Author Archives: OpenStreetMap

About OpenStreetMap

Posts written "by OpenStreetMap" were written collaboratively by the Communication Working Group and/or other OpenStreetMap Foundation folks.

Call for State of the Map 2020 presentations is now open

State of the Map 2019 attendees. Photo by Thomas Skowron, CC BY 2.0

As of now we are accepting your talks and presentations in the following State of the Map 2020 tracks:

  • OSM Basics: Information dedicated to newcomers
  • Community & Foundation: Bringing people together, working group experiences, strategies & vision
  • Mapping: All about making the mapping easier and better
  • Cartography: Your ideas on how to create good-looking manifestations of the OSM dataset
  • Software Development: Software for processing and editing data
  • Data Analysis & Data Model: Reflections about the OSM data, its model and analysis of quality and completeness
  • User Experiences: Tell your surprising story of using OSM as an end-user
  • Art & Creativity: Creative projects with OSM
  • Academic Track: There will be a proper academic track, it will be announced separately

Art & Creativity is a completely new track at SotM. It provides a space to present your artistic and creative projects that use OpenStreetMap data or the OpenStreetMap theme to e.g. create clothing, jewellery, 3D printed objects, engravings, visualizations, computer or mobile games, virtual worlds, augmented reality, flyers, postcards, etc.

You will also find an additional submission type called Panel. Panels are for hot, controversial discussions around the OSM community, mapping and data. Topics may cover for example diversity, legal questions or the future of the database.

You will find the Call for Participation and the link to the submission form at:

https://2020.stateofthemap.org/cfp

SotM 2019 volunteers. Photo by Manfred Stock, CC BY 2.0

If you’re reading this but giving a presentation is not your preferred way of helping make a great SotM conference, the SotM working group is also looking for your help. Please take a look at our recent blog post to read more about what we do and to find out where you could bring in your talents:
https://blog.openstreetmap.org/2019/11/07/the-state-of-the-map-working-group-is-looking-for-you/

We are looking forward to your fresh ideas and beautiful maps!

SotM 2020 Program Committee

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 in the UK 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 and you can support it by becoming a member. The State of the Map Organising Committee is one of our volunteer Working Groups.

The State of the Map Working Group is looking for you!

Organising the international State of the Map conference is a huge effort! But it can be broken down to small and straightforward tasks. We are looking for you! Are you interested in taking over one of our tasks? This post shows you what we’re doing – maybe there’s something here that you can help with. Or ask us for more details of tasks you are interested in!

What we’re doing

Next year’s SotM is usually announced at the end of the previous one. That means that work on next year’s SotM already starts before the current SotM even begins! We have to publish a call for bids and sort out the options with the local teams. And to make a well-founded and often difficult decision.

Preparing phase – shortly after SotM

Once a SotM is done, the SotM working group starts working with the local team for next year. The first steps are creating the logo and the prospectus for sponsors. Also, the website is launched around this time, and we sort out the possibilities for the social event.

The program committee start their work by setting up the call for papers. The scholarship committee also have to do a lot of preparation before they can publish their offer.

In the middle of the year – growing phase

Finding sponsors, the call for papers, and scholarships or travel grants are the activities that dominate this phase. Then the review phase for both talk submissions and scholarship applications starts. Finishing the schedule and adjusting with the speakers can be a challenge. The website team has to include the sponsor logos and provide content about the venue, and later the schedule.

The hot phase before the conference

Ticket sales is opened. We have to ensure that all speakers have tickets. This year we were sold out and we had to answer a lot of questions.

Catering has to be ordered. The social event has to be fixed.

Scholars have to be managed. In the past we arranged travel for them and helped apply for a visa if necessary. Also accommodation has to be sorted out for them.

Sponsors have to be taken care of. They get vouchers for conference tickets, and they can provide input for the booklet. Some sponsors may have special requirements.

A lot of design work comes our way in this phase too: signs, banners, but also the T-shirts. Also, the the program booklet is considerable work until it is perfect.

The video recording (and, if possible, streaming) has to be arranged, and we need to check the local internet access situation.

Shortly before the conference we set up a Telegram group. We have to coordinate a lot of volunteers who help during the conference at the welcome desk, at catering, in the sessions, or with the video cameras.

