Category Archives: Board

The Foundation board

Last chance to vote by email

Today is your last chance to vote by email for this year’s foundation board elections. If you are a member of the OpenStreetMap Foundation, and you are not planning to vote at the annual general meeting in Birmingham this Saturday, then please read the proxy voting information and follow the instructions carefully to send a proxy vote request by email.

As well as voting for three board candidates, we are also asking members to vote on the Articles of Association. See Simon Poole’s previous blog post explaining this.

Proxy voting closes today at 22:00 UTC, but final votes will be accepted in person if you’re coming to Birmingham.

2013 Articles of Association Update

At the upcoming Foundation annual general meeting we will be voting on a new set of articles. The articles are essentially the constitution of the organisation and should lay down the law for how we operate.

Why are we revising the articles this year?

It is not uncommon that over time rules imposed by an organisation’s articles start to be at odds with reality, in the case of the OSMF there have even been issues from the beginning. Given that OSM and with it the foundation have become far more visible and important, we can no longer afford to simply ignore the differences that exist between what is prescribed and what is our day to day practice.

The process that has lead to these new proposed articles has been 2-3 years in the making, and not all of the change requests that accumulated over this period have found their way in to this new text. For this reason we expect more changes at the 2014 general meeting. Further, some of the goals we had for the current changes have not been 100% met due to legal restraints. None the less I would strongly recommend that the general meeting accept the new articles, they are far better than what we currently have.

While I cannot relieve you from the task of actually reading the new legal language, I do want to point out the major changes to the current set of documents.

The new text makes a structural change in that it merges our previous two constitutional documents, the Memorandum of Association and the Articles of Association. We have not made any substantial changes to the objects of the foundation even though in discussion it has been suggested that we make them more specific to the OpenStreetMap project. On top of the merger the whole document has been reformatted and numbered to be in line with the requirements of the new 2006 companies act.

The main issue with the current articles is that they assume that all our members are members according to the UK companies act, this requires us to collect full names and postal addresses from all members and make them available to third parties on request. While there are ways to get around publishing the address, we still consider it problematic from a data privacy point of view that we cannot offer an alternative. The new proposal adds a “associate member” class that sidesteps the above issue.

Our original goal was to afford “associate members” exactly the same rights as normal members. This turned out to not be possible with respect to resolutions and special resolutions at the general meetings which remain reserved for the companies act members. In practical terms this means that the “associate members” will not be able to vote on changes of the articles and dissolution of the organisation, and a handful of other topics. The “associate members” will however be able to elect the board and vote on motions at the AGM. You remain free to choose between regular and associate membership. After adoption of the new articles we will be contacting all existing members for instructions with respect to their membership class.

The proposed text allows us to use electronic means for our correspondence with the members and does away with the need to be physically present at the general meeting location. It still assumes that we are using a conventional proxy assignment for our e-mail voting, we are exploring alternatives to this for the next revision.

During the public discussion early this year I touched on the issue of including an asset lock in the articles, there wasn’t very much feedback on the topic and for that reason we are postponing adding such text to the next revision.

The board was evenly split on the matter of voting corporate membership. As this tends to be a hotly debated topic in our membership too, we have decided that we split the vote on the articles in to a vote on the new text and a vote on a set of amendments that add voting rights for corporate “associate members”.

As the last important point, the current articles did not detail how a member could lose membership either by not paying the membership fees or by being expelled by the board. The new articles try to lay down a reasonable set of rules for this,  in line with our current practice.

Again, while not perfect and with some remaining warts, the new articles are a big step forward. The board and myself strongly recommend accepting them at our upcoming meeting in Birmingham.

Simon Poole

New board members

As part of today’s activities in Tokyo, foundation members met for an Annual General Meeting where the final votes were cast for the board elections. Congratulations to our new board members:

Frederik Ramm, and Simon Poole.

Congratulations also to Henk Hoff who has been re-elected to his seat on the board. And thanks to Alex Barth, and Kate Chapman for running in the election. Excellent candidates all round, and we enjoyed some stimulating discussion and debate on the members mailing list. Let’s translate these ideas into action. Not only the elected board, but the whole foundation organisation (including you!) has a part to play in making 2012-2013 a great year for OpenStreetMap.

More details on the election

Your First ODbL Planet

The first day of State of the Map, each year is filled with anticipation. Anticipation of seeing old friends and making new ones, anticipation of inspirational presentations and discussions and anticipation of big announcements.

The opening session at State of the Map, 2012, was no different. In Tokyo, on Thursday morning, 06 September 2012, Steve Coast called Michael Collinson, chair of the License Working Group to the stage to make an announcement. And it was an announcement that we have been anticipating for quite some time.

The next OpenStreetMap planet published will be an ODbL planet.

Mr. Collinson also thanked the countless hundreds (or thousands) who aided immeasurably in the OpenStreetMap license upgrade to ODbL. He named a representative few including OSMF legal counsel Wilson Sonsini, OpenStreetMap community members Richard Fairhurst, Frederik Ramm and Francis Davey, author of the ODbL, Jordan Hatcher and posthumously, License Working Group member Ulf Möller.

