Author Archives: Mikel

OpenStreetMap Foundation is Hiring an Administrative Assistant

The OpenStreetMap Foundation Board is looking for a detail oriented, part-time administrative assistant with a passion for open communities, who can help accelerate the work of the OpenStreetMap Foundation. Sharp organization and communication skills, and excitement for the mission of OSM will be helpful.

The role’s responsibilities will be to help prepare for meetings, tracking action items and votes; ensure excellent communication between our volunteer community members, working groups and the board; handle inquiries and communicate on behalf of the foundation; and organize our paperwork and publish routine matters.

Is this you? Or know a great candidate? You have until Friday, June 10 (extended!) to apply.

This is the full job posting. Email apply@osmfoundation.org with applications and any questions.

Propose your session to State of the Map 2016!

Mappers are the network that provide the passion and the eyes on the ground, making OpenStreetMap the best map in the world. State of the Map brings mappers, programmers, practitioners, entrepreneurs, and policy makers together to connect and advance that map.

The OSM community invites you to submit session proposals at the 2016 State of the Map, by May 21.

9697758710_dd64384a80_b

This year, we are especially proud of the diversity of people and organizations helping to build, strengthen, and elevate the map; and those who are recognizing an open map’s potential to advance various missions. We’re excited to be growing our community of mappers and welcome applications for innovative and interactive sessions.

You are encouraged to submit proposals for 20 minute talks, 5 minute lightning talks, and 90 minute workshops that will result in progress and excitement in the world of OpenStreetMap. The deadline is May 21, 2016.

Apply here

Note: You can respond in English, en français, auf Deutsch, or in het Nederlands.

We’re excited to read your ideas for State of the Map 2016!
State of the Map Organizing Committee

p.s. Sign up to our newsletter below to stay updated with the latest information.

Unity

Last week’s terrorist events in Brussels have been deeply shocking. They hit close for us who are organizing this year’s State of the Map in this beautiful city. We are fortunate to report that everyone involved in planning activities is safe. Now our thoughts are with those affected by the attacks this week in Brussels but also with the many victims of terrorism in the world.

OpenStreetMap is a global community and our mission to map the world tears down barriers and brings together people from all over the globe.

So now more than ever, we invite you to attend this year’s State of the Map to celebrate this spirit that stands in opposition of the terrorism that is trying to divide us today.

One map, one community – we’re looking forward to seeing you in September.

Your State of the Map organizing committee.

PS: We are monitoring the situation closely as Brussels is recovering from the attack and assess security measures at the conference. If you have any questions or concerns regarding State of the Map and the recent terrorist attacks, send us a line.

State of the Map 2016 Accommodations and Sponsorships

State of the Map 2016 is set for September 23-25, 2016 in Brussels, Belgium! The organizing team has really ramped up for the past few weeks — we’re getting excited! We have a couple updates today on accommodations and sponsorship opportunities, and look out for a lot more over the next month or two on proposal, scholarships, and tickets.

First, we’ve made a great deal with Brussels Booking Desk for reduced hotel rates for State of the Map attendees. Convenient rooms at good rates. More details on the State of the Map website. Community collected accommodations options can be found on the wiki.

your-logo-here

And the State of the Map 2016 sponsorship package is ready. Interesting in sponsoring? Or know a potential sponsor? Send us an email at sponsors@stateofthemap.org to receive more details.

Get involved!
There’s lots to get ready for State of the Map, so if you’re excited to help out, you’re welcome to get in touch with the team. Email us at team@stateofthemap.org to get involved!

State of the Map US, open for submissions

The deadline for session proposals for the State of the Map USA conference is on Friday, August 31, so submit your session idea soon. The conference will be made up for talks by community members on everything from tools and techniques to working with and contributing to OSM data to showcases of it in use by companies, governments, nonprofits, and everybody to bigger picture discussions of where OSM should be moving in the future.

The State of the Map USA conference will bring together people working with, adding to, and advocating for OpenStreetMap. Our community is filled with people doing interesting, cutting edge, and important work. This is your chance to share it with us all.