How you can help

Design work

  • Logo
  • Website layout
  • Sponsor prospectus layout
  • Booklet layout
  • Banners, signs
  • T-Shirt design
  • Certificate of attendance

Sponsorship

  • Preparing the sponsor packages
  • Finding sponsors
  • Communication with sponsors
  • Collecting the logos and booklet ads
  • Issue ticket vouchers to sponsors
  • Sponsor logo on slides and banners
  • Preparing sponsor booths at the conference

Administrative work

  • Budget planning
  • Financial coordination with OSMF
  • Planning the timeline
  • Preparing group meetings
  • Setting up the registration system
  • Administration of group mailing lists
  • Conference insurance
  • Legal and permission issues
  • Safety considerations

Program

  • Call for presentations
  • Looking for interesting speakers
  • Setting up the talk submission system
  • Review of the submissions
  • Working out a proper schedule
  • Communication with speakers
  • Coordination with scholarship team
  • Canceling, changing, rearranging talks
  • Poster competition
  • Keynote speakers
  • OSM Awards

Travel Grant

  • Call for scholarship
  • Review of the submissions
  • Travel management, accommodation
  • Invitation letters
  • Preparing a travel guide for scholars
  • Local work
  • Social event (space, catering, music)
  • Conference catering
  • Organizing a pre-event
  • Hotel reservations
  • Name badges, lanyards
  • Ordering of T-Shirts
  • Ordering of banners
  • Printing out of Posters and Signs
  • Preparing the venue (video, wifi)

Communication

  • Website content: sponsors, venue, accommodation, attendees, call for presentations, etc.
  • Creating texts for Twitter, blog posts, mailing lists, newsletter etc.
  • Translation into other languages
  • Answering mails of attendees
  • Telegram groups (during the conference)

Conference work

  • Managing the volunteers
  • Preparing tables, poster walls
  • Setting up banner, signs etc.
  • Welcome desk
  • Video & streaming
  • Video cutting, upload
  • Collecting slides of speakers
  • Catering
  • Session moderation
  • Technical assistance in sessions
  • Code of Conduct team

Looking for the next venue

  • Call for bids
  • Communication on mailing lists etc.
  • Communication with applying teams
  • Review and decision process

Communication

We mainly collaborate via email and on Github in English. The core SotM team has voice meetings on Mumble.

Contact us

Interested? Email sotm@openstreetmap.org

SotM Working Group

Follow us @sotm!

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 in the UK 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 and you can support it by becoming a member. The State of the Map Organising Committee is one of our volunteer Working Groups.

Making it easier to join the OpenStreetMap Foundation

Joining the OpenStreetMap Foundation used to always require a membership fee (£15 per year, which you can pay by PayPal or bank transfer). However, if you are involved in the OpenStreetMap project, and cannot pay this membership fee, it can be waived. Some OSMers live in a country under economic sanction/embargo (and thus without PayPal). Others are in nations where the bank transfer costs themselves exceed the cost of membership. Others live under circumstances where this fee alone would constitute a substantial personal financial hardship. One of the main reasons for the Membership Fee Waiver program, is a wish to be more representative of mappers from around the world.

To address this, the Fee Waiver Program was created, which, for those who qualify, will grant an Associate Membership in the Foundation at no cost, subject to annual renewal.

Some reasons to join the OSMF

As a member of the Foundation you can influence the future direction of the project by

  • participating in the discussions between members and by
  • voting in the annual OSM Foundation elections for the board that steers the project.

Without being a member you can still edit OpenStreetMap, by creating a free account at https://www.openstreetmap.org and help the Foundation by joining one of the Working Groups.

Eligibility

Currently you are eligible to apply for a fee waiver if:

  • You are an active mapper, and are from a country which lacks suitable money transfer.
  • You are an active mapper, and paying the membership fee would present an unreasonable burden to you because of financial hardship

Please note that there might be changes after the 2019 Annual General Meeting.

Languages

You can apply in a language other than English.

Where to find more information

Please read the Fee Waiver manual on the OSM wiki, to find out how to fill the forms, the procedure and the links to the forms.

How to help

If you are interested in helping more people from your community become members of the Foundation, please:

Thank you.

Membership Working Group

The fee-waiver program has been developed under the Board’s direction by the volunteers of the Membership Working Group, with particular thanks to Joost Schouppe, Michael Spreng and Steve Friedl who have kept up the regular work with the Registrar.


