benefit
    • Exposure to local communities and community projects through community presentation during OSMF board meetings
    • Revitalise the Diversity and Inlusion Committee to ensure that it is still fit for purpose and membership makeup/activeness
  • Ensuring OSMF’s support to regional and national SotMs (more on this)
  • Representing OSMF in various events/conferences to extend our reach (outside OSM, other open communities) and listen to local communities

More on this in my OSM diary: community in the map and at the table: my first year and continuing plans as OSMF board member

If you would like to talk and discuss about community, reach out to me arnalie[at]osmfoundation[dot]org or send me a message (


When I first joined the Board I had never seen inside of the OSMF organisation so I initially wanted to fix some obvious external problems. But I now hold the post of Secretary and Chair of the Finance committee which has led me to be far more focused on the internal problems that impact on the operations of the Foundation. I am now putting in a lot of effort to improve systems and guide the foundation towards a future where members, corporate members, donors and data users speak of the OSM Foundation as a well managed, highly effective organisation that has a clear view of how it wants to develop in the next decade. My stress is not on making the Foundation bigger, but rather on making it much better at what it already does and then making sure that people know that it is better.


I am thrilled and grateful to embark on this journey as a member of the Board of the OpenStreetMap Foundation, representing YOU. The opportunity to contribute to such a dynamic and impactful community is both humbling and exhilarating. As I step into this role, I acknowledge that I have much to learn, and I eagerly anticipate the wealth of knowledge and experience that the community members will teach me. My primary goals for this year revolve around fostering a stronger sense of unity within the community, amplifying our fundraising efforts to ensure the sustainability of our initiatives, and serving as a dedicated liaison for all members of the OpenStreetMap community. I approach these objectives with humility and determination, understanding that collaboration and inclusivity are paramount to our success. I am genuinely excited to immerse myself in this vibrant community, to forge meaningful connections, and to work together towards our shared vision of empowering people through open mapping.


2024 will be a pivot year for the OSMF, and as board chairperson, my focus is on making sure that the big changes we have coming up happen smoothly.

The most exciting change will be vector tiles. We will be trying to have about one blog post each month throughout the year as our project progresses. You can already read our first one or play with Paul’s demo.

Our move to the EU is another interesting shift that we will be working on. Brexit has made our life in the UK too complicated, and while a move represents a lot of work, it’s something we have to do. While I have had very promising talks with officials from Luxembourg, we’re also looking at Belgium. Ease of doing business, community presence, OpenStreetMap usage, and financial and non-financial incentives all play a role.

This year is the first year when will work under our new budgeting system, letting us easily link every expenditure to the budget. This means we will get better at showing where your donations are going: it’s not only spreadsheets and numbers, but about trust and accountability. It has been the product of a lot of work, started back when I was OSMF treasurer. This will help us fundraise more effectively.

Fundraising is, indeed, an area where we need to work more to be able to achieve our goals. Some of the largest OSM data users don’t contribute at all to keeping it running. We have mostly fundraised from large tech companies (thank you!), and must also expand to other sectors that are part of our ecosystem, including governments, humanitarian NGOs and transit companies, to increase our income’s resilience against market cycles.

Attribution is another key area. It’s not about ego; it’s about creating a funnel for the virtuous circle that improves the map. Our copyright page is the single largest landing page on our site, and due for a revamp, transforming it into a recruitment tool for new mappers and donors rather than just a legal necessity.

Major vandalism incidents in Israel and Ukraine marked us in 2023. We have patched the most vulnerable spots ad hoc, and managed to discourage the vandals. If we could more easily moderate what gets submitted before it hits the API, we would address a core vulnerability and improve data quality. I’m picturing an auto-moderation engine for which DWG could write rules, like an email filter. It would, of course, be a major engineering project and require careful planning.

Improving the reliability of our operations is one of the most rewarding long-term projects. By improving many things a little bit at a time, we’re reducing the areas where our infrastructure is at risk from a single failure. If any of the open tickets inspires you, please help us out.

I have for the last few years worked to encourage the OSMF to hire more staff – we have enough work for a dozen people if we can get the funding. Managing our operations and projects has long been too much for volunteers to handle. I would like to make progress on hiring an executive director for the OSMF to be able to work on ideas like this full time.

These goals suffer not from a lack of vision or talent, but a lack of hands and time. If you care about making these happen, please donate, or join one of our working groups.


Since the start of my activity as an OSMF board member, a bit more than a year ago, I have spent in a total of 390 hours on various OSMF-specific work. Recently it was budgeting discussions but earlier also for example work on ensuring that OpenStreetMap is attributed when required, coordinating contact between organisers of upcoming SotM-EU and memebers of working groups, getting community feedback into strategic plan and various communication – with community in general, working groups and members of both. And a lot of discussions/meetings.

Currently, I am thinking about how the budgeting process can be improved for the next year, based on how it went this year.
I will work further on encouraging to attribute OpenStreetMap, as required by our license.
I also want to spend some time on making clear how we spend money and how we will spend it with more funds raised – both to make clear to the community what is happening with our funds and to encourage potential donors to help us fund cases where smartly spending money can help OpenStreetMap.

I also want to thank for all the work done – by all mappers, people helping as part of working group or without a defined structure, other board members, people who donated money, people who have released various software making it easier to edit or use OpenStreetMap data. And people who use OpenStreetMap data in various interesting and useful ways.


