Author Archives: Courtney Williamson

Mappers, Universities, Companies, and nonprofits Contributed Over £373,000 to Support OSM in 2023

Last year, the global OpenStreetMap community, together with OSM’s corporate members and partners, donated an astounding £373,000 to support the map.

In an extraordinary show of support for OSM’s 19th birthday, the mapping community contributed over £113,000 through small donations. This enthusiastic broad base of community support resulted in approximately 3,089 donations from all over the world averaging £36 each. The OSM fundraising committee is especially grateful for the social media shares and the kind and encouraging comments on supporting.openstreetmap.com, in addition to the gifts. The positive response to the birthday fundraising campaign was a  highlight of the year. Thank you! 

OSM’s corporate partners also played a pivotal role, with total corporate memberships reaching £201,074. Additional, generous gifts, above and beyond corporate membership fees, from Microsoft, NextGIS, Smoca, and Elasticsearch helped bring us to the £373,000 total. We are also grateful to the corporate Advisory Board for their advice and collaboration which has been essential to the success of our partnerships.Thank you!

A special note of thanks goes out to NextGIS, which has pledged 10% of its profits from data sales to OSM, setting an impressive standard for its commitment to the project.  

In an extraordinary show of support for OSM’s 19th birthday, the mapping community contributed over £113,000 through small donations. This enthusiastic broad base of community support resulted in approximately 3,089 donations from all over the world, averaging £36 each.

OSM is fortunate to be the recipient of mission critical, “in kind” support through donations hardware and other infrastructure. We are grateful to Fastly, who provide the content delivery network for the file service, and many others, including TomTom, Bytemark, AWS and University College London, as well as AARNet, AWS,Academic Computer Club, Umeå University, Appliwave, Bytemark, Equinix Amsterdam, Equinix Dublin, Exonetric, INX-ZA, NetAlerts, OSUOSL, OVH, and Scaleway and everyone else who contributes to OpenStreetMap.

We’d also like to add a special note of thanks to  Kevin Bushaw, who gave us a steep discount on our new website, supporting.openstreetmap.org.

The funds raised  in 2023 will go toward enhancing infrastructure, supporting our critical support staff including our SSRE, and helping build OSM into the future.

On behalf of OSM’s local communities, the OSMF board would like to thank the companies who sponsored SotMs in 2023, both regional and local. This kind of support is very important to local communities, because the OSMF itself cannot promise companies that their funding goes towards regional events, except where the money is earmarked as part of a Sponsorship Distribution Agreement. Companies who directly support regional events are making a positive difference for the community and the quality of the map.

Lastly, we want to point out that any generosity toward OpenStreetMap is generosity to the broader open source software and data community, not just the OSM project. The impact of your gifts extends far beyond the financial; it is a commitment to a world where open data serves as a cornerstone for creativity, problem-solving, and community building.

Thank you for supporting OpenStreetMap!


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.

OSM Named as a Digital Public Good by UN-affiliated Agency

by Craig Allan

OpenStreetMap has applied for and has now been registered as a “Digital Public Good” by the Digital Public Goods Alliance (DPGA), which is a multi-stakeholder United Nations-endorsed initiative. The designation is an important step in making sure that OpenStreetMap is recognized for its positive role in global economic development.

By formally registering with the DPGA, the OSM project has now gained further legitimacy and an internationally raised profile tied to the advancement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

What are Public Goods?

The phrase “public goods” was invented by economists to describe things that are free, inexhaustible, and non-competitive. Sunshine is a pretty good example – it costs nothing, it never runs out, and if your neighbour uses lots of it your own supply is not diminished at all.

Like sunshine, OSM data is free, you can use it as much as you want, and even if your neighbour uses a lot of it, too, your own supply doesn’t run out. Note that it’s the data that is a public good, not the servers – our server computers are not free and are a limited resource.

Making the World a Better Place

A panel of experts was convened by the United Nations panel in 2019 to look at digital co-operation in support of global development. Their report on “The Age of Digital Interdependence” had five main recommendations. All five are great proposals, but proposal five is particularly relevant for OSM as it says that the United Nations should foster global digital co-operation. The exact text is:

“Digital public goods are essential in unlocking the full potential of digital technologies and data to attain the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular for middle and low income countries”.