Do you want to translate this and other blogposts in your language..? Please send an email to communication@osmfoundation.org with subject: Helping with translations in [your language]

The OpenStreetMap Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation, formed in the UK 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.

Pre-SotM2019 survey – initial numbers and reflections from board members

It’s difficult to detect patterns in the huge variety of experiences and perspectives in the responses to the OSM community survey. What is clear from the responses of over 300 people (thank you all!) is that community is valued, important and desired; as well as complicated, and energy and time consuming. One common thread is the need for more support for community building efforts. The specific ideas for that support vary so much, as well as who and how to marshal the effort.

Communities vary from isolated mappers who only see others editing on the map but don’t connect online or offline in person, to places with a full formal organized presence. But an organization doesn’t guarantee a growing, connected and vibrant community. Most places are in between, from a few friends coordinating together closely, to a core group with ‘fly by tourist mappers’, to places with regular meetups and local conferences. The scope of what people consider their community varies from an individual city or region, to an entire country, to being a part of several places. Many feel disconnected or unconcerned with the “global community”, though some feel the global community is their community, with unique issues and dynamics of its own. The communication channels people prefer are probably only going to grow from the large list we have already.

Yes, you can say that anyone who bothers to answer this survey would be a biased self selected sample, and of course would care about community. Someone happily mapping without talking to anyone wouldn’t care about a survey, and certainly there are some people who are happy to edit OSM without talking to others. But, these community connections — online and offline in person — are widely agreed as the key to what makes OSM work. A bunch of disconnected people editing a database without talking to each other would fail. We can do more together than apart. The means to connect and support all these communities is the major challenge.

Below we present some of the numbers from the quantitative questions, and some individual reflections from the Board. We don’t anticipate this is the only post from this survey; there’s a lot to work through here, so likely more to come.

You are welcome to read and draw your own conclusions from the anonymous answers to the set of narrative questions on community; find those shared at the bottom of this post.

Stats

This survey was filled in by people who saw the link and decided to fill it out. So it is obviously not a random sample of the OSM community. That was always the plan, but it means we should tread with care to generalize. For example, if we see that many Latin Americans in our sample are using Telegram, that might just mean that by chance the link has only been visibly shared on that network.

Although we had 310 useful responses, not everyone filled out the interesting free text questions. For example, the first block of open questions was answered (at least partially) by 204 people.

Volunteers translated the survey itself, as well as the answers. This was a huge job, as there were 139 people who filled in the survey in Spanish, German, French, Italian, Hungarian, Portuguese, Farsi, Chinese and Lithuanian.

Background

People could mark any of the below to describe their involvement in OSM. People who didn’t mark anything aren’t included in the graph below.

Communications channels

The graph below shows the communication channels sorted by number of readers. Thematic and local mailing lists together are the most widely read, as well as contributed-to channels.

We look forward to dig further into the data. One thing we already did, was have a look at how the communication channels differ by region. The below graph shows the percentage of people by region who follow a certain channel. This brings up some interesting data points. For example, mailing lists seem most popular in Asia and least in Africa. The Weekly and the blog are underrepresented in Latin America. Telegram is popular there (and to a lesser extent in Asia), Slack in North-America and Facebook in Asia and Africa. The forum stands out by being so consistent. There were only 3 responses from Oceania, so can not draw any pattern from those.


Countries

People from 45 different countries filled in the survey.

Germany – 35
US – 33
Italy – 17
France – 16
UK – 15
Spain – 11
Argentina – 7
Hungary – 7
Switzerland – 7

5 or less respondents
Brazil
Guinea
Philippines
Australia
Belgium
India
Portugal
Canada
Colombia
Denmark
Japan
Lithuania
Nigeria
Paraguay
Poland
Sweden
Belarus
Bolivia
Europe
Indonesia
Iran
Ivory Coast
Kazakhstan
Luxembourg
Malaysia
Mexico
Panama
Peru
Romania
Russia
South Africa
Taiwan
Thailand
Togo
Uganda
Ukraine

