Category Archives: OSMF

Posts about organisation of the foundation. Working groups, the board, and other entities, and how we structure our organisation

OSMF Request for Proposals: Data Centre 2018

Photo by cosheahan on flickr. Licence: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Statement of Purpose

The OpenStreetMap Foundation (OSMF) Operations Working Group (OWG) is looking for proposals to provision space in a data centre to continue to run the OpenStreetMap (OSM) project’s infrastructure.

Background Information

OSMF is a nonprofit organisation dedicated to supporting, but not controlling, the OpenStreetMap project. OSMF created the OWG in order to support OSM’s technical infrastructure, including the main website, API, data distribution, community sites, and manage them for the benefit of the project.

The map data created by OpenStreetMap and distributed through ​OSMF​ is the best free global map available. It powers services all over the world, including for companies such as Apple, Foursquare, Craigslist and Mapbox. Ple​ase see​ for more background information.

Scope of Work

The data centre provider must meet the requirements set out below.



●  The data centre must be in the EU.
●  One rack (at least 40U) of space, at industry standard rack dimensions.
●  Power capacity at least 3kW w/ dual redundant supplies.
●  Cooling to keep the servers suitably cool, e.g: under 35 degrees celsius.
●  Secure cages, so that only access authorised by the data centre or OSMF is possible.
●  On-site “remote hands” to be able to receive and replace HDDs and press power buttons during weekday business hours and at least some service weekends and holidays.
●  Network connection capable of 1Gbit/s peak traffic and 500Mbit/s sustained.


●  Control over the configuration of any upstream firewalls for the purposes of ensuring necessary ports are open.
●  Good peering connection to major European backbone network. Ideally within 20ms of our existing sites on JANET.

Additional questions

Please provide detailed information on:
●  The procedure for shipping parts to the data centre, and
●  The procedure for raising a ticket for “remote hands” work, and
●  Whether “remote hands” would be available outside of business hours, and
●  The site’s uptime and network reachability over the past year, and
●  The procedure for an OSMF representative to visit and access the data centre.

Term of Agreement

The agreement would start on or before 1st April 2018 and run for a minimum of 3 years (at
OSMF’s option), preferably renewable annually or on a longer basis after that. Any renewal or
cancellation on either side would need a minimum notice period of 3 months.

Terms and Conditions

If you have Terms and conditions or Acceptable Use Policies then you should submit them in editable form for legal review, where possible. T&C/AUP changes should be expected to ensure we meet the privacy and security commitments required for our users.

Schedule, Evaluation and Award Process

This RFP is expected to be open until 28th February 2018. Only applications received prior to this date can be considered for this RFP. All proposals will be received in confidence and will be kept private.

After the date above, all proposals will be evaluated by the OWG against the requirements set out above, after which OWG may contact candidate sites with follow-up questions or to arrange site visits. The final agreement will require legal review and approval by the OSMF board.

OSMF particularly welcomes responses from anyone willing to support the work of the foundation at minimal cost.

The successful candidate will be publicly thanked on the main OSM project website as well as OWG websites in accordance with OWG’s Hosting Provider Credit Policy.

Points of Contact

Many thanks for your interest. If you have any questions or proposals, please send them to​.

OpenStreetMap Receives Large Donation from the Pineapple Fund!

Pineapple Party

We’re celebrating the generous donation from the Pineapple Fund to the OpenStreetMap Foundation. Party.

Only two weeks ago we were amazed to see a large bitcoin donation of over 2.3 BTCs, worth €30,000 (£27,000) and asked ourselves where this donation might originate from. There had been different ideas, but we’re still clueless.

Some suggested that this was the Pineapple Fund donating to us. But only today we learned it wasn’t them as we received a second donation, this time indeed from them. They sent us the amazing amount of 18 Bitcoins, currently worth over €200,000! Yay!

What is the Pineapple Fund?