This means that the United Nations is promoting the use of free open software and data as a tool for middle- and low-income counties to allow them to advance and meet the United Nation’s agreed development goals. This promotion is especially important because free data pairs well with free software and the pair can be widely used by even the poorest governments. Plus, free data and apps allow governments to advance their development without diverting scarce resources to pay license fees to companies from wealthy nations.

The UN then created the Digital Public Goods Alliance as its implementing agency for proposal five, with a mandate to advance the development and use of digital public goods for development.

The DPGA has created a register for approved open systems, open applications and open data that is accessible by all for the advancement of global development.

Why is This Important for OSM?

OSM is a large but in some ways unrecognised force in global development. It underlies many humanitarian efforts, supports academic research of many different specialisations, and is a component of much software development, especially in geographic and navigation applications. OSM data is also already widely used by the United Nations agencies, international NGOs and governments at all levels around the world.

By formally registering with the DPGA the OSM movement has now gained further legitimacy and an internationally raised profile tied to the advancement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. More simply put, and this is something most of us knew all along – the UN thinks that OSM is a great tool to make the world a better place for all.

This registration boosts the legitimacy and profile of OSM and its partners and creates new opportunities. One important area lies in the governmental work environment. OSM’s status as a Public Good, could be used to open doors and promote an increased use of OSM by government organisations at national, regional and local levels. This could then give OSM an opportunity to gain access to government-held data, and/or to government funds to boost our mapping community and/or to a range of resources to reinforce our delivery systems, benefitting everyone.

(Note that OSM Foundation has not yet developed a strategy to encourage and facilitate the use of OSM in government spaces; this is still in the idea phase.)

The boost to the profile and legitimacy of OSM and its partners can also help us make the case for philanthropic investment in OSM.

A final wry thought at the possibilities of this opportunity is that OSM was originally created by Steve Coast as a response to controls on government mapping. It would be very satisfying indeed, if free and open mapping grows to be the basis of much government mapping.

FOSSGIS e.V. Commits to Annual Support of OpenStreetMap

The German chapter of OpenStreetMap, FOSSGIS e.V., has voted unanimously to a commitment providing annual financial support to the OpenStreetMap foundation. This is a first-of-its-kind decision for an OpenStreetMap local chapter, reflective of the German OSM community’s relatively large size and financial resources, as well as its strong commitment to the OSM project.


With our large OSM community and many OSM users in Germany FOSSGIS e.V. sees our responsibility to help the global OSM community where we can.

–Jörg Thomsen, chairperson of the FOSSGIS board of directors

No fixed amount has been set by the membership; instead, the FOSSGIS board will set the amount each year, depending on their capabilities and the OSMF’s needs. At its meeting on December 5th the board decided that the contribution for 2023 and 2024 will be 5,000 EUR each.

FOSSGIS e.V. is already a long term supporter of the worldwide OSM community: they run several services open to everyone, including Overpass API, a tile server, routing services (Valhalla and OSRM, which are both directly available from www.osm.org) and others. Learn more about FOSSGIS.



The FOSSGIS community supports OpenStreetMap in countless ways. Direct financial support for the work of the OSM Foundation is above and beyond, and deeply appreciated.

Mikel Maron, OSMF board member and advisory committee coordinator

As a recognized local chapter of the OSMF, FOSSGIS Germany is not obligated to support the OSMF, nor is the OSMF obligated to support FOSSGIS. Local communities are diverse in size, scope and mission, and as such, exist independently from the OSMF and are not required to make any financial contribution to the OSM project. (You can learn more about local communities by reading this blog post or reading this FAQ )

However, a shared love of mapping and free and open source software and data means that OSM local communities and the OSMF are committed to collaborating in every possible way to advance the OpenStreetMap project. The OSMF is very grateful to FOSSGIS for their commitment and contributions!


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.