Reflections from board members

from Joost

Is there a community? Do you meet other mappers? Some of you seemed surprised by the very question. And in other places, there is more going on than you can follow. But national activity is not enough. Even if there’s for example an Italian community, people organize in their own more local area. Some of these groups are really inspiring – and though the OSM weekly does a great job highlighting what’s happening everywhere, we still picked up things we hadn’t heard of. A suggestion was a yearly report on what is happening locally. We were pleasantly surprised to hear about what is happening in for example Bretagne or Piedmonte. But then in a place like New York City, even if a lot of things happened in the past, current heavy mappers might feel rather alone. A different kind of struggle happens in low population places, where mappers are just too far apart.

from Mikel

In the early years of OpenStreetMap, it was easy to just do it. If you had an idea and energy, there was nothing but space to try things out. After 15 years, OSM has grown enormously, accreted data, communication channels, cultural practices and history, and its harder to see ideas through to actualization. There’s still no shortage of inspiration, as the ideas in the survey show. How can we cultivate the space to make it easy to just try things out again?

To name a few ideas that stuck out for me: annual reports, grants, “twinning” chapters, individuals who “bridge” communities, community building training, informal planned live chats between communities.

Exciting and exhausting. It’s takes energy for all these things. Take one example: microgrants. The jury is out on whether this will help build community or not, but that’s certainly the intention. The OSMF Board have wanted to do this for years. We’re actually fairly close to launching this finally, but it’s taken so long.

In the middle of reviewing the responses, I had to do something, so I built an interactive map from of the OSM Community Index. Yet another map solves nothing, but satisfying to see our presence across the globe, and think about better ways to share what’s happening between us.

Excited to talk about this all in Heidelberg! Especially think the Local Chapter Congress can be a place to pick up some of these topics.

from Heather

OSMF should consider a community engagement plan to further delve into the needs of the ‘community of communities.’ There is a large potential to, with a data-enabled process, make some ‘light-touch’ adjustments to improve the health of the network. This should be done in consultation with the various groups across OSM. We need to buid on activities, events, and surveys to a more inclusive, distributed plan.

from Frederik

Browsing through the answers we got here, I see a serious need for arbitration in the future. The issues people want prioritized are often contrary – one person wants more of something, the other wants to ban the same thing altogether. There are many issues on which the OSMF hasn’t defined for themselves a clear standpoint, and for good reason – because even without a survey it was clear that opinions differ greatly. Many people seem to expect things from the OSMF that would far exceed its current, established mandate. Does that mean the OSMF should expand its influence – or have those who want the OSMF to stand back and shut up simply not participated?

from Tobias

The survey responses seem to demonstrate a considerable appetite for a more unified OSM community communication platform. At the same time, they also make it clear that we often look for very different things in communication channels, and that preferences regarding the existing ones also vary wildly between contributors, making this a challenging situation for our project. I believe it’s important to continue improving OSM’s own communication platforms, which might mean technological updates as well as working on our social dynamics. Our goal should be spaces that people enjoy visiting and productively contributing to. If we succeed in this effort, we might even win over some contributors who currently choose to use third-party tools.

Several participants shared their insights about local events and meetups: The benefits for motivation and community building, but also their struggles in getting regular meetings off the ground or keeping existing groups alive. While these initiatives must ultimately be run by local community members, the OSMF should explore possibilities to offer support. Suggestions from the survey included making existing groups more visible on the OSM website, providing tools for finding other local contributors interested in such events, and improving the osm.org messaging tools.

Although not strictly about communication and communities, the more open-ended questions saw many of the pressing issues from our previous survey brought up again – which should remind us that the OSMF, and the board in particular, must make faster and more visible progress on addressing them.

Finally, kudos to WeeklyOSM! While reading through the responses, it stood out to me how often this channel was mentioned in a positive light, especially given the controversial opinions on many other platforms. Providing an overview of the vast OSM landscape with its fractured platforms and sub-communities is an invaluable service.

Partial Dataset released

Many community members have allowed us to share their answers publicly, aggregated and anonymously. We are now sharing the answers to the first set of questions:

  • What is happening in your local community?
  • What about your local community should be more widely known? What can other communities learn from yours?
  • Do you meet other mappers in person? Is there a local community beyond mapping?
  • Are you engaged in the “global community”. If you aren’t, why not?
  • What do you think could improve the interaction between global and local communities? How can you help?
  • Do you know who organises the global State of the Map conference? If you’re going to SotM, why? If you’re not going to SotM, why not?

