Category Archives: Board

The Foundation board

Highlights from the OSMF Board Spring 2024 Meeting

The OpenStreetMap Foundation (OSMF) Board of Directors recently convened for a Face-to-Face (F2F) strategy meeting, and we wanted to provide you all with an update!

We met on April 27th and 28th in Frankfurt in person, and for some of us, it was our first time ever meeting in person.

The meeting allowed us to discuss and refine strategies, foster deeper connections, and become more effective in serving the OSM community. By coming together in person, we were able to cultivate a deeper understanding of each other’s perspectives, refine our communication strategies, and focus on the most pressing priorities facing the OSMF.

Over the busy weekend, we were fortunate to have the guidance of our trusted facilitator, Gunner, who helped us navigate through discussions and prioritize our action items. He helped us communicate better, refocus on what really matters, and prioritize our many tasks and goals. With his guidance, we were able to make the most out of our time together and tackle important issues head-on. With his support, we not only stimulated our internal operations but also laid a solid foundation for more effective engagement with the OSM Community.

By coming together, we were able to address challenges more efficiently, brainstorm innovative solutions, and lay the groundwork for future initiatives. As we move forward, the Board is excited and motivated to share the progress of our action items with the community. While some of these initiatives will yield results in the short term, others may require more time to fully come to fruition. Nevertheless, we are committed to transparency and accountability, and we look forward to celebrating our achievements together with you all, the community.

You read more about some of our discussions and actions from the meeting on the OSMF website (here).

We’re incredibly grateful for the opportunity to meet F2F and strengthen our bonds. And we’re not stopping here! Looking ahead, we are eagerly anticipating our next in-person engagement at this year’s State of the Map in Nairobi. This event will provide another invaluable opportunity for us to connect with each other, and most importantly with members of the OSM community, exchange ideas, and continue our collaborative efforts to make OpenStreetMap the best it can be.


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.

The OpenStreetMap Foundation Board looks ahead to 2024

2024 is already moving fast. The new OSMF Board is working hard, digging into their focus areas, and implementing the strategic plan. Following the “tradition” of the collective post in 2023, here are a few sentences from each of the Board members on where they want to contribute in 2023.

We welcome your input and participation. Contact us directly or, if you are an OSMF Member, join our monthly Board meeting.

Arnalie

Last year comes by so fast. I am not so proud of what I have accomplished as a board member as I have had some health challenges. It was a learning experience (the success and failures) for me!

This year, I will continue efforts to engage, grow and diversify the OpenStreetMap community, this includes:

  • Building more local chapters
    • Last year, we have revised the Local Chapters page to clearly state eligibilities and document that are required to submit. In addition; LCCWG is taking the lead role to review applications for potential local chapters as well as taking proactive steps to encourage communities to apply.
    • This year, we hope to establish 1-3 new local chapters especially in regions where there is no or less established local chapters. Our newest board member Dani will be my partner on this!
    • To learn more about OSMF Local Chapters and how to apply: https://osmfoundation.org/wiki/Local_Chapters
  • Growing and diversifying OSMF membership
    • Run a membership drive at first to second quarter of the year with volunteer team and community leaders
    • Review OSMF WGs, their goals, processes, operations, etc to provide a baseline how to encourage more participation in OSMF WGs
    • Review Active Contributor Membership application – ensuring that criteria are fit for people who it wish to benefit
    • Exposure to local communities and community projects through community presentation during OSMF board meetings
    • Revitalise the Diversity and Inlusion Committee to ensure that it is still fit for purpose and membership makeup/activeness
  • Ensuring OSMF’s support to regional and national SotMs (more on this)
  • Representing OSMF in various events/conferences to extend our reach (outside OSM, other open communities) and listen to local communities

More on this in my OSM diary: community in the map and at the table: my first year and continuing plans as OSMF board member

If you would like to talk and discuss about community, reach out to me arnalie[at]osmfoundation[dot]org or send me a message (https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/arnalielsewhere)

Craig

When I first joined the Board I had never seen inside of the OSMF organisation so I initially wanted to fix some obvious external problems. But I now hold the post of Secretary and Chair of the Finance committee which has led me to be far more focused on the internal problems that impact on the operations of the Foundation. I am now putting in a lot of effort to improve systems and guide the foundation towards a future where members, corporate members, donors and data users speak of the OSM Foundation as a well managed, highly effective organisation that has a clear view of how it wants to develop in the next decade. My stress is not on making the Foundation bigger, but rather on making it much better at what it already does and then making sure that people know that it is better.