There will be more details posted in the next days, but for now we’re excited to share this announcement with you.

Vote for a new Foundation Board

 Today voting has been declared open for the changing seats on the OpenStreetMap Foundation board. Matt Amos, Richard Fairhurst, Dermot McNally, and Oliver Kühn will remain on the board, and are not required to re-run for election this time around, however we have three seats to vote on since Henk Hoff is re-running for election, Mikel Maron is stepping down, and Steve Coast will serve in a new position as “Chairman Emeritus”.

We have five candidates to choose from listed here and candidate nominations are now closed.

If you are a foundation member you can vote for three of these. You can vote by email, and voting is now open through until Wednesday September 5th. Please follow the instructions in the above link. Alternatively if you are going to be in Tokyo for State Of The Map, you may prefer to vote in person at the Annual General Meeting. If you are not a member there is still time to join the foundation before voting, but please do this as soon as possible to allow time for processing.

To help you decide who to vote for, each candidate has written a manifesto, linked from the above list. There is also some interesting debate on the osmf-talk mailing list, and if you wish, you can put questions to the candidates here.

Board grants project founder the title of “Chairman Emeritus”

Steve CoastAt the end of his term as Chairman of the OSM Foundation, the Board has unanimously granted Steve Coast, founder of the OpenStreetMap project, the honorary title of “Chairman Emeritus” of the OSM Foundation.
This honorary title is granted for the Steve’s achievements for the project and the Foundation, and (not least) for actually starting the project. The title also voices the Board’s intention to retain a close relationship between the Founder and the OSMF.

Therefore, the Chairman Emeritus has a standing invitation to all board and working group meetings and to all State of the Map conferences. He is explicitly invited to give advice to the Board and Working Groups.
The Chairman Emeritus is allowed to voice personal statements in public using his title.

With his distinct personal relationship with the OSM project, the Foundation may ask the Chairman Emeritus to represent the OSMF in public (e.g. in media and conferences).

The Board asked Steve to take this honorary title and is pleased with Steve accepting it. The Board is also very happy to see that his passion, vision and dedication for the OpenStreetMap project will be maintained.

With accepting the Chairman Emeritus title, Steve decided not run for re-election as a board member. He will no longer be an official director of the Foundation after the upcoming AGM.

For the avoidance of doubt, the Board checked that granting the title “Chairman Emeritus” is in line with the current Articles of Association.

Henk Hoff
Secretary OSM Foundation

Ulf Möller

The OpenStreetMap Foundation has learned of the death of our friend and colleague, Ulf Möller.

Update: Help find the killer

Ulf’s family have asked if we can help find Ulf’s killer(s)? Please see the photos of the murder suspects and help if you can.

Ulf Möller, 1972 - 2012

Ulf discovered OpenStreetMap in 2007 and mapped in Munich and Hamburg as well as in other countries. He was the first German elected to the OpenStreetMap Foundation Board in 2009/2010 and served on the License Working Group with attention to detail, concern for the German OpenStreetMap community and courteous persistence.

The OpenStreetMap Foundation Board offers sincere condolences to Ulf’s family on behalf of the OpenStreetMap community. We are saddened and shocked by his untimely death.

The family has requested privacy at this difficult time. Please use the comments in this post to share your memories of Ulf and condolences for the family. They will know where to find them when they are ready.

Ulf’s family has kindly provided the above photograph of Ulf as we will remember him; Smiling, happy, cycling, and apparently mapping with his GPS.

ODbL progress

We’re planning the final stages of the switch over to the Open Database License for OpenStreetMap data. The OpenStreetMap Foundation Board discussed the license upgrade process and many other aspects of the project at their recent board meeting, and we’ll have more information about that from the board shortly.

One item that came out of the board meeting was the deadline to complete the license upgrade by 01 April 2012 and to publish the first OpenStreetMap planet file under the ODbL by 04 April 2012. The License Working Group supports this target date as a reasonable goal.

There are still many things to do before we are ready to publish the first OpenStreetMap planet file as an ODbL database. As always, community engagement and your participation are important. There will be more information and details on your favourite OSM community channels including the mailing lists and IRC. For now the process of contacting mappers yet to respond and remapping non-compliant data is still the priority.

There are various tools to help you get an idea of ODbL coverage in your country, or your local area. In particular, you can enable a view within Potlatch2 or install a plugin for JOSM to see the license status of elements.

New Board Members

Final votes were cast today at the Foundation AGM, and the results are in. Congratulations to our new board members:

Richard Fairhurst, Matt Amos, and Dermot McNally

Mikel Maron was also re-elected onto the board.

[Update] : The votes tallied up as follows: 98 votes for Richard Fairhurst, 81 Matt Amos, 74 Mikel Maron, 68 Dermot McNally, 47 Kate Chapman, 44 Eugene Usvitsky, 42 Derick Rethans, 41 Niccolo Rigacci, 27 Serge Wroclawski.

Thankyou to all of our candidates. This year we really had an excellent group of highly dedicated OSMers to choose from, and the choice was a difficult one. The relatively even spread of votes is reflective of this. We hope and expect that you will all play an active role in the foundation in 2011-2012.