Microsoft Pledges $150k to Support OpenStreetMap

The OpenStreetMap Foundation Board is delighted to announce a $150k gift from Microsoft to benefit the OpenStreetMap project and community. This substantive support will go directly to the improvement of OSM operations and infrastructure, as well as to funding OSM community activities such as local, regional, and global State of the Map events.

At Microsoft, we are fully committed to supporting OpenStreetMap, not only through financial contributions but also by fully embracing and encouraging open map data and actively participating in the community via volunteering and development efforts.

-Marko Panić, Principal Lead Product Manager at Microsoft

The funds from this gift will be allocated in the following ways:

Importantly, Microsoft supports OSM through ‘in-kind’ gifts, as well as monetary contributions. It has donated technical expertise and engineering resources; helped build awareness of the importance of OSM amongst other companies, nonprofits, and other entities; and played an important consulting role on the OSM Advisory board.

The OSM Advisory Board is a unique group within the OSM community that brings companies and local communities together.  It builds positive connections between companies who use and contribute to OSM and the local communities who know the local guidelines, spearhead development projects, and bring OSM mappers together through education and events.

— Mikel Maron, OSMF Board Member

Microsoft, through its representatives, donations, and other help, has provided significant support for the maintenance of the iD editor, is working on improvements to OSM’s sign-up flow, and has introduced OSM to a wider user base through Bing’s Map builder.  The OSMF board is grateful for the many contributions to the success of OpenStreetMap.

The OSMF welcomes in-kind support, as well as financial support for OSM’s technical development, operations, and community: 


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 a very small core staff are the primary support for the OpenStreetMap project. Join the OpenStreetMap Foundation for just £15 a year or for free if you are an active OpenStreetMap contributor.

Local Chapters: What To Know and How to Join

What is a Local Chapter?


Our contributors and communities are the main drivers of the OpenStreetMap project. As a means of supporting and nurturing local communities, the OSM Foundation recognizes country-level or region-level legal entities, called “Local Chapters,” to represent mappers and OSM data when dealing with local government, business, and media.

Learn more about the recognized Local Chapters.

How Can We Join as a Local Chapter?

While you don’t have to become a formally recognized Local Chapter to operate as a national or regional OSM user group, there are benefits to joining. These include a streamlined approach to the use of the OpenStreetMap trademark and a mechanism for representing your groups in any OSMF decision making process.

These two pages explain how to join:

Note that the OSMF has recently improved the process.  One major change is that the Local Chapters and Communities Working Group (LCCWG) will process and review applications before making a recommendation to the OSMF Board.

Why join as a Local Chapter?

The OSMF highly values OSM’s many diverse communities and their contributions to the map. They serve as ambassadors in their national / regional areas by promoting map generation and improvements, as well as creating and developing uses for OSM data and tools that fit their needs.

By becoming a formally recognized community, Local Chapters have the power to:

  • Officially use the name and trademark of OSM
  • Represent the OSMF in interactions with governments and companies
  • Have a seat in the OSMF Advisory Board (to ensure that local community ideas and opinions are heard)

Applying as a Local Chapter is free – we welcome you!

Meet the Local Chapters!

The OSMF Board asks Local Chapters to share Annual Reports to make sure we are aligned in our pursuit of our shared goals. It’s also an opportunity to share each chapter’s amazing work with other OSM and mapping communities. Recent and past reports can be found here.  

Below are some highlights from this year’s Annual Reports:

OSM Italy (through Wikimedia Italy)

The OSM community in Italy with Wikimedia Italy had been busy making State of the Map 2022 a success! Re-live the moment through this video:


OSM Slovakia

We empower users of freemap.sk to upload and view photos. Our photo gallery contains almost 300,000 photos, including more than 10,000 photos of hiking and cycling guideposts.

from freemap.sk’s Facebook page

OSM UK

As a group, we continued to share the word about OpenStreetMap and UK mappers. This ranged from mapping waste and recycling centres during the CodeTheCity hack weekends, to Andy Mabbett presenting to the Data Management Association and the British Computing Society. The latter is an example of where having an official organisation provides a route for companies or groups to ask for assistance.