Dani

I am thrilled and grateful to embark on this journey as a member of the Board of the OpenStreetMap Foundation, representing YOU. The opportunity to contribute to such a dynamic and impactful community is both humbling and exhilarating. As I step into this role, I acknowledge that I have much to learn, and I eagerly anticipate the wealth of knowledge and experience that the community members will teach me. My primary goals for this year revolve around fostering a stronger sense of unity within the community, amplifying our fundraising efforts to ensure the sustainability of our initiatives, and serving as a dedicated liaison for all members of the OpenStreetMap community. I approach these objectives with humility and determination, understanding that collaboration and inclusivity are paramount to our success. I am genuinely excited to immerse myself in this vibrant community, to forge meaningful connections, and to work together towards our shared vision of empowering people through open mapping.

Guillaume

2024 will be a pivot year for the OSMF, and as board chairperson, my focus is on making sure that the big changes we have coming up happen smoothly.

The most exciting change will be vector tiles. We will be trying to have about one blog post each month throughout the year as our project progresses. You can already read our first one or play with Paul’s demo.

Our move to the EU is another interesting shift that we will be working on. Brexit has made our life in the UK too complicated, and while a move represents a lot of work, it’s something we have to do. While I have had very promising talks with officials from Luxembourg, we’re also looking at Belgium. Ease of doing business, community presence, OpenStreetMap usage, and financial and non-financial incentives all play a role.

This year is the first year when will work under our new budgeting system, letting us easily link every expenditure to the budget. This means we will get better at showing where your donations are going: it’s not only spreadsheets and numbers, but about trust and accountability. It has been the product of a lot of work, started back when I was OSMF treasurer. This will help us fundraise more effectively.

Fundraising is, indeed, an area where we need to work more to be able to achieve our goals. Some of the largest OSM data users don’t contribute at all to keeping it running. We have mostly fundraised from large tech companies (thank you!), and must also expand to other sectors that are part of our ecosystem, including governments, humanitarian NGOs and transit companies, to increase our income’s resilience against market cycles.

Attribution is another key area. It’s not about ego; it’s about creating a funnel for the virtuous circle that improves the map. Our copyright page is the single largest landing page on our site, and due for a revamp, transforming it into a recruitment tool for new mappers and donors rather than just a legal necessity.

Major vandalism incidents in Israel and Ukraine marked us in 2023. We have patched the most vulnerable spots ad hoc, and managed to discourage the vandals. If we could more easily moderate what gets submitted before it hits the API, we would address a core vulnerability and improve data quality. I’m picturing an auto-moderation engine for which DWG could write rules, like an email filter. It would, of course, be a major engineering project and require careful planning.

Improving the reliability of our operations is one of the most rewarding long-term projects. By improving many things a little bit at a time, we’re reducing the areas where our infrastructure is at risk from a single failure. If any of the open tickets inspires you, please help us out.

I have for the last few years worked to encourage the OSMF to hire more staff – we have enough work for a dozen people if we can get the funding. Managing our operations and projects has long been too much for volunteers to handle. I would like to make progress on hiring an executive director for the OSMF to be able to work on ideas like this full time.

These goals suffer not from a lack of vision or talent, but a lack of hands and time. If you care about making these happen, please donate, or join one of our working groups.

