Category Archives: Local Chapters

Introducing the Belgium Local Chapter

Signing the Local Chapter agreement, during State of the Map 2018 in Milan. © CC-BY-SA 4.0 OSMF Communication Working Group

If you have followed the State of the Map news, you will know that OpenStreetMap Belgium has become the newest Local Chapter of the OpenStreetMap Foundation!

Introducing them, in their own words:

“OpenStreetMap Belgium started as a tiny group of mappers doing meetups. Over the years more and more people started showing up and with the increasing usage and visibility of OpenStreetMap it was time to start organizing ourselves better. The invitation from Open Knowledge Belgium to join them as a working group, giving us the structure we needed without all the overhead, came at the perfect time. From then until now we have been actively supporting OpenStreetMap by co-organizing FOSS4G Belgium, the Open Belgium yearly conference, meetups, mapathons and many other OSM related events. This all escalated a bit with the organizing of SotM in 2016, which was a great boost for our community. We are very happy to be able to join the OSMF as a local chapter and we hope we can have continued positive impact on the OpenStreetMap project both on a local level and internationally.

The OpenStreetMap Belgium chapter is for outreach. www.osm.be was built with this in mind. We offer free tiles for Belgium to help with the switch to OSM. We promote open source by doing projects with the Open Summer of Code, for example building a mapping tool that shows local government that their data was successfully integrated into OSM. We are also a “single point of contact” for people outside the community, making it easier for them to communicate with the project. At the same time, being an official voice helps to get the project be taken more seriously. As part of the wider OpenStreetMap movement, we try to support international friends in other countries – directly or through Missing Maps and related projects.”

We welcome them aboard!

Are you interested in establishing a Local Chapter? You might want to check the OSMF website and join the Local Chapters mailing list.

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 openstreetmap.de, 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, historic.place, 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 (openstreetmap.fr) 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 openstreetmap.fr 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

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 (osmuk.org) 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.