from @stevefaeembra on X (FKA Twitter): “Wind turbine density across the British Isles. Hexbinned into 10km hexes. Using data copyright OpenStreetMap contributors and #qgis. (Usual caveat for OSM, this only shows mapped turbines. Around 15,000 have been mapped)”

OSM Czech

Greeter tool – in 2021, we developed and published greeter-osm tool, that is used to send a welcome message to first time contributors in specific area. In 2021 we sent several hundred welcome messages and we have continued to do so since then. See github.com/osmcz/greeter-osm.

https://openstreetmap.cz/splash

OSM US

OSM US recently organized the 11th State of the Map US in June 2023 in Richmond, Virginia. Check out the videos in the Youtube playlist and photos in Flickr.

from https://openstreetmap.us/news/2023/01/2022-year-in-review

OSM Japan

OSM Japan hosted State of the Map Japan 2022 in Kakogawa and online with the theme: "Restart" following the COVID19 pandemic. It was organized by 12 volunteers and attended by 140 participants with 15 student scholars volunteers. Check out the videos.

from https://openstreetmap.us/news/2023/01/2022-year-in-review

OSM France

The year 2021-2022 was the occasion for OSM France to be integrated into the plenary council of the CNIG (National Council for Geolocated Information). The activity of the CNIG is growing following the appointment of its new president last year.
This entry of the association is excellent news. It recognises the work of the entire community in the service of the OSM project and it officially marks the importance of the project in the geographic information landscape.



The OpenStreetMap community in France

OSGeo Oceania

OSGeo Oceania organized FOSS4G SotM Oceania 2022 with Pacific Islands GIS and Remote Sensing User Conference in Fiji in December 2022, you can view the presentation here. This year, the annual regional conference is happening in Aukland - find out more in the official conference website

from https://osgeo-oceania.org/

FOSSGIS Germany

FOSSGIS Conference 2023 happened in March 2023 in Berlin. Participated by about 500 participants, FOSSGIS Konferenz addresses local users and businesses to meet, learn about new development & collaborate on local chapter activities in their own language.

The following three map examples show part of the Berlin allotment garden colony “Am Stadtpark I” ALKIS as an example of official geodata (left), 
image-based digital surface model (bDOM) as an example of the information open remote sensing data (middle image), 
OpenStreetMap map (right).
from https://www.fossgis.de/aktivit%c3%a4ten/grueneoasen/

OSM Iceland

OSM Iceland has met with the National Land Survey of Iceland who has been tasked with creating a free and open road dataset. Until now the OSM road data has been the de facto road network used in work both by governmental and non-governmental organizations. A presentation made in 2020 for the OSMF board is available at the OSMF website.


OSM Switzerland

In January 2023, Geomob podcast featured an active Swiss mapper, Simon, who happens to be the the current president of the Swiss OpenStreetMap association. Tune in to hear about his motivation for the project, and his perspective on the OpenStreetMap community and its future.

from: https://twitter.com/SwissOSM/status/1668582508693266434

OSM Belgium

Note: OSM BE is currently not a recognized local chapter, due to internal changes in the organization. However, this report is reflective of a period when they were recognized.

OSM Belgium has been busy organizing State of the Map Europe 2023 that will happen in Antwerp. It hopes to bring together the brightest and most active members of the OpenStreetMap mapping and developing community for a detailed exchange of results and ideas that support the continued success of the various initiatives by strengthening the ongoing projects and collaboration. More information is on the website.

The evolution of mapping roads in Brussels. Green: slow roads. Grey: mapped roads. Black: roads being worked on that month. From https://openstreetmap.be/en/projects/road-completion.html

OSM Democratic Republic of Congo

At the end of 2022, OSM DRC started crowdmapping projects of main waterways using a national open data reference to identify missing ones and manually digitize them. Two provinces (Lualaba and Haut-Katanga) out of 26 are being finalized now, but we want to achieve a national coverage. See this presentation during the OSMF Community Spotlight session in July 2023.


OSM Ireland

OSM Ireland Buildings Microgrant Project concluded in 2022 - with 200,000 buildings mapped with growth in the community as a result of frequent online community meetings and goodies. See the full report in the wiki.