Mateusz

Since the start of my activity as an OSMF board member, a bit more than a year ago, I have spent in a total of 390 hours on various OSMF-specific work. Recently it was budgeting discussions but earlier also for example work on ensuring that OpenStreetMap is attributed when required, coordinating contact between organisers of upcoming SotM-EU and memebers of working groups, getting community feedback into strategic plan and various communication – with community in general, working groups and members of both. And a lot of discussions/meetings.

Currently, I am thinking about how the budgeting process can be improved for the next year, based on how it went this year.
I will work further on encouraging to attribute OpenStreetMap, as required by our license.
I also want to spend some time on making clear how we spend money and how we will spend it with more funds raised – both to make clear to the community what is happening with our funds and to encourage potential donors to help us fund cases where smartly spending money can help OpenStreetMap.

I also want to thank for all the work done – by all mappers, people helping as part of working group or without a defined structure, other board members, people who donated money, people who have released various software making it easier to edit or use OpenStreetMap data. And people who use OpenStreetMap data in various interesting and useful ways.

Roland

The volunteers of the Foundation heard in the past years loud and clearly the expectation to get longstanding software work done – on top of maintaining a stable platform including the responsibility for your SRE. For example, vector tiles on osm.org are no longer a vision, but now work in progress.

The board’s job within that framework is to ensure the funding for all of these goals. The board has heard loud and clearly the message last year that there is open homework despite the absoutely honorable mission. Alan Mustard’s keynote at the SotM EU has given a good overview what alreadly is done and what still is ongoing work.

The board will organize finances in a way such that they look much more familiar to people who are used to donate to benevolent causes. And thus the finances also become more transparent to our community than ever has been asked for! I’m very happy that Guillaume has convinced Harrison to bring his expertise in finances of non-profits to OpenStreetMap. The board has started to set up a budget, will maintain a forecast, and seek close communication with the working groups to assure both financial reliability and ensure the working groups can focus on their maximum contribution towards the Foundation’s mission to support OpenStreetMap.

Sarah

This year in the OSMF board has started with intense discussions on budget and spending. Fundraising for all the activities necessary to advance the strategic plan will still be an important task for 2024. But there are other things to organise around that: defining the rules for our financial management, getting some project management in place and learning how to work with our contractors. Last year I’ve also started looking into the practical steps of moving the OSMF into the EU and will continue to work on that throughout the year. Finally, we are celebrating our 20th birthday and I hope to see everybody in Nairobi at SotM to celebrate together.

FOSSGIS e.V. Commits to Annual Support of OpenStreetMap

The German chapter of OpenStreetMap, FOSSGIS e.V., has voted unanimously to a commitment providing annual financial support to the OpenStreetMap foundation. This is a first-of-its-kind decision for an OpenStreetMap local chapter, reflective of the German OSM community’s relatively large size and financial resources, as well as its strong commitment to the OSM project.


With our large OSM community and many OSM users in Germany FOSSGIS e.V. sees our responsibility to help the global OSM community where we can.

–Jörg Thomsen, chairperson of the FOSSGIS board of directors

No fixed amount has been set by the membership; instead, the FOSSGIS board will set the amount each year, depending on their capabilities and the OSMF’s needs. At its meeting on December 5th the board decided that the contribution for 2023 and 2024 will be 5,000 EUR each.

FOSSGIS e.V. is already a long term supporter of the worldwide OSM community: they run several services open to everyone, including Overpass API, a tile server, routing services (Valhalla and OSRM, which are both directly available from www.osm.org) and others. Learn more about FOSSGIS.



The FOSSGIS community supports OpenStreetMap in countless ways. Direct financial support for the work of the OSM Foundation is above and beyond, and deeply appreciated.

Mikel Maron, OSMF board member and advisory committee coordinator

As a recognized local chapter of the OSMF, FOSSGIS Germany is not obligated to support the OSMF, nor is the OSMF obligated to support FOSSGIS. Local communities are diverse in size, scope and mission, and as such, exist independently from the OSMF and are not required to make any financial contribution to the OSM project. (You can learn more about local communities by reading this blog post or reading this FAQ )

However, a shared love of mapping and free and open source software and data means that OSM local communities and the OSMF are committed to collaborating in every possible way to advance the OpenStreetMap project. The OSMF is very grateful to FOSSGIS for their commitment and contributions!