There were 158 individuals that have answered at least one of those questions and gave us permission to share their answers. You can find that partial dataset at the OSMF website.

If you prefer an online spreadsheet, we have also put them at framacalc, but please note that the OSMF spreadsheet is the definite reference.

The OpenStreetMap Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation, formed in the UK 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 and read about our fee-waiver program.

Survey on global and local communities in OpenStreetMap

Image by Harry Wood. Background by Michael Belew (public domain).
OSM logo by Ken Vermette (cc-by-sa & trademarks apply)

In advance of State of the Map 2019, with this survey we are reaching out to communities across the globe, especially to voices we might not otherwise hear. This will not be a quantitative poll. Since we are circulating this through all our networks, it can’t even give a representative sample of the OSM community. 

The next big thing is State of the Map (SotM), and we want to feed the discussions there. SotM is the place where people from all over the world meet and mingle, and in this survey we would like to focus on communication and what is happening around the world. What are people doing in Bali, Belarus and Brazil? Is there a local community? What can we learn from each other? How do we all get involved in the global community? 

We would like to see how the local communities are connected to the global OpenStreetMap community. What actions should the OpenStreetMap Foundation undertake? What concerns and ideas does they community have? Please note that this is in no way a vote, but rather a means of gathering information to take better informed decisions. 

We encourage people to get together and discuss and even provide group answers. You can choose to provide answers only to the Board, or indicate they be shared publicly but anonymously.


https://osmf.limequery.org/428835

End of survey period: 2019-08-21

Ability to resume answering: yes.

Note: Please have javascript enabled and make sure your ad-blocker does not interfere. You might want to save any free-text answers on a text document and then paste them on the survey. If you encounter any problems, please email dorothea@osmfoundation.org

On privacy

We will collect all answers. Answers might contain personal information that you provided, such as country, OSM username, email address, years of mapping, whether you identify as a mapper/OSMF member/etc.

  • You don’t have to answer any question, except the first one, about consent.
  • Please email privacy@osmfoundation.org for privacy matters regarding the questionnaire.

On translations

Community members have volunteered and translated the survey in their languages. Thanks!

Links you can share
English (Base language): https://osmf.limequery.org/428835?lang=en
Chinese (Simplified): https://osmf.limequery.org/428835?lang=zh-Hans
Chinese (Traditional; Hong Kong): https://osmf.limequery.org/428835?lang=zh-Hant-HK
French: https://osmf.limequery.org/428835?lang=fr
German: https://osmf.limequery.org/428835?lang=de
Hungarian: https://osmf.limequery.org/428835?lang=hu
Italian: https://osmf.limequery.org/428835?lang=it
Lithuanian: https://osmf.limequery.org/428835?lang=lt
Persian: https://osmf.limequery.org/428835?lang=fa
Portuguese (Brazilian): https://osmf.limequery.org/428835?lang=pt-BR
Spanish: https://osmf.limequery.org/428835?lang=es

Helping with translations
If you want to help translating answers from the above languages, please sign this non-disclosure agreement and send it to communication@osmfoundation.org with subject “Helping with translations in [language]”. Thank you.

The OpenStreetMap Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation, formed in the UK 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 and read about our fee-waiver program.

Celebrate the 15th OSM anniversary with a birthday party!

The 15th OpenStreetMap anniversary will be celebrated on 10th of August, 2019!
OSM logo by Ken Vermette

The “Birthday” of OpenStreetMap is lost in the sands of time. Observance of the anniversary of the creation of OpenStreetMap is held on or about the 9th of August, which is the anniversary of the registration of the OpenStreetMap.org domain name. The concept of OpenStreetMap predates the domain name registration, but that seems a suitable anniversary date.

This year the anniversary will be celebrated on
10th of August!

Will you organise an OSM birthday party?

How to organise a community birthday party

  • Contact OSMers in your area and talk among yourselves. Decide what you want to do.
  • It can be as big or as small as you want. A few people meeting for some food/drink, or a bigger event.
  • Invite new people! It can be a great way to spread the word about OSM. Promote your event.
  • You can make/order a birthday cake. See previous examples of OSM cakes for inspiration. Don’t forget the attribution!
  • If you take photos, you can share them on the OSM wiki afterwards.
  • Edit this wiki page and put details of your event in.
  • Remember a core principle of OSM: Have fun!