OSM Austria

OSM Austria continues to spread the knowledge of OpenStreetMap in the country. They participated in Maker Faire Vienna 2023, the trade fair for global makers and inventors, and looking forward to participate in Maker Faire Salzburg in November this year.

from https://www.openstreetmap.at/2023/07/das-war-die-gi-salzburg-2023/

Free Libre Open Source Software Kosova

Fostering Community Engagement in Albania: OSM Kosovo played an integral role in establishing and organizing the OpenStreetMap Albania community. Their efforts were focused on fostering a vibrant mapping community, promoting the use of open-source mapping tools, and facilitating collaboration among various stakeholders.

https://flossk.org/foss4g-wraps-up-its-2023-edition-in-prizren/

Stowarzyszenie OpenStreetMap Polska

OSM Poland has been developing the OpenAEDMap project, which has reached more than 5,600  locations of the AED devices - this is possible thanks to community activism and a campaign among local government entities.
https://openstreetmap.org.pl/2023/laboratorium-regionow-warmia-i-mazury-popularyzacja-openstreetmap/

If you and you’re community is interested in becoming a Local Chapter, please check the FAQs page or reach out to LCCWG via email local@osmfoundation.org.


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.

OSM Foundation Announces New Membership Guidelines for Corporate Sponsorship

The OpenStreetMap Foundation (OSMF) has released new guidelines for companies and organizations who use OpenStreetMap (OSM) data in their products and services. The new guidelines clarify the rights and responsibilities between OSM and the entities who use and edit its data, as well as offer guidance on how they can support the map financially and in advisory capacities.

Highlights include:

  • Corporate members at the Bronze level and higher will now have a seat on the OSMF advisory committee
  • The fee for an annual membership has increased by 50% across the tiers
  • An OSMF-facilitated ‘consultation’ has been added as a benefit to the highest, “Platinum” tier
  • There is new guidance on what is the appropriate membership level. 

A Tradition of Supporting OSM with Tools, Editing, Sponsorship, and Donations

Mikel Maron, a long time member of the OSMF Board, noted that opening up access to the advisory committee to corporate members at the Bronze level and higher is a direct result of the value that the committee provides to the community: “The ability to engage with organizations who use and improve OSM is a valuable source of insight in our planning and operations. We especially appreciate those who go above and beyond in their willingness to both consult and contribute financially. Many of these organizations have served as co-developers and friends to the project over the long term.” Maron also noted that changes to the guidance and pricing for OSMF corporate memberships is part of an overall commitment to improving OpenStreetMap’s financial management.

The ability to engage with companies who use and improve OSM is a valuable source of insight in our planning and operations. We especially appreciate companies who go above and beyond in their willingness to both consult and contribute financially. Many of these organizations have served as co-developers and friends to the project for the long term.” –Mikel Maron, OSMF board member

The many companies who support OSM through a corporate membership include TomTom, who became its first Platinum member in 2023, and current Gold members Mapbox, Esri, Gojek, Grab, Graphhopper, Meta, and Microsoft. A warm welcome also goes out to the first OSMF corporate member to sign up under the new guidelines: StadiaMaps:  

See a complete list of OSM Corporate Members

The Financial State of the OSMF in 2024 and Beyond

In the Board’s draft version 2.0 of their Strategic Plan, there are several important financial goals, including:

  • Deliver updated revenue strategy
  • Establish financial management policy
  • Provide financial support to communities
  • Fortify financial infrastructure

In the Preamble to the Plan, the board has noted that the size and scale of OSM necessitates a new approach, saying “The main focus of the OSMF must be to ensure that the infrastructure is available…[and for] OSM to remain a project that is driven by its volunteers, we need to be careful to not overstrain them. The OSMF can help through financial and operational support.

The current scale of the OSM project cannot be overstated. OSM volunteers have contributed eight billion data points to the map over the past two decades, and there are hundreds of millions of API calls each month. The use cases for OSM data include building smarter cities, reducing traffic congestion, solving supply chain issues, powering climate change research, and helping people grow food, find clean water, reach medical and other kinds of help, and build local businesses. OSM editors also help millions of people through hundreds of humanitarian use cases. Accenture has estimated that its data provides billions of euro of value to companies and governments. 