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.

Microsoft Pledges $150k to Support OpenStreetMap

The OpenStreetMap Foundation Board is delighted to announce a $150k gift from Microsoft to benefit the OpenStreetMap project and community. This substantive support will go directly to the improvement of OSM operations and infrastructure, as well as to funding OSM community activities such as local, regional, and global State of the Map events.

At Microsoft, we are fully committed to supporting OpenStreetMap, not only through financial contributions but also by fully embracing and encouraging open map data and actively participating in the community via volunteering and development efforts.

-Marko Panić, Principal Lead Product Manager at Microsoft

The funds from this gift will be allocated in the following ways:

Importantly, Microsoft supports OSM through ‘in-kind’ gifts, as well as monetary contributions. It has donated technical expertise and engineering resources; helped build awareness of the importance of OSM amongst other companies, nonprofits, and other entities; and played an important consulting role on the OSM Advisory board.

The OSM Advisory Board is a unique group within the OSM community that brings companies and local communities together.  It builds positive connections between companies who use and contribute to OSM and the local communities who know the local guidelines, spearhead development projects, and bring OSM mappers together through education and events.

— Mikel Maron, OSMF Board Member

Microsoft, through its representatives, donations, and other help, has provided significant support for the maintenance of the iD editor, is working on improvements to OSM’s sign-up flow, and has introduced OSM to a wider user base through Bing’s Map builder.  The OSMF board is grateful for the many contributions to the success of OpenStreetMap.

The OSMF welcomes in-kind support, as well as financial support for OSM’s technical development, operations, and community: 


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 a very small core staff are the primary support for the OpenStreetMap project. Join the OpenStreetMap Foundation for just £15 a year or for free if you are an active OpenStreetMap contributor.

OSM Foundation Announces New Membership Guidelines for Corporate Sponsorship

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.

Highlights include:

  • 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 ability to engage with companies who use and improve OSM is a valuable source of insight in our planning and operations. We especially appreciate companies 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 for the long term.” –Mikel Maron, OSMF board member

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:  

See a complete list of OSM Corporate Members

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 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 mappers also help millions of people through hundreds of humanitarian use cases

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. 

Learn more about the financial governance of the OSMF

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.

OSM Foundation board elections 2023

The OpenStreetMap logo, with text "OpenStreetMap Foundation" on the right

The members of the OpenStreetMap Foundation (OSMF) will vote to elect a new board in December. Voting will start on 2 December 2023 at 16:00 UTC and the results will be announced on 9 December 2023, during the 2023 Annual General Meeting.

Available seats in this election

There will be at least three board seats available in this election: of Guillaume Rischard, Mikel Maron and Roland Olbricht, whose board terms are ending. Meanwhile, the terms of Arnalie Vicario, Craig Allan, Mateusz Konieczny and Sarah Hoffmann will continue. There are seven seats on the foundation board.

Please note that Guillaume Rischard and Roland Olbricht have decided to rerun. Mikel Maron cannot rerun, according to the Foundation’s Articles of Association. All board members are volunteers.

Who has the right to vote

All normal members [1] and associate members [2] (including members who joined via the active contributor membership program) have the right to vote provided that:

  • they are a member or associate member throughout the period of 90 days prior to the date on which the meeting is held; and
  • their membership account is not in arrears 7 days prior to the date on which the general meeting is held and
  • they are a natural person (human).
[1] Normal members provide their full residential address and can vote on all General Meeting resolutions. Their residential address may be disclosed to other members.
[2] Associate members provide just their country of residence - which may also be disclosed to other members - and can vote - but not on all General Meeting resolutions. Additionally, they cannot be board candidates.