If wiki editing isn’t your thing, email communication@osmfoundation.org with your event details and we’ll add it 🙂

Events are already planned in Japan, Belarus, Germany and the US.
Join us!


Do you want to translate this and other blogposts in your language..? Please send us an email to communication@osmfoundation.org with subject: Helping with translations in [your language]

OpenStreetMap was founded in 2004 and is a 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.

Call for help with translations of blog posts and surveys

Would you like to translate posts on blog.openstreetmap.org? Or see surveys from the OpenStreetMap Foundation in your language..? This is a call to community members who have helped with translations in the past or want to help now.

  • You can translate as many old or new blog posts as you like – expressing an interest does not mean you have to translate every new post.
  • We would like to encourage people to collaborate! If more than one person can do a translation, we would be thrilled if you work together.

Blog post translations

We’d like to make the official blog at blog.openstreetmap.org available in more languages, and for some of the existing languages we’d need to catch up on translations of recent blog posts. These are straightforward and we will provide initial guidance.

Extra help needed for translations of surveys

For surveys we need help both in translating the questions, as well as the answers. For that reason we would be thrilled if local communities decided to form small groups that will volunteer to help us. Please note that as anyone who helps with surveys will have access to information that people might want to keep private, you will have to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

The OpenStreetMap Foundation will start doing surveys 2-3 times per year. The next one is planned just before the State of the Map 2019 conference and translation of questions will start this week.

Next step

Want to help?
Please send us an email to communication@osmfoundation.org 
with subject: Helping with translations in [your language]
and indicate whether you want to help with translations of blog posts, surveys or both.

Thank you!

Communication Working Group

The OpenStreetMap Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation, formed in the UK 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 and read about our fee-waiver program.

State of the Map 2019 program and call for posters

Viewing SotM 2018 posters. Photograph by Thomas Skowron, CC BY 2.0

SotM 2019 Program Announced

The last couple of months have been busy with organising the State of the Map 2019 conference. In particular, the program committees have done the difficult job of selecting which talks will be presented at the conference. We had many submissions and unfortunately we could not accept them all, but we aimed at selecting talks that we believe you will all find really interesting.

As well as the regular talks in the program, this year also sees a full track on Sunday dedicated to academic talks which anyone is welcome to attend, not just the academically inclined among you!

For more information on the talks that were selected and when they will be presented, take a look at the program. Most talks will be recorded, so if you cannot attend, you can watch them online after the conference!

Call for Posters

Getting the selection of talks ready was not the only thing happening the past few weeks – we have also been preparing for the annual poster competition. This year we have a dedicated poster session at the conference where selected posters will be exhibited and you will have a chance to meet the creators and talk with them.

For more details on how to submit, see our Call for Posters.

Your poster could show how well your home region is mapped, it could be a beautiful new style or map. It might focus on a community project or statistics, it might be a poster explaining and inviting people to OpenStreetMap. What’s important, is we want it to be about OSM. We’re also welcoming academic posters about research around OpenStreetMap data.

You don’t have to attend SotM 2019 to submit a poster.

Early Bird Tickets

Early bird tickets are still available at the ticket sales web page. These prices are only available until the 21st of July, so get your ticket now!

SotM Organising Committee

Sign up for event updates and follow us @sotm!

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 in the UK 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 and you can support it by becoming a member. The State of the Map Organising Committee is one of our volunteer Working Groups.

Why your community should host State of the Map

Post by Gregory Marler on LivingWithDragons. Re-posted with permission.

The OpenStreetMap event of the year is “State of the Map” (SotM), an international conference run by the OpenStreetMap Foundation and I love being part of the organising committee that brings so many people to one place. We’re volunteers and it takes a lot of work and a lot of local knowledge throughout the year to organise a 400+ conference, so we ask for communities to bid to host it in their city/area. There’s support in overseeing what needs to be done, budgeting, and links with previous sponsors, but it relies on a full local team to join in the help. This led me to ask, why should your community host State of the Map?

The photographer takes a group photo of delegates and team at SotM 2018 (Italy)

It will use the skills of your community. The organisation work requires researching suppliers of booklet printing, catering, etc. It needs people to communicate with the venue and with our sponsors, even speakers and scholarship applications. There’s usually help needed with graphics and there’s space for people to suggest new ideas for the conference. During the event we need welcoming people, and people to keep the schedule running on time. There’s so many different things to do and they vary in how visible from them. I firmly believe the best way to appreciate individuals is to know they’ve dealt with an essential task or to encourage them to take on a task you think they’ll be good at.