The use cases for OSM data include building smarter cities, reducing traffic congestion, solving supply chain issues, powering climate change research, and helping people grow food, find clean water, reach medical and other kinds of help, and build local businesses. OSM mappers also help millions of people through hundreds of humanitarian use cases

The financial costs for a project of this global scale are comparatively small. The OSMF runs as an extremely lean nonprofit with just one full time employee, a part-time small staff, and an all-volunteer board. The need for more sys admins, project management, and resources to help local communities, as well as funds to cover infrastructure and cloud costs is significant. 

Learn more about the financial governance of the OSMF

How Organizations and Individuals Can Help OpenStreetMap

If you and/or your organization would like to help OpenStreetMap, please visit the following links:


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.

For Community Consultation: OSMF Strategic Plan V. 2

As part of our work over the past three months, the OSM Foundation Board has been revising the OSMF Strategic Plan. We are now sharing a rewritten version for feedback from OSMF members and the OSM community.

You can find the latest version here. Please provide your ideas and inputs via the Community Forum or on the mailing list

Highlights: 

Previous rounds of feedback on earlier versions have been very helpful in shaping where we are now. You will see many changes in the document. 

  • The plan starts with a preamble that gives a big picture overview of where we are now and where we need to go.
  • The plan retains the four clusters around which the OSMF Board organizes its work: technical infrastructure, community development, institutional development and financial governance
  • Within these clusters, there is a set of goals and some mention of major actions. More importantly there is an indication of which part of OSMF is responsible for developing and seeing the actions through.
  • Overall the plan is more concise and, we think, more clear, providing a solid basis for understanding the OSMF’s work.

What’s next? 

We will review feedback on an ongoing basis for the next three weeks, followed by a discussion at the Board’s September mid-month chat. We will then make additional revisions based on feedback, with the ambition to adopt the plan at the September Board meeting on September 21, 2023.

We look forward to hearing from you, and thanks to all who have participated in this process!


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. You can make a gift to support the work of OpenStreetMap at supporting.openstreetmap.org

Happy Birthday, OpenStreetMap!

OSM is 19 years old: we’re launching an online fundraising campaign to support its future

18 years ago, OSM Founder Steve Coast posted this invitation to OpenStreetmap’s 1st birthday party.

In 2005, things were moving very quickly for the still new OSM project. The broader open data movement was gathering momentum through events like the World Summit on Free Information Infrastructures (WSFII) and pledge campaigns for the creation of open geodata, and OSM was starting to get coverage in major media like the Guardian. Soon after the above-mentioned first birthday party, the front end of OSM was launched at OSM.org and a new “whizzy” Applet was launched to “replace the horrid old one.”

By 2006, OSM’ers were mapping all over the world:

The OSM Birthday Tradition

When OpenStreetMap turned ten in 2014, the number of celebrations had greatly increased from that first birthday event at the Strongroom Bar in London. In fact, it took a world map to visualize all of the parties.

If you’re celebrating the 19th anniversary of OSM this week, be sure to share some photos. 🎂

What Does OSM Look Like at 19?

OpenStreetMap is the largest open-source geospatial project of all time. There are 18 formally established OSM chapters and dozens more local communities, collaborating on hundreds of communication channels, in more than 50 languages, in most of the countries of the world.  The map and its data is world-recognized as an essential source of geospatial ground truth. The API is used by millions of people, and the community is motivated,  multi-talented, and culturally and geographically diverse. OSM even welcomed its first paid site stability engineer a year ago in recognition of the size and scope of the project.

image credit: Kate Varfolomeyeva, 2023

To get an even better sense of what OSM means to its community in 2023, we asked community members to tell us why they love OSM. Here are just a few of the many answers: 

Image Credit: Kate Varfolomeyeva, 2023

So, you can see why this is an important moment for OpenStreetMap.  In a year, the project will be twenty years old: its data is helping to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges, there is new technology that makes it easier to map, and enthusiasm for mapmaking is as strong as it ever was. 

