Category Archives: OSMF

Posts about organisation of the foundation. Working groups, the board, and other entities, and how we structure our organisation

OpenStreetMap receives $25,000 Grant from American Red Cross

The OpenStreetMap Foundation is very excited to announce that the American Red Cross extended OSMF an USD 25,000 grant for purchasing hardware to support the ongoing resilience of the OSM platform infrastructure. The funds were allocated towards the purchase and provisioning of a ‘hot’ backup database failover server – which has been purchased and is currently humming along doing its important job! This trail-blazing contribution will ensure that we can recover from site failures quickly and with the minimum amount of disruption for those editing the map. This is a big step forward in platform resiliency that we otherwise would not have been able to make at this time.

American Red Cross and OpenStreetMap

The American Red Cross has steadily ramped up its support for OpenStreetMap. Indentifying OSM as a source of up-to-date map data crucial to their international disaster field operations, they quickly developed into a major contributor to OSM, through their own work, support of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT), and most recently through their Missing Maps initiative, to which around 10% of all OSM map contributions can now be attributed. The American Red Cross has also supported OpenStreetMap through app development and sponsorship of State of the Map conferences.

If you are interested in the technical specifications of this new server, please see here.

We want to say a big Thank You to the American Red Cross and we hope that more organisations which use OSM data will be inspired to strengthen the OSMF infrastructure and support our great project! If you are interested in donating to the OpenStreetMap Foundation, please get in touch with us at board@osmfoundation.org.

About The OpenStreetMap Foundation

The OpenStreetMap Foundation is a not-for-profit organization, formed in the UK to support the OpenStreetMap Project. It is dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free geospatial data and to providing geospatial data for anyone to use and share. The OpenStreetMap Foundation owns and maintains the infrastructure of the OpenStreetMap project. You can support OpenStreetMap by becoming a member, donating or joining our volunteer Working Groups.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters in the US; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. In 2017 alone, the American Red Cross sent humanitarian aid to 26 countries to help save lives in the aftermath of disasters. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. Visit redcross.org/international of more information.

Welcome 254 new members to the OpenStreetMap Foundation

Welcome to Foundation! We have cake 🙂 (2011 OpenStreetMap Anniversary Birthday party celebration in Toronto)

In September, we asked you to raise your hand and join the OpenStreetMap Foundation. And the OpenStreetMap community responded like never before.

During the membership drive, 254 new members joined the OSMF. An additional 100 people decided to renew their membership. This is the largest increase in membership in the history of the Foundation. This strong response shows us the value of active promotion of the role of the Foundation in the OSM community.

We are very excited to see the energy and enthusiasm of all our members. There are many ways to get involved.

Welcome!

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.

Join the OpenStreetMap Foundation now and help shape the future of the project

Raise your hand if you like OpenStreetMap.

Now, raise your hand if you’re an OpenStreetMap Foundation member.

If you care enough to edit day in day out, travel to a State of the Map conference, write up your thoughts on a diary entry, teach someone to map — then you should join up to support OSMF and help shape the future of the project.

You’ll have an official voice in the governance of the Foundation — the organization which owns and maintains the servers, holds the license, runs the State of the Map, coordinates local chapters. As OSM grows, the influence of OSMF will rise in the future. Anyone whose heart beats for OSM should get involved in OSMF to safeguard the huge time investment they make as a mapper.

We’re running a membership drive from now until November 11. If you aren’t a Member, sign up now. You can help by liking, retweeting, or spreading the word about the Membership Drive to friends or at local events/conferences.

Would you like to join but currently there is no suitable money transfer facility? A membership fee waiver policy will be implemented soon – stay tuned!

You can also contribute by joining the Membership Working Group or sharing with it your ideas about expanding the membership.

Join the Foundation – the future of the project should be shaped by the people who care about it the most.

DWG survey on organised editing

The Data Working Group is conducting a survey as part of its work on a policy covering paid mapping.

When OpenStreetMap started, it was largely a project of hobbyists contributing to OSM in their spare time. They chose freely what to map and which tools to use, and they took individual responsibility for their contributions.

The continuing growth and popularity of OSM have also brought more and more organised mapping efforts, mostly in the form of companies setting up paid data teams to improve OSM data in specific regions or for specific use cases, but also unpaid groups like school classes that are directed to work on OSM.

These organised mapping efforts are an integral part of today’s OSM contribution landscape and, when done well, help make OSM better and more widely known.

In order to ensure good communication, and a level playing field, between individual community members and organised editing groups, the OSMF Data Working Group has been tasked with developing guidelines for organised groups. These guidelines will above all set out some transparency requirements for organised groups – things that are already voluntarily followed by most groups today, like informing the mapping community about which accounts edit for the team.