Along with the conference, of course comes lots of knowledgeable people. In the talks and in the coffee break discussions you get to hear updates about OpenStreetMap, learn new things or get more detail from the experts and different communities. This is both for your local SotM team, as it’s encouraged to listen to the talks if you’re helping out, and it’s for your wider community of OSMers and newbies in the city/country/region. This can be a great chance for locals to attend SotM when they might not usually due to travel distance and barriers such as costs or visas.

Stickers at a SotM Scotland event in 2012

Don’t think about one weekend, as often the conference is a catalyst to have more local events. In the build up to SotM you’ll want to meet more often and you’ll get to know people who live near by. Hosting SotM has also led to more events following it as people want to continue the in-person sharing of knowledge and community. You might host extra events in collaboration with other organisations, in the past countries have even ended up having scenarios like “The month of maps”. I would encourage you to have had some community meetups before bidding for SotM, it gives you practice setting dates, communication, and venues.

Remember that OpenStreetMap is not about a conference. However, the conference helps us build new understanding. This can lead to new contributors joining OpenStreetMap (maybe getting more involved) and new uses of OpenStreetMap by being inspired and encouraged what others can do. You might want to invite local government or companies that are on the fence with deciding to use or release open data.

My last reason is that, it’s fun. We’re all a nice bunch of people really. There’s usually an organised social evening at SotM (we’ve had private tram tours, picnics in the park, a performance by Japanese drummers, all sorts). On the other nights the visiting mappers will look to your community team for advice on where to eat/drink and what are really the best nearby tourist sights. If you love your town, then you should love sharing the best bits and the secrets with the new friends you make.

What to do now? First of all, read the Call for Venues page, because that contains a lot better detail on what is needed to be ready and what is needed in your bid. I would suggest getting together a community that is interested in hosting, even if they have different levels of interest and different amounts of availability. Find a date to give about 2 weeks notice, find a place to meet like a coffee shop or a friendly office, and use various social media to invite local mappers to come and chat about State of the Map in your town. You might start writing the bid there (copy the example bid format), you might assign people to go away and research the different sections required.

Dinner and a drum performance at State of the Map 2017 (Japan)

You are very welcome to contact the SotM team early on, this might be once you’ve suggested it to your community it might be before that initial meeting I suggested. We want to help you out, and to help you with your bid. This could be linking you up with others nearby that have got in touch with us, or answering questions you have.

After the bids come in we get the challenge of choosing which bid will host SotM next year. It’s a difficult decision, and we’ve come to learn what will make the conference run smoothly. Don’t be disheartened if your bid is not selected. All that research and team building can be usefully adapted to running a smaller conference for your country or region (there’s a whole list of them). These won’t be an OSMF-run conference but the global team is still keen to assist in small ways. Often local/regional conferences contact us with their proposed dates before they announce, and find it helpful to know if they might clash with others (potentially causing less people to attend). Running a country-level conference can also show how well you can run an event, it could set you up well to bid for SotM in future years. I’d love to see some of the previous ones run on an international level, and it’s great to see more of these pop up.

The Call for Venues deadline is 30th August 2019.

Gregory Marler

Follow State of the Map @sotm!

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 in the UK 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. The State of the Map Organising Committee is one of our volunteer Working Groups.

Can you help the Operations Working Group?

The OSM Operations Working Group is a volunteer group, responsible for running of the servers owned by the OpenStreetMap Foundation. 
We are always keen to find new members and we are particularly looking for people who:

  • can analyse our server infrastructure
  • make plans
  • forecast future hardware needs
  • draw up budgets

This does involve a certain level of technical expertise but it’s not writing code, for example, and OWG membership doesn’t grant access to any of the servers – that’s for our Sysadmins. If you would like to join us, have a read of our membership policy, and please get in touch!

Some additional information:

  • OWG’s main communication channels are Github and email. We rarely have meetings.
  • Estimate of hours per week: 1-3

Email us at operations@osmfoundation.org
We are also on Twitter @OSM_Tech

If you have the technical expertise and experience to be a sysadmin, read our sysadmin membership policy and get in touch.