The Pineapple Fund was created by an anonymous (privacy-loving) person that goes by the username Pine who invested in the really early days of Bitcoin, and is now one of the 250 richest bitcoin holders. They generously decided to establish the Pineapple Fund, as “once you have enough money, money doesn’t matter” and to donate $86 million worth of Bitcoins to all kind of charitable organizations. Read more about their mission statement on If you scroll down a bit you’ll find a list of organizations that already got a donation and the list now contains our project as well. They also link to different news covering their story.

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and an innovative digital payment network which started back in 2009. It is based on cryptography to secure any payments and has a public ledger to document any payments made. As it is based on a public peer-to-peer network, anyone can participate and no central server or instance is needed.

Bitcoin received broader media attention lately as the fiat exchange rates have risen by some hundreds of percents last year, making one Bitcoin worth more than €10,000 as of today.

For more details you may want to have a look at, which also features a nice introductory video.

Why OpenStreetMap?

The Pineapple Fund explained on reddit that “$250k go to OpenStreetMap, because geographic data for our world should be freely available, without restrictions”. OpenStreetMap was started because most maps you think of as free actually have legal or technical restrictions on their use, holding back people from using them in creative, productive, or unexpected ways. We aim to make the best map data set of the world, read the OpenStreetMap Foundation’s mission statement.

Thank you!

A big thank you to the anonymous donor two weeks ago and a special thank you to the Pineapple Fund, both generously supporting our project!

You can help OpenStreetMap too

If you’re considering donating yourself, here’s our Bitcoin address! You can donate via other methods. You can also help by mapping! Go to, create a free account and start mapping your neighbourhood. Let’s make the best map of the world together!

New German Local Chapter FOSSGIS e.V.

We’re excited to welcome our latest local chapter, FOSSGIS e.V. from Germany. FOSSGIS e.V. has been around since 2001; they started out as an association of GRASS users and gradually widened their objectives to include the advancement of all open source and open data in GIS. “FOSSGIS e.V.” stands for Free & Open Source Software Geographic Information Systems (plus “eingetragener Verein” meaning “registered association”)

FOSSGIS e.V. have provided support to the German OpenStreetMap community since 2008. They run the domain, handle inquiries from German users of OpenStreetMap, and run a couple of services that are of great use to OSM in Germany and beyond, like a development server or the Overpass API servers. OpenStreetMap is also a major topic at the yearly FOSSGIS conference, usually filling a whole lecture track by itself.

FOSSGIS e.V. run their own micro-grant programme which has been put to various OSM-related uses in the past, like financial support for various kinds of meetups or niche projects (OpenFireMap,, the German OpenStreetMap podcast, and others).

Group photo from the last FOSSGIS conference in Passau, Germany

Unlike most other OSMF local chapters, FOSSGIS e.V. has not been incorporated solely for that purpose. They do other things unrelated to OpenStreetMap, for example supporting projects like QGIS, GRASS, deegree, and their respective communities and meetups, or doing work focused on making Open Source GIS software popular in universities. They are also a local chapter of OSGeo.

We’re looking forward to a prosperous collaboration with FOSSGIS e.V.!

Welcome OpenStreetMap France

OpenStreetMap FranceWe’d like to welcome OpenStreetMap France ( as an official OpenStreetMap Foundation Local Chapter.

OpenStreetMap France was established back in 2011 as an independent non-profit voluntary association, and over the years they have achieved great things, including organising hosting (with some funding and donated resources) of some important services, not just for the French users, but for the global OpenStreetMap ecosystem:

Of course they also host the website, for which a new version is under development, and a French-speaking forum, and they support projects like OpenLevelUp, Caribe Wave/HAND, and Jungle Bus.

But beyond hosting things, they’re also a general advocacy organisation for OpenStreetMap in France, seeking to liaise with other associations, citizens, local governments, small and big companies, national mapping agency, postal services and anyone seeking an entry point within the OSM project and community.

A few months ago they were formally recognised as a OpenStreetMap Foundation Local Chapter.