To meet these challenges and opportunities, the OSM Foundation board is working on a strategic plan that can help support our ever-growing community of volunteers, by strategically funding skills such as project management, engineering, front-end development and offering bounties and sponsorship to help foster a diverse and inclusive map for everyone.  

Which is why now is the time to share your time and money to help secure the future of OpenStreetMap.

It’s OSM’s Birthday! Please Give to Support its Future

Starting today, the OSMF will be conducting an online fundraising campaign to support the future of OSM. Here’s what you can do to help:

  1. Share a photo of how you’re celebrating OSM’s big day with hashtag #HappyBirthdayOSM and/or #WeAreOSM and link to https://supporting.openstreetmap.org.
  2. Make a gift of any size to support OSM’s future.
  3. Edit the map! 🗺

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.

Why State of the Map Conferences Are So Important to OSM

If you’ve been lucky enough to attend a State of the Map (SotM) conference, you already know that they offer some of the best GIS and geospatial knowledge, skills, and training available. That’s on top of being a terrific networking event with lots of fun and engaging social time. If you’re new to the OpenStreetMap community and haven’t yet attended a SotM, or you’re part of a company thinking of sponsoring a SotM, alongside sending a team to attend, this post is for you.    

Image credit: Parker Michels-Boyce Photography. Please tag @OpenStreetMapUS in social media posts when using these photos.

What Is a SotM?

OSM’ers organize annual State of the Map meet-ups as a way to build community, share tools and research, and network with each other toward the shared goal of improving the map. They come in all sizes and are organized locally, regionally and globally, but the goal is always the same: to get together to talk about mapmaking research, tools, initiatives, and other community topics.  Local and Regional SotMs are organized by local communities and the global SotM is organized by the OSM Foundation. 

State of the Map conferences build bridges between OSM mappers and community activists, open-source developers, researchers from universities and academic institutions, designers, cartographers, as well as technology professionals from private companies and public institutions.

What Kinds of Topics are Discussed?

The range of topics is as diverse as the community. The types of presentations range from 5 minute “lightning talks” to 15-20 minute presentations to 75 minute workshops. They cover topics such as platform and tool development, data analysis, humanitarian mapping, and many others. Presenters are affiliated with local communities, Youthmappers, HOTOSM, maplibre, FOSS4G, academia, other nonprofits, and small and large companies.

The 2022 global SotM in Firenze, Italy provides a good example of the range of information and skills that are represented at a SotM. Here are a just few of the session titles: “OSM Carto as Vector tiles; Innovating on Derivative OpenStreetMap Datasets”, Mapping a Small Town”,  “maplibre-rs: Cross-platform Map Rendering using Rust”, “Ten Years iD Editor—The Road Ahead”, “Women Leadership in Mapping Riverside Communities in the Amazon Forest Using OSM.”

These examples just barely scrape the surface.  Here’s the whole programme and here are the recordings of the presentations. Here is the poster exhibit—yes, even the walls of the 2022 SotM were educational! And, here is a summary of the academic proceedings.

So, as you can see, a SotM offers inspiration and knowledge for anyone who is interested in the future of geospatial technology, OpenStreetmap and free and open source software and data.

The OpenStreetMap community spends 365 days a year building the best map of the world together. State of the Map US is our opportunity to spend a few days, in person, building the best community. The event is unique in geo, as it draws such diversity of topics and attendees. Private industry, individual hobbyists, academia and government come together to network, innovate and learn from each other.

 
 –Maggie Cawley, Executive Director, OSMUS

Why is it Important to Sponsor State of the Map Conferences?

There are so many good reasons!

  • The expertise shared at all SotMs contributes directly to the quality of OpenStreetMap.
  • It’s the right thing to do; companies that benefit from OSM should support the community as well as attribute the data. Donations to the project via the OSMF, sponsoring SotMs, becoming a corporate member, and sharing tools and data are all good ways to give back.
  • It’s an excellent recruiting opportunity. Where else can you find many of the best minds in GIS and geospatial all in one place?
  • It’s an excellent professional development opportunity. You’ll connect with other companies working within OSM, learn from other engineers and analysts, and be inspired by dozens of interesting new tools and projects.
  • It builds brand awareness through corporate social responsibility. It’s well known that customers are more loyal to companies that invest in creating a better world.