You can submit your session proposal here – we just need 200 words or less about what you want to talk about. If you have questions, email Martijn van Exel or hit us up on Twitter at @sotmus.

 

Thanks to the 2012 OpenStreetMap Foundation Board. This is going to be the year.

Last weekend in Seattle, the OSM Foundation Board met “face-to-face”. We get together because no matter how much you try otherwise, there’s way more done in person in a couple intensive days. It cost about 4 or 5k USD this time, and it’s worth the cost. But, I think we’ve always done a terrible job explaining what happens at the Board meetings, and a middling job following up, and those two things are totally related.

I want this meeting to be different. It must be different. This is my fifth year on the Board and final year on the Board (I was elected again this year, but will stand down at the next AGM), and to me, and the entire Board, this is a crucial year for OSM. The face-to-face was the most productive yet, and the most difficult yet. I’m very satisfied. In year’s past, the minutes get published, and various announcements go out through working groups, and that will happen.  But it’s insufficient, maybe distilling too far the atmosphere and the messiness of these get togethers.

The Stage

Steve is based in Redmond, and expecting a child any day, so he offered to host and avoid travel. I wasn’t far, relatively, in Chicago. The rest of the Board (excepting RichardF who couldn’t make it) flew in from Europe. I found a cabin near a lake on airbnb, quiet, cosy, and cheap. Henk hired a car, and drove everyone around. We had a meetup Friday night, made some burritos and played Kinect at Steve and Hurricane’s place (and tried to forget we watched Crank 2), and enjoyed the Seattle sunshine (no joke). Sunday Hurricane gave us horse riding lessons!

A regular vacation! Except for the part where we spent 18 hours of our weekend discussing/arguing about OSM in windowless meeting rooms at Microsoft (which we very much appreciate btw!). And the rest of the weekend continuing to talk about it, or even dream about it. Being on the Board is a sacrifice of time, because we all feel deeply responsible to the project and our position.

Presentations

The Board meeting proper started with presentations by Steve and Oliver. Steve hit many of the same themes from his SOTM and SOTM-EU talks, except he left out all the stuff about how awesome OSM is doing. We looked and discussed several graphs of recent statistics. OSM’s growth to date has been beyond imagination, but there’s no shortage of projects that changed the world and then met reality, hard. Looking at some of these, the factors in decline included insular community, lack of direction, and no innovation. That’s what we have to avoid.

Oliver made the point that “We are the Board! Shape the project!”. The Board, and the Foundation, needs to be a functional team, with clear goals and activities, all within the limited volunteer time we have to contribute. Fact at this point is, the Foundation doesn’t have clear objectives, beyond the mission to support but not control the OSM project. To meet goals, we can take action, we can guide and steer, we can spend money. At the end of workshop, there should be a target that guides all our activities towards achievement. Some of the slides were beyond funny management clip art (a guy looking forlorn into the mirror, facing reality) but the point was important. “We are the Board! Shape the project!”

At this point, I thought it would be useful to look at some of the management lessons and differences from HOT. While we are by no means perfect, I do feel there’s good alignment between the organizational side of HOT and the community, largely the same community as OSM. Contrast to OSMF, HOT is very focused in what it does, with clear guidance and priorities and steering. We aren’t afraid of spending money when it’s necessary. We value marketing by the organization (though could be better). There are clear technical needs, and we pay for it. There’s a key attention to the consumption side of map data collection, seeking strategic partnerships with other organizations. We’ve been selective and directive with responsibility, and when necessary, have taken it away. We try to be as transparent as possible, publishing very detailed board minutes.

Goals

We took Oliver’s point and started strategic planning.