Benoit Fournier is signing the Local Chapter agreement

Benoît Fournier of the OSM France and Ilya Zverev of the OSMF Board are signing the Local Chapters Agreement at FOSS4G Europe 2017 in Paris, photo by Jody Garnett with license CC-BY,

Additionally an OSMF Advisory Board seat was accepted by Christian Quest from OpenStreetMap France.

This makes five local chapters formally established by the foundation, and there are more to come!

If you’d like to know more about OpenStreetMap France, contact them directly or discuss with the community on the ‘talk-fr’ mailing list. Or if you’d like to meet face-to-face, check out the SotM-France local conference. Now in its 6th year, in 2018 it will be taking place in Bordeaux June 1st-3rd

OpenStreetMap receives $25,000 Grant from American Red Cross

The OpenStreetMap Foundation is very excited to announce that the American Red Cross extended OSMF an USD 25,000 grant for purchasing hardware to support the ongoing resilience of the OSM platform infrastructure. The funds were allocated towards the purchase and provisioning of a ‘hot’ backup database failover server – which has been purchased and is currently humming along doing its important job! This trail-blazing contribution will ensure that we can recover from site failures quickly and with the minimum amount of disruption for those editing the map. This is a big step forward in platform resiliency that we otherwise would not have been able to make at this time.

American Red Cross and OpenStreetMap

The American Red Cross has steadily ramped up its support for OpenStreetMap. Indentifying OSM as a source of up-to-date map data crucial to their international disaster field operations, they quickly developed into a major contributor to OSM, through their own work, support of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT), and most recently through their Missing Maps initiative, to which around 10% of all OSM map contributions can now be attributed. The American Red Cross has also supported OpenStreetMap through app development and sponsorship of State of the Map conferences.

If you are interested in the technical specifications of this new server, please see here.

We want to say a big Thank You to the American Red Cross and we hope that more organisations which use OSM data will be inspired to strengthen the OSMF infrastructure and support our great project! If you are interested in donating to the OpenStreetMap Foundation, please get in touch with us at

About The OpenStreetMap Foundation

The OpenStreetMap Foundation is a not-for-profit organization, formed in the UK to support the OpenStreetMap Project. It is dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free geospatial data and to providing geospatial data for anyone to use and share. The OpenStreetMap Foundation owns and maintains the infrastructure of the OpenStreetMap project. You can support OpenStreetMap by becoming a member, donating or joining our volunteer Working Groups.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters in the US; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. In 2017 alone, the American Red Cross sent humanitarian aid to 26 countries to help save lives in the aftermath of disasters. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. Visit of more information.

Welcome 254 new members to the OpenStreetMap Foundation

Welcome to Foundation! We have cake 🙂 (2011 OpenStreetMap Anniversary Birthday party celebration in Toronto)

In September, we asked you to raise your hand and join the OpenStreetMap Foundation. And the OpenStreetMap community responded like never before.

During the membership drive, 254 new members joined the OSMF. An additional 100 people decided to renew their membership. This is the largest increase in membership in the history of the Foundation. This strong response shows us the value of active promotion of the role of the Foundation in the OSM community.

We are very excited to see the energy and enthusiasm of all our members. There are many ways to get involved.


Welcome OpenStreetMap UK

Catching up on news from SoTM in Japan, we have a couple of new local chapter announcements. Firstly, welcome OpenStreetMap United Kingdom!

Signing of the OSMUK Local Chapter Agreement at State Of The Map 2017 in Japan.
Left to right: Frederik Ramm, Ilya Zverev, Jon Harley, Rob Nickerson, Gregory Marler, Paul Norman, Martijn van Exel

This new local chapter organisation, like others, is a formal registered organisation (in this case a UK “Community Interest Company”) setting out with the mission to further the interests of OpenStreetMap, working with the OSMF, but focussed on this particular territory.

Their documented aims are to…

  • Increase the quality and quantity of data about the UK in OpenStreetMap.
  • Improve and increase the size, skills, toolsets and cohesion of the OpenStreetMap community in the United Kingdom.
  • Promote and facilitate the use of OpenStreetMap data by individuals and organisations in the United Kingdom.
  • Promote and facilitate the release by organisations in the United Kingdom of data that is suitable for use in OpenStreetMap.