There are too many SotMs to picture them all here, but here are a few recent examples.

How Can I Support a SotM in 2023?

There are four large, regional SotMs coming up, and all of them need sponsors.

FOSS4G Oceania
Aukland, 16-20 October, 2023: sponsorship prospectus

This conference amalgamates FOSS4G and SotM into one conference to focus Oceania’s open source geospatial efforts. The conference gives Oceania mapmakers a link to global communities of developers and users and is supported by OSGeo and the OpenStreetMap Foundation. Previous FOSS4G SotM Oceania conferences in Melbourne, Wellington and Suva were an overwhelming success:

  • Melbourne and Wellington were sold out with over 250 attendees at each conference
  • Attendees from over 14 countries from Oceania and further afield such as Canada, the UK, and the USA
  • Attendees included GIS professionals, developers, hobbyists, humanitarian workers, and government agencies

State of the Map EU
Antwerp,  10-12 November, 2023:  sponsorship prospectus

This conference offers an opportunity for a diverse group of individuals to meet and exchange knowledge, experiences and plans for developing use and improvement of OSM. Around 400 attendees from Europe and all over the world are expected to participate. The conference will be offered as a hybrid event, allowing additional participants to join via live- stream if they are unable to join in-person.

“State of the Map is the place where you’re the closest to actually feeling the heartbeat of the whole project. The international SotM can and should travel around the world! But there are way too many mappers and data users in Europe for there to be no big OpenStreetMap conference in Europe for two years.”

–Joost Schouppe, OSM Belgium, co-organizer of SotM EU 2023

State of the Map Asia
Bangkok, 21-25 November, 2023: sponsorship prospectus 

After a successful comeback last year in the Philippines, SotM Asia will be held in Bangkok, Thailand this year! We hope to serve and gather 300-500 participants from Asia and beyond to connect and discuss not only OpenStreetMap and open data tools, projects and challenges, but also showcase diverse Asian cultures.

State of the Map Africa 
Cameroon, 1-3 December, 2023: sponsorship prospectus

OSM Africa is a regional community of contributors, users and supporters of OpenStreetMap from countries within the African continent. This includes mappers, scientific researchers, humanitarians, NGOs, government agencies, small business and global companies having and/or supporting work within the continent. The network is aimed at growing and producing a complete and well detailed map of Africa on OpenStreetMap in order to advance the quality, completeness and sustainability of geospatial data in Africa.

 

EWG Project Deadline: “Adding the Ability to Mute Users”

The Engineering Working Group (EWG) would like to announce the deadline for the following project: Adding the ability to mute users on the openstreetmap.org website.

Project Deadline

The  deadline for submitting a proposal will be March 13, 2023. After the submission deadline the EWG will resolve to award the bid within 2 weeks.

About the Project

Users who receive unwanted messages to their openstreetmap.org message inbox currently have to report the message writer and wait for an administrator to take action. This feature will make it possible for anyone to painlessly mute (ignore) private messages from another user.

For more details about the project, including how to apply and proposal requirements, please see the the Engineering Working Group Project Funding Repository on Github. Click on  “Ability to mute other users” under the Projects section or visit this link for a list of deliverables.

Understanding the Project Funding Process

Before submitting a proposal make sure to also read the Engineering Working Group’s Project Funding Proposal Framework for a general overview of the process. Should you have any questions about the funding process please reach out to the Engineering Working group at engineering@osmfoundation.org.

About the Engineering Working Group

The Engineering Working Group is charged with, among other things, handling software development paid for by the OSMF, putting out calls for proposals on tasks of interests, offering a platform for coordination of software development efforts across the OSM ecosystem, and managing OSM’s participation in software mentorship programs. 

The Engineering Working Group meets once every two weeks. Meetings are open to all and all are welcome. Questions? Please send an email to engineering@osmfoundation.org. We are a small group and are still welcoming new members!


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