We have prepared the following survey with a few questions about such a policy to give us a better understanding of what the mapping community expects from such a policy. The survey is aimed at everyone editing (or planning to edit) in OSM, whether as individual mappers or as part of a team, and your answers will help us in fleshing out a draft policy.

Within the scope of the survey, and the policy to be written, we define paid mapping (or paid editing) as any editing in OSM performed by someone who is told by a third party what to map (and potentially also how to map it) and who receives money in exchange. We define other organised mapping (or editing) as any editing that is also steered by a third party, but where no money is paid.

The survey is available at https://osm-dwg.limequery.org/741554

The OSMF Data Working Group

Summary of Board’s Face-to-Face Meeting

Better late than never, I want to share my thoughts and the topics discussed at the OSMF board’s annual Face-to-Face meeting in May this year.

We met on the 20th and the 21st of May in Amsterdam at the same location as last year. Martijn and Mikel made a quick survey and put considerable time into compiling an agenda for the weekend for us. This year we also had Dorothea, our administrative assistant who helped us keep time and took notes during the meeting for us.

Board members still smiling after a hard day of work

We discussed many topics and I will try to share them with you. I will focus on topics which I believe will be of particular interest to the community, but I’ll also include issues and impressions I simply found interesting myself.

Welcome Mat

Saturday started of with a session about how to define the “OSM community” which was more about knowing where each other stands. This led to the question about the community’s or the board’s relation to “corporate stakeholders” as well. Although I had the impression that we had quite different views on it and I felt a bit like an extremist, this was quite a productive discussion and in a follow up working session we developed a first draft for a “Welcome Mat”. This will be something for organizations and companies to read to familiarise themselves with the project, the community and especially to learn about the expectations we have and the responsibilities they have. The current plan is to compile the main points into a draft to share in July.

Sticky notes everywhere

Microgrants

A planned program for microgrants was the focus of a second large working session on Saturday. You might know similar programs from e.g. OSM-US, HOT or FOSSGIS. As a start and as a first trial we want to make a time-bound program where you can apply for microgrants until a specific date. We discussed many of the details like the budget, the set of applicants, a rough timeline and the need for a committee to help on with the selection and to provide some kind of “supervision”. We plan to have a dedicated blog post and more details coming soon, in August this year.

Working Groups and Volunteers

Sunday started off with a topic that I expected to be highly controversial: Working Groups and their role with regard to the board. But I was proven wrong. We talked about and discussed the scope of each working group, their (potential) needs and their relation to the OSMF board. It was quite interesting as almost every working group has at least one board member in its ranks.

One very obvious theme from our discussion about working groups is the lack of volunteers. Let me add a personal thought here: We have quite a few people running for the OSMF board each year with many great ideas. As the board is mainly assisting, you can achieve something more easily by actually joining a working group and not the board! Anyway, one of our working sessions on Sunday was dedicated to a “volunteer drive”. We run successful money donation drives but money cannot always be used to buy time. So, we really need more volunteers to help run our project, which is why we want to try and run a volunteer drive next year. If you can’t wait that long: Go on and join one of our great working groups now! 🙂

Rapid Fire

We had a couple of rapid fire sessions where each of us could name a topic they are personally interested in. Mine was about our need to properly explain why we need or want an administrative assistant. To make our decision more transparent, we plan to fully disclose the scope of the job’s duties and hope to demonstrate why we think it’s worth spending money on some administrative tasks instead of doing it ourselves or searching for volunteers. In a similar vein, Frederik asked about the others’ thoughts on putting financial tasks into professional hands. One reason, for example, is that it’s a major pain for new board members to get access to our bank account. Furthermore, we talked about an updated travel policy which is scheduled to be drafted in August. We mostly asked what and whom we do fund and up to which amount. One side aspect was to pay Kate’s travel to the SotM-Asia 2017 where she will be the keynote speaker.

Other than that we had a talk about a corporate editing policy, something the DWG has been tasked with and I guess you’ll see a public community survey on that topic soon.