The United Kingdom was the birthplace of the OpenStreetMap project, and has been home to a registered organisation for a long time now; the OpenStreetMap Foundation itself! But the OSMF is global in scope, and is these days very globally distributed in terms of membership, contributors, and resources. The UK community has also, for long time, had a dedicated mailing list, irc channel, and forum, but until recently, no formal organisation to support it. OSMUK is getting set-up with a web page ( and will be tackling the UK’s specific flavour of community building and government/industry engagement challenges. See also
Why our Local Chapter status matters
on the OSMUK blog.

If you’re in the UK OpenStreetMap community you should join OSM UK! and also join in with discussions happening on their new loomio group.

OSMUK was not the only local chapter to be formally signed on at the conference. Stay tuned for another announcement! If you’d like to know more about setting up local chapters, check out the Local Chapters page.

Join the OpenStreetMap Foundation now and help shape the future of the project

Raise your hand if you like OpenStreetMap.

Now, raise your hand if you’re an OpenStreetMap Foundation member.

If you care enough to edit day in day out, travel to a State of the Map conference, write up your thoughts on a diary entry, teach someone to map — then you should join up to support OSMF and help shape the future of the project.

You’ll have an official voice in the governance of the Foundation — the organization which owns and maintains the servers, holds the license, runs the State of the Map, coordinates local chapters. As OSM grows, the influence of OSMF will rise in the future. Anyone whose heart beats for OSM should get involved in OSMF to safeguard the huge time investment they make as a mapper.

We’re running a membership drive from now until November 11. If you aren’t a Member, sign up now. You can help by liking, retweeting, or spreading the word about the Membership Drive to friends or at local events/conferences.

Would you like to join but currently there is no suitable money transfer facility? A membership fee waiver policy will be implemented soon – stay tuned!

You can also contribute by joining the Membership Working Group or sharing with it your ideas about expanding the membership.

Join the Foundation – the future of the project should be shaped by the people who care about it the most.

DWG survey on organised editing

The Data Working Group is conducting a survey as part of its work on a policy covering paid mapping.

When OpenStreetMap started, it was largely a project of hobbyists contributing to OSM in their spare time. They chose freely what to map and which tools to use, and they took individual responsibility for their contributions.

The continuing growth and popularity of OSM have also brought more and more organised mapping efforts, mostly in the form of companies setting up paid data teams to improve OSM data in specific regions or for specific use cases, but also unpaid groups like school classes that are directed to work on OSM.

These organised mapping efforts are an integral part of today’s OSM contribution landscape and, when done well, help make OSM better and more widely known.

In order to ensure good communication, and a level playing field, between individual community members and organised editing groups, the OSMF Data Working Group has been tasked with developing guidelines for organised groups. These guidelines will above all set out some transparency requirements for organised groups – things that are already voluntarily followed by most groups today, like informing the mapping community about which accounts edit for the team.

We have prepared the following survey with a few questions about such a policy to give us a better understanding of what the mapping community expects from such a policy. The survey is aimed at everyone editing (or planning to edit) in OSM, whether as individual mappers or as part of a team, and your answers will help us in fleshing out a draft policy.

Within the scope of the survey, and the policy to be written, we define paid mapping (or paid editing) as any editing in OSM performed by someone who is told by a third party what to map (and potentially also how to map it) and who receives money in exchange. We define other organised mapping (or editing) as any editing that is also steered by a third party, but where no money is paid.

The survey is available at

The OSMF Data Working Group

Summary of Board’s Face-to-Face Meeting

Better late than never, I want to share my thoughts and the topics discussed at the OSMF board’s annual Face-to-Face meeting in May this year.

We met on the 20th and the 21st of May in Amsterdam at the same location as last year. Martijn and Mikel made a quick survey and put considerable time into compiling an agenda for the weekend for us. This year we also had Dorothea, our administrative assistant who helped us keep time and took notes during the meeting for us.