The volunteers of the Foundation heard in the past years loud and clearly the expectation to get longstanding software work done – on top of maintaining a stable platform including the responsibility for your SRE. For example, vector tiles on are no longer a vision, but now work in progress.

The board’s job within that framework is to ensure the funding for all of these goals. The board has heard loud and clearly the message last year that there is open homework despite the absoutely honorable mission. Alan Mustard’s keynote at the SotM EU has given a good overview what alreadly is done and what still is ongoing work.

The board will organize finances in a way such that they look much more familiar to people who are used to donate to benevolent causes. And thus the finances also become more transparent to our community than ever has been asked for! I’m very happy that Guillaume has convinced Harrison to bring his expertise in finances of non-profits to OpenStreetMap. The board has started to set up a budget, will maintain a forecast, and seek close communication with the working groups to assure both financial reliability and ensure the working groups can focus on their maximum contribution towards the Foundation’s mission to support OpenStreetMap.


This year in the OSMF board has started with intense discussions on budget and spending. Fundraising for all the activities necessary to advance the strategic plan will still be an important task for 2024. But there are other things to organise around that: defining the rules for our financial management, getting some project management in place and learning how to work with our contractors. Last year I’ve also started looking into the practical steps of moving the OSMF into the EU and will continue to work on that throughout the year. Finally, we are celebrating our 20th birthday and I hope to see everybody in Nairobi at SotM to celebrate together.

Help Us Grow and Diversify OSMF Membership Worldwide

by Arnalie Vicario

Welcome to the 2024 OpenStreetMap Foundation Membership Campaign!

Today, members of the OpenStreetmap Foundation (OSMF) Board and several of the OSMF Working Groups are launching a worldwide OSMF Membership campaign with the goal of growing and diversifying OSMF membership in regions where there are no or very few OSMF members.

As you can see from this map, there are many such regions.

A visualization of OSMF membership by country, worldwide

OSM is known for being built by a vast, global community of mappers, GIS professionals, community builders, developers, engineers, trainers, etc. over the last twenty years of the map’s existence, all of whom contribute their local knowledge and maintain open and free geospatial data.

The OSM Foundation administers and supports the making of OSM by overseeing OSM’s technological systems and data. It also helps steer the long-term strategy and well-being of the map.

So, it’s very important to have the membership of the OSM Foundation be reflective of the vast diversity of its community.

Why Do We Need an #OSMFMembershipCampaign?

As headlined on the OSMF website, the OpenStreetMap Foundation is dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free geospatial data and to providing geospatial data for anyone to use and share.

It’s important to note that you don’t have to be a member of the OSM Foundation to make a profile on and begin editing OpenStreetMap. You don’t even have to be a member to volunteer for a local community or a Working Group, or go to a State of the Map event or participate in a mapping party.

However, if you want to make a difference in the overall future of OSM, becoming an OSMF member is a good idea. For example, OSMF members are entitled to vote in the affairs of the Foundation, including to select members of the Board. OSMF members can also self-nominate for the Board. As you can see from its charter, the OSM Foundation values OSM contributors, and the OSMF membership exists to give dedicated contributors a voice in how the Foundation is run. 

However, of 16 January 2024, there are just 1,929 OSMF members. This is a small percentage of the overall number of active mappers in OSM. (Pascal Neis has provided many resources, including this one, which show the data about the tens of thousands of people who are mapping at any one time and the millions who have mapped over the last 20 years.)

The fact that there are only 1,929 OSMF members means that just a tiny percentage of OSM’ers are electing the board and helping shape the OSM strategic plan and finances.

Further, here is the regional distribution of the 1,929 OSMF members.

To be successful at its goal to represent the interests of the OSM community, the OSMF must increase its membership in regions and countries where there are no or very few OSMF members.

The only way this will happen is if many thousands of OSM users decide to join the OSM Foundation as a member–TODAY!

What Are The Benefits of Being a Member of the OSMF?

  1. You get to play a direct role in choosing the leadership of the OSM Foundation. OSMF members vote every year at the Annual General Meeting, usually held in December, to elect the people who serve as volunteers on the OSMF Board. Importantly, you have to be a member in good standing 90 days before the election, so the time to join is now.
  2. If you’re a member during the 180 days before the General Meeting, you can self-nominate to serve as a member of the OSMF Board. This allows you to influence the strategic plan, some of OSM’s finances and other matters of governance.
  3. You show your support for the map and the community.

    Here are additional reasons.

Please help shape the future of OSM by joining the OpenStreetMap Foundation

I Want to Help with the #OSMFMembershipCampaign

  1. Be a Campaign Ambassador!
  1. Join the Team! Comment on the Call for Volunteers thread in the OSM Community Forum.
  • We are specifically looking for volunteer translators who can help us translate into different languages, specifically:
    • French
    • Spanish (Juan)
    • Arabic
    • Portuguese
    • Swahili
  • We are also looking for help to explore other spaces where we can reach OSM community members, for example by organizing webinars, researching spaces e.g. podcasts where we can promote the campaign, and going live on social media (e.g. Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, etc.).

Here is the OSMF Membership Drive 2024 Plan on the OSM Wiki.

For any additional questions and comments, reach out to us via the OSM Community Forum thread.

We appreciate your help and look forward to growing and diversifying OSMF membership with you!

The OSMF Membership Campaign Team

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. Our volunteer Working Groups and small core staff work to support the OpenStreetMap project. Join the OpenStreetMap Foundation for just £15 a year or for free if you are an active OpenStreetMap contributor.