Thanks to the support of corporate donors, the OpenStreetMap Foundation has been able to hire its first employee, who is starting on 1 May 2022. Grant Slater and Guillaume Rischard, the Foundation’s chairman, sat down for a virtual chat.
Hi! I’m Grant Slater, and I’m the new Senior Site Reliability Engineer (SRE) working for the OpenStreetMap Foundation. I’m originally from South Africa, and now live in London (UK) with my wife Ingrida and our son Richard.
I’ve been mapping since 2006, mostly in the Southern Africa and in the United Kingdom. I have a strong interest in mapping the rail network of South Africa; holidays “back home” often involve booking railway trips across the country, with a GPS in hand.
My latest toy is an RTK GPS base station and rover. I’ll soon be mapping my neighbourhood with centimetre-level accuracy.
For the last 15 years, I’ve been part of the volunteer OpenStreetMap Operations Team who install and maintain the servers and infrastructure which runs the OpenStreetMap.org website and many other related services.
My main objective will be helping improve the reliability and security of the project’s technology and infrastructure.
One of my goals will be to improve the project’s long-term stability as we grow. OWG can’t work without volunteers, and I will be improving the Operation Team’s bus factor by also improving our processes, documentation, and by smoothing the path to onboarding new team members.
I will be helping to drive forward modernising the project’s infrastructure by reducing complexity, paying-down technical debt, and reducing our need to maintain undifferentiated heavy lifting, by tactically using Cloud and SaaS services, where suitable.
With time, I would like to see OpenStreetMap introduce new tools and services to improve our mappers’ access to opted-in passively collected data to improve the mappers’ ability to map and detect change.
Gamification! OpenStreetMap should always remain a fun and gratifying experience for all. We’re building an invaluable and unique dataset with far-reaching consequences for which we should be incredibly proud. Happy Mapping!
I would like to hear your feedback and suggestions, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Grant gave a talk at State of the Map US (2013) – OSM Core Architecture and DevOps and is hoping to give an updated talk at State of the Map 2022 in Florence, Italy 19–21 August 2022.