Board members still smiling after a hard day of work

We discussed many topics and I will try to share them with you. I will focus on topics which I believe will be of particular interest to the community, but I’ll also include issues and impressions I simply found interesting myself.

Welcome Mat

Saturday started of with a session about how to define the “OSM community” which was more about knowing where each other stands. This led to the question about the community’s or the board’s relation to “corporate stakeholders” as well. Although I had the impression that we had quite different views on it and I felt a bit like an extremist, this was quite a productive discussion and in a follow up working session we developed a first draft for a “Welcome Mat”. This will be something for organizations and companies to read to familiarise themselves with the project, the community and especially to learn about the expectations we have and the responsibilities they have. The current plan is to compile the main points into a draft to share in July.

Sticky notes everywhere


A planned program for microgrants was the focus of a second large working session on Saturday. You might know similar programs from e.g. OSM-US, HOT or FOSSGIS. As a start and as a first trial we want to make a time-bound program where you can apply for microgrants until a specific date. We discussed many of the details like the budget, the set of applicants, a rough timeline and the need for a committee to help on with the selection and to provide some kind of “supervision”. We plan to have a dedicated blog post and more details coming soon, in August this year.

Working Groups and Volunteers

Sunday started off with a topic that I expected to be highly controversial: Working Groups and their role with regard to the board. But I was proven wrong. We talked about and discussed the scope of each working group, their (potential) needs and their relation to the OSMF board. It was quite interesting as almost every working group has at least one board member in its ranks.

One very obvious theme from our discussion about working groups is the lack of volunteers. Let me add a personal thought here: We have quite a few people running for the OSMF board each year with many great ideas. As the board is mainly assisting, you can achieve something more easily by actually joining a working group and not the board! Anyway, one of our working sessions on Sunday was dedicated to a “volunteer drive”. We run successful money donation drives but money cannot always be used to buy time. So, we really need more volunteers to help run our project, which is why we want to try and run a volunteer drive next year. If you can’t wait that long: Go on and join one of our great working groups now! 🙂

Rapid Fire

We had a couple of rapid fire sessions where each of us could name a topic they are personally interested in. Mine was about our need to properly explain why we need or want an administrative assistant. To make our decision more transparent, we plan to fully disclose the scope of the job’s duties and hope to demonstrate why we think it’s worth spending money on some administrative tasks instead of doing it ourselves or searching for volunteers. In a similar vein, Frederik asked about the others’ thoughts on putting financial tasks into professional hands. One reason, for example, is that it’s a major pain for new board members to get access to our bank account. Furthermore, we talked about an updated travel policy which is scheduled to be drafted in August. We mostly asked what and whom we do fund and up to which amount. One side aspect was to pay Kate’s travel to the SotM-Asia 2017 where she will be the keynote speaker.

Other than that we had a talk about a corporate editing policy, something the DWG has been tasked with and I guess you’ll see a public community survey on that topic soon.


Cute Baby-Alpaca
(c) Zenalpaca, Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0

Sadly, not many community members had the time to join our planned evening with the local community on Saturday. I still had the opportunity for some interesting private conversations, though: I know a lot more now about growing tomatoes and raising goats and I would recommend anyone with a farm to get some alpacas. 🙂

But we didn’t meet for fun, but for work: It was a friendly and productive meeting and – given the financial outcome of last year (read: the corporate membership program) – it didn’t feel so bad to spend some money on the meeting. We don’t have tangible results to show yet, but that was not the goal: The meeting was about discussion and offered an opportunity to talk about various issues that would be hard or impossible to tackle via the mailing list or on mumble. In order to not let that time go to waste, it’s now important to follow up on those topics. That’s why we ended our meeting with a “Mapping Where from Here” session to produce a schedule with follow-up tasks and a timeline describing what we would like to be finished when. So I hope you’ll hear more about the microgrant program and the welcome mat soon. Stay tuned! 😉