Please note that “90 days” means that the start date of your current membership has to be before the beginning of Sunday 10 September 2023 in UTC, if the Annual General Meeting takes place on 9 December 2023, as scheduled.

If you want to vote and you have an OSM Foundation membership which ends before the 2023 General Meeting, please make sure to renew it in advance. To find the end date of your membership, or the type, you can check the email you received during your previous membership renewal. If you can’t find the email, or have not received the automatic reminder about membership renewal, you could also ask the volunteers of the Membership Working Group.

Board rules, responsibilities and why run

Please read the links on the OSM wiki to find out about the board rules, responsibilities and why run.

A lot of the foundation’s work is done by the volunteers of our working groups, and if you want to help the Foundation, you can also look at joining those.

A few of the current and past board members have mentioned that the thought of being a board candidate did not cross their mind until it was suggested to them. So, you might want to think if you’d like to run for the board or to suggest being a candidate to others.

Eligibility criteria for board candidates

Any person may be elected to become a board member, provided that:

  • They are normal OSMF members 28 days before the General Meeting, and
  • they have been a normal member or associate member during the full 180 days [3] before the General Meeting, and
  • are willing to act as a board member, and
  • are permitted by law to do so.
[3] 180 days: OSMF membership start date before 12 June 2023, if the Annual General Meeting takes place on 9 December 2023, as scheduled. 

If you are an Associate member and you satisfy the rest of the criteria, it is possible to change your membership type to Normal. Please contact the volunteers of the Membership Working Group and provide your residential address.

Resolutions proposed by OSM Foundation members

OSM Foundation members can submit resolutions and ask the membership to vote on them. The resolutions need to be supported by at least 5% of members eligible to vote [4], in order to be added to the ballots. Please read: Companies Act 2006: Members’ power to require circulation of written resolution. The deadline for providing the supported resolutions will probably be 25 October 2023. Please check the key dates on the OSM wiki in the coming weeks (link below).

[4] If the vote would take place today, you would need the support of at least 76 OSMF members eligible to vote. Please note that this number will change.

Resources about the 2023 board election and Annual General Meeting

The main two pages that will be enriched in the coming weeks with information about the 2023 board election and the Annual General Meeting are:

If you are an OSM Foundation member, you can also keep an eye on osmf-talk (the OSMF members’ mailing list) for updates. As an OSMF member, you can register to osmf-talk here (please use the email address associated with your OSMF membership) and the archive of the mailing list is here.

If you would like to read how the election process usually works, you can check the pages for the previous election on the OSM wiki and the OSMF website.

About the OpenStreetMap Foundation

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.

For Community Consultation: OSMF Strategic Plan V. 2

As part of our work over the past three months, the OSM Foundation Board has been revising the OSMF Strategic Plan. We are now sharing a rewritten version for feedback from OSMF members and the OSM community.

You can find the latest version here. Please provide your ideas and inputs via the Community Forum or on the mailing list

Highlights: 

Previous rounds of feedback on earlier versions have been very helpful in shaping where we are now. You will see many changes in the document. 

  • The plan starts with a preamble that gives a big picture overview of where we are now and where we need to go.
  • The plan retains the four clusters around which the OSMF Board organizes its work: technical infrastructure, community development, institutional development and financial governance
  • Within these clusters, there is a set of goals and some mention of major actions. More importantly there is an indication of which part of OSMF is responsible for developing and seeing the actions through.
  • Overall the plan is more concise and, we think, more clear, providing a solid basis for understanding the OSMF’s work.

What’s next? 

We will review feedback on an ongoing basis for the next three weeks, followed by a discussion at the Board’s September mid-month chat. We will then make additional revisions based on feedback, with the ambition to adopt the plan at the September Board meeting on September 21, 2023.

We look forward to hearing from you, and thanks to all who have participated in this process!