OSMF Board meeting traditionally use a simple technique to come to consensus on a topic, whether it’s the agenda of the meeting, or in the case of Seattle, the objectives and activities of the OSMF this year. We brainstorm all our choices on the subject, write them on the whiteboard. Each person gets some number of votes, say 5, and distributes them among the topics. If topics can be grouped together, their count is added together. There’s discussion about the meaning of terms, sometimes a lot of discussion. Iteration to insure that we all have a common understanding. At the end, there’s a list of priorities. I always squirm in this process, because somehow I don’t believe it can work, but inevitably does a pretty good job, and if we need to override, we’re not strict about the methodology.

In less than an hour, we had these goals for 2012.

The World’s Most Used Map OSM is clearly the world’s most used open map, and most open map, and the best map. We want as many people of possible contributing and using OSM, and to do that, the experience of using OSM needs to improve, and where you use OSM can improve.

More Than Just Streets Do you know everything OSM is capable of mapping? Does your neighbor? Does your mayor? OSM is relatively well known in some circles, but it’s full potentially is still opaque to many. We want everyone to know what OSM is about.

Cultivating Leadership of Mappers. Shared Goals Between the Community & OSMF Mapping is driven by mappers, with a clear goal (make the map!), and there’s every reason that with clear goals and empowered members, the OSMF can act strongly. We now have clear goals, and clear expectations of what the management team and working groups can do and achieve, without much prescription on how things happen. This all frees the Board to provide the direction, and the management team and working groups to make the operational decisions.

Easier Contribution for Non-Geeks We debated how this differed from the Most Used Map, and decided it was important enough focus to stand on its own. Usability is certainly related, but more broadly, there’s much to do to improve all kinds of involvement in OSM.

And Again

The bulk of our time was spent translating these goals into actions, and this really was the most difficult part. Some things were quick to decide, like the final switch over to ODbL, but others became very drawn out and very detailed, like the process for site redesign. We touched on every standing issue, and aligned clearly to the goals. PR, list moderation, license change, the management team, working group budgets, SOTM, PR, site redesign, the articles of association.

We all agreed that short term action was needed on almost everything, with mind to how things should play out in the longer term. This meant drawing the above diagram, a lot, to remind ourselves of the urgency. We set big, audacious goals for all parts of the Foundation, with clear deadlines.

With so much on the table, we decided to stay in the room until we had decided on everything, which ended up meaning staying hours late, til there was little sunshine outside (or metaphorically sunshine inside the room) and tension rising. At one point, I was so fed up, I almost walked out, really seeing that if we didn’t resolve the issue at the Board, it wouldn’t resolve in the Foundation and the project, the goals wouldn’t be met, and decline was inevitable. And for me personally, that would mean a slow turning away from a project ingrained in almost everything I do in the world. We had to push through.

And we did. Despite looking over the brink, we had resolve. I felt tense, but knew I’d be happy with what we accomplished.

And after it was all done, we had some beers. The next day we rode horses. Group hug.

Thanks to the 2012 Board. This is going to be the year.

And thanks for Oliver for the photos!

cross-posted from Brain Off

State of the Map 2010 Travel Scholarship

The OpenStreetMap Foundation is excited to announce that, like last year, the full travel and accommodations costs for 15 mappers to attend State of the Map 2010, will be provided.

We are looking for people from places where costs would prohibit attendance, especially developing countries and places that are “interesting” geopolitically. The scholarships will provide an opportunity for these leaders of nascent OSM communities to network, learn, and find the inspirations and support to take OSM to the next level.

Read more about this on the Scholarship page.

The first week of Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team on the ground in Haiti

Robert Soden has written a detailed updated on the first week of HOT in Haiti

In many ways, our outreach efforts been far easier than we anticipated. The GIS teams here have all heard of OSM, and most of them are using the data already in some fashion. Many of the people we’ve talked to over the last week have expressed sincere gratitude to the community for all of its hard work and been more than willing to take time out of their days to talk to us, connect us to the right people, and participate in our training sessions. It’s not because they’re kind people (though they are). The GIS and Information Officers on logbase have a real incentive to work with us because OSM has become such a key dataset here. So they want to learn how to use the data more effectively, give us feedback on how we can improve the tools available to them, and strategize with us about to best fit OSM into their workflows.