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.
- 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 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:
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 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.
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.