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. You can make a gift to support the work of OpenStreetMap at supporting.openstreetmap.org

Starting 2023 on the OSMF Board

In January, the new OSMF board met to discuss the work each of us wants to drive forward in 2023. What emerged was an initial, work in progress agenda for the year, with a good distribution of focus areas. Below are a few sentences directly from each of us on what we are thinking and how and where we want to contribute in 2023.

We welcome your input and participation. Contact us directly or, if you are an OSMF Member, join our monthly Board meeting. We will continue to develop and refine our ideas, including in a half day screen to screen session, soon.

Mikel:

Fundraising is my top priority, to support our core staff and infrastructure in a sustainable way. We will have dedicated fundraising campaigns across diversified sources including community small donors, public and private grants, and corporate sector engagement. Secondly, I will focus on making OSMF a great place to work, continuing to implement the necessary processes and structures, and supporting them to be successful. Finally, as secretary, I want to give the OSMF a professional, responsive communication tone. The more I think about it, the more I believe that excellent communication is the key to so much – across fundraising, reputation building, and community growth.

Sarah:

I’d like to focus this year on making the daily operations of OSMF run more smoothly, so that the board has more time in the future to focus on strategic matters. This includes yearly planning and budget, smoothly running communications to and from the board and a financial plan where the majority of our operational cost is covered through regular income. I also hope to get some wisdom from our working groups to understand how we can help each other to spread the work more efficiently, and on more shoulders.

Guillaume:

  • moving our corporate registration to EU
  • improving communication
  • facilitate process improvements for OSM tagging, like liquid democracy
  • financial planning and budgeting
  • increasing the diversity of fundraising sources
  • with Grant, increase infrastructure reliability

Arnalie:

For my first year on the OSMF Board, I would like to focus on:

  • Building more local chapters
  • Diversifying OSMF membership, including membership of OSMF Working Groups
  • Ensuring financial sustainability and effective fundraising (an aspect I need to learn more/develop personally)

Roland:

For me, fundraising is the most important thing to do right now. We need money for both long-awaited improvements and daily operations, and our traditional sources of income from individual and corporate members do not even cover our daily operations. At the same time, the Overture announcement has made clear that some data consumers are willing to spend money on reliable map data. So one building block is to adjust the corporate membership levels.

Another aspect is to raise money for improvement projects and, even, completely new projects. History has shown that it is more feasible to secure income for concrete ideas than for an abstract fund. As the board works on behalf of the community, I will bring project ideas into discussion and listen for existing project ideas from the community that are concrete enough for cost estimations so that we have a list of project ideas ready to excite potential donors. I do not expect that every project will be funded, but I do want to see every potential funding opportunity finding an impactful project that it can be invested in.

Craig:

Now, a month in, I’m getting some traction on my election promises.

I want to help OSMF build up the mapping community and support and encourage existing community leaders. My special effort will be in Africa.

I’m keen to prioritise the OSMF diversity and inclusion programme. I have some ideas, but this must be done as a collective effort.

For tech, I’d like to support OSMF documenting its computer operations, updating and improving the software, look at data structures, promoting vector map tiles and keeping the hardware up to date and reliable.

I’m also making an effort to support the administration in a professional way, with a focus on strategic planning, budgeting, fundraising, and communications.

Mateusz:

For starters, it is necessary to keep basic things running – this applies to the OSM community, servers and critical software. Hopefully only routine activities will be needed here.

I am working on a human-readable budget summary – needed for OSMF board work, better transparency and for people interested in what the OSMF is actually doing – especially those who might potentially donate.

GDPR handling is stuck in limbo – and it is the responsibility of the OSMF board to organise the handling of this annoying task.

Lastly, I want to take action on enforcing attribution requirements.

Get to know the new OSMF Board

In December 2022, four new members were elected to the OpenStreetMap Foundation Board, complimenting the three members already serving. The new members are Arnalie Vicario, Craig Allan, Mateusz Konieczny and Sarah Hoffmann and they join Guillaume Rischard, Mikel Maron and Roland Olbricht.

With regard to the OSMF’s diversity ambitions, this collective of Board members is exciting for two reasons… Firstly, because this is only the second time the OSMF Board has had multiple female members and, secondly, because this is the most geographically diverse board we have seen with representation from across four continents.

So, let’s meet the 2023 Board…

Arnalie Vicario (Philippines)

Arnalie is from the Philippines, and maps under the username arnalielsewhere. She advocates for open data and is passionate about building inclusive spaces in the open mapping and open geo community. She was a GIS Specialist for seven years until she shifted to (online) community engagement in 2020. She works as Online Community Engagement Lead at the Humanitarian Openstreetmap Team (HOT), and as a full time mother.

She has been an OpenStreetMap contributor since 2016, the same year she joined and became part of the OSM community in the Philippines. In 2018, she met her partner at the State of the Map – Milan conference, and reconvened GeoLadies Philippines, an advocacy group for community diversity, collaborative participation, and affirmative spaces especially for women, and under-represented communities in OpenStreetMap. She is a supporter and ally of various communities and networks such as Geochicas, Women+ in Geo, Open Heroines, and more.

You can learn more about her views about community in OpenStreeMap and humanitarian open mapping in the Geomob Podcast Interview – Arnalie Vicario: Building inclusive spaces in OSM as well as through her OSM Diaries.

Craig Allan (South Africa)

Craig comes from a local government background where, as a spatial planner, he received formal training in aerial photo interpretation, photogrammetry and land surveying. He has used commercial GIS systems since the 80’s, starting on the simple but very effective Atlas GIS by Strategic Mapping Inc. and later moving on to the infuriating but effective ARC/INFO by ESRI. Now, he’s a QGIS fan and has used it to support philanthropic work in Rangpur Division, Bangladesh.

Craig concentrates on mapping in Africa under the username, cRaIgalLAn. He appreciates that putting a village on the map may enable residents to be recognised and to receive development support and humanitarian aid. Craig is also very interested in conservation and climate change, so does a lot of mapping of threatened forests in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in several places in Kenya, including the Mara reserve and forests and wetlands inland of Lamu town. He also maps in north Chad because he’s interested in both rock arches and the East Saharan montane xeric woodland which somehow survives on high mountains in the Sahara.

In his later working life, he did less geography and demographics and more management, including strategic planning, risk management, performance management, budgeting and administrative tasks. These skills and experiences have their uses for building and managing organisations and he now deploys them in the interest of the OSM Foundation and the broader OSM community.

Guillaume Rischard (Luxembourg)

Guillaume Rischard is from Luxembourg and maps as Stereo, which is easier to pronounce (he also that username on the wiki). When he discovered OpenStreetMap in 2008, there were only a few main roads displayed around him. He didn’t take the project seriously. In 2011, he ran into it again, and saw that the map had become a lot more detailed. He spotted a missing name, and when he saw it displayed on the map when he refreshed right after saving it, he was hooked. When he uploads a changeset, he still likes to open that place in his browser while it still hasn’t rendered, open the same URL in a new tab a few seconds later, then switch between the tabs.

He works as a freelance data consultant, and was the technical lead and helped drive strategy on the Luxembourg Open Data Portal, where one success was getting the addresses, orthoimagery and official map data of Luxembourg released.

The most significant thing he’s written recently is probably the Membership Working Group report on the 100 suspicious signups. Guillaume and his co-author Steve Friedl were honoured to receive the OpenStreetMap award for influential writing for it at the State of the Map conference in Heidelberg.

He is a member of the Data Working Group and Membership Working Group, and occasionally contributes to the OSM Weekly.

Mateusz Konieczny (Poland)

Mateusz maps and edits the wiki under his own name. He focuses his mapping on local surveying but has also made some bot edits and remote edits. He has also contributed to StreetComplete and other OSM-related tools, such as iD presets and JOSM. He focuses significant time on contributing to the OpenStreetMap Wiki, especially on documenting tagging schemes and reviewing uploaded files to make sure they have the correct copyright information.

Mateusz would like to contribute to greater transparency, attribution and GDPR compliance whilst on the board.

Mikel Maron (USA)

Mikel Maron is a programmer and geographer working for impactful community and humanitarian uses of open source and open data. He started with OSM in 2005. He was elected to the OSMF Board in 2015, and previously served from 2007-2012. He currently works at The Earth Genome, leading digital products. Previously, he led the Community team at Mapbox. He is co-founder of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, of GroundTruth Initiative, and of the Map Kibera project. He’s travelled widely, organizing mapping projects in India, Palestine, Egypt, Swaziland, and elsewhere.

He maps under mikelmaron and contributes to the wiki under Mikel.

Roland Olbricht (Germany)

Roland Olbricht came to OSM in 2008. Since 2011 he has maintained and operated the Overpass API independent of his day job. Before Covid, he participated in multiple local meet-ups in Germany. He contributes to the OSM wiki under the username, Roland.olbricht.

In his professional life, Roland makes software for public transit as a software developer for the company MENTZ GmbH.

Sarah Hoffmann (Germany)

Sarah Hoffmann has been contributing to OpenStreetMap since 2008 under the username of lonvia (she also contributes to the wiki under the same name).

She started out as a simple mapper, collecting a lot of data while hiking in the Swiss Alps. Over the years she became more and more involved in software development for OSM. She is maintainer for Nominatim, osm2pgsql, waymarkedtrails.org and a couple of other projects. She is part of the OSMF sysadmin team where she is responsible for the Nominatim servers and has helped out in the programme committee of State of the Map over the last couple of years.

In 2020 she finally gave up pretending that OSM is just a hobby. Nowadays she works as a freelancer doing development and consulting for OSM software in general and Nominatim in particular. She lives in Dresden, Germany.


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.

Nominate yourself for the OSM Foundation Board Elections by October 22!

The OpenStreetMap Foundation logo

Here’s an opportunity to get involved in the OpenStreetMap Foundation, the nonprofit that supports the OSM project!

The OpenStreetMap Foundation Board elections are coming up in December, and there are three seats that will be open. If you’re interested in running, the deadline to nominate yourself is coming up, October 22, 2022 at 23:59 UTC.

About the OpenStreetMap Foundation Board of Directors

The seven-person Board of Directors works on OSM Foundation matters on a volunteer (unpaid) basis and is elected by the OSM Foundation membership.

The board meets regularly to work on administrative, policy, and fundraising issues, to vote on resolutions and to support the OSMF Working Groups, which are also composed of volunteers. The Working Groups are always looking for help too! 

For the December election, the terms of Board members Eugene Alvin Villar, Jean-Marc Liotier and Tobias Knerr are expiring, so their seats will be available. (They also may choose to run again.)

If you’re interested in running yourself, or know someone who might be, there is more information about nominations and the elections here. You can nominate yourself!

Board members serve two year terms and may be reelected a few times, with a term limit of three terms in the last eight elections. (You can get more information about board term limits in sections 33 and 34 of the OSMF Articles of Association. The Articles of Association are the rules and guidelines of the OSM Foundation.)

The Board elections start December 3rd and close December 10th. You can see more key dates here.

Monthly board meetings are open to OSMF members to observe or ask questions. You can find minutes of past meetings here.

Why you should run for the Board

We always need board candidates! Consider it yourself or ask someone else who you think might be good for the next OSMF board election, which will take place on the 10th of December, 2022! 

Why run for the board? Below you can read the personal views of current and past board members:

(Please note that in order to run, you need to be a Normal OSMF member 28 days before the election, not an Associate one, and you must have been a member during the full 180 days before the election.)

If you’re not already a member of the Foundation, it’s a great way to support the OpenStreetMap project, voice your opinions and also become eligible to vote in Board elections. You can learn how to join the OSMF here, which can be free if you are an active contributor to OSM.

Note: translations for this post are to come.

About OpenStreetMap

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.