Conclusion

Cute Baby-Alpaca
(c) Zenalpaca, Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0

Sadly, not many community members had the time to join our planned evening with the local community on Saturday. I still had the opportunity for some interesting private conversations, though: I know a lot more now about growing tomatoes and raising goats and I would recommend anyone with a farm to get some alpacas. 🙂

But we didn’t meet for fun, but for work: It was a friendly and productive meeting and – given the financial outcome of last year (read: the corporate membership program) – it didn’t feel so bad to spend some money on the meeting. We don’t have tangible results to show yet, but that was not the goal: The meeting was about discussion and offered an opportunity to talk about various issues that would be hard or impossible to tackle via the mailing list or on mumble. In order to not let that time go to waste, it’s now important to follow up on those topics. That’s why we ended our meeting with a “Mapping Where from Here” session to produce a schedule with follow-up tasks and a timeline describing what we would like to be finished when. So I hope you’ll hear more about the microgrant program and the welcome mat soon. Stay tuned! 😉

New and renewed corporate members

Last October we introduced the new OSMF Corporate Membership tiers. We’d like to thank the following organisations who have entered or renewed onto the new corporate membership tiers:

    

        

   

 

         

Toursprung         NextGIS

 

Your organization can become a Corporate Member for as little as €500 for ‘Supporter’ level, all the way up to €20,000 for ‘Platinum’ level. The above all opted for ‘Bronze’ level, except Toursprung and NextGIS who are ‘Supporters’. Coming soon we’ll bring you news of some new ‘Gold’ level members! Each level has different benefits but the biggest benefit of all is the knowledge that your organization is doing its part to support the growth and sustainability of the OpenStreetMap project. So thanks again to all our Corporate Members!

Board election results 2016

Last week we held our 2016 Annual General Meeting and foundation members have voted for Kate Chapman and Frederik Ramm to continue serving on the board. Congratulations to both of them!

Election time is always a great opportunity to get various ideas heard, so thanks to Darafei Praliaskouski and Guillaume Rischard for being nominees and hope to see your nominations again next year. You can read all the manifestos online. Special thanks also go to Dermot McNally for handling the polling.

As another mapping year comes to an end, you can read the chairperson’s report for 2016 from Kate Chapman and the treasurer’s report from Frederik Ramm.

Don’t forget that you can influence the direction of the project both by participating and by voting for the board. So, join the Foundation to take part in such elections!

Chairperson’s Report for the OpenStreetMap Foundation 2016 Annual General Meeting

Note: If you are a member of the OSMF you can find more information on the meeting here.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to OpenStreetMap in some way this year. If you mapped, coded, presented or otherwise helped us on our journey to create free map of the entire world this means you. It is an honor to be able to support this community through my role at the OpenStreetMap Foundation and as a community member. 
On behalf of the Foundation thank you to everyone who participated in the organization that supports the continued existence of the project. At the center of this is the Working Groups: without our working groups the core technical services wouldn’t run, we would not have the legal infrastructure to effectively run the project, State of the Map wouldn’t happen, mapping disputes wouldn’t have resolutions, official communications wouldn’t exist, and membership would still be run entirely by the board. Much of the Working Group work is thankless, if you are on a Working Group and see me in the next year please remind me to buy you a beer (or other beverage of choice). 
Members, if you have been a member for years or this is your first AGM I appreciate you. Please continue to state your needs and if you haven’t please speak up. If you are so inclined help us recruit members for 2017. The membership should serve to keep the board on task and I hope someday it will represent the diverse world that we map. 
To the Board Members both new and old, sometimes it is hard to see the forest through the trees. Looking back on this year I think we’ve made some real accomplishments. Sometimes they may not feel like much but they are important the year things we have accomplished:
  • Increasing board transparency by having open board meetings and thanks to Peter especially, communicating generally with the membership sooner.
  • We also had our first community member audit of the financial records.
  • Developing an open-source policy to guide what tools we use to run the OSMF Board
  • Creating and filling of Admin Assistant Role to help make sure the day to day work is done more efficiently.
  • Successfully funding and hosting a donation drive to cover the general operating costs of the OSMF over the next year
  • Updating the Corporate Membership to increase the value of the membership and have it serve as a greater funding base for the OSMF in the future.

Membership Statistics

Here are the regional statistics regarding membership in the OSMF for 2016 with reference to 2015. The regional membership breakdown has changed slightly. 
  • Europe and Central Asia 68.18% [last year 70%]
  • America South, Central, North and Caribbean 22.73%  [last year (USA&Canada) + (Latin America): 23% + 1.5%]
  • Middle East and North Africa 0.65  % [last year 0.5%]
  • Africa West, East, Central and Southern 1.08% [last year 0.5%]
  • Asia-Pacific 7.36%  [last year 4.5%]

Looking Forward

We have made some major steps forward this year, but we have a long way to go. Through my day job work in non-profits we often talk about “what is the vision?” and “how can we get there?” For OpenStreetMap our job will never be done, but we would be well on our way to accomplishing our vision by having equal quality data of the entire world. There are things the OSMF must look towards in the coming year and beyond for that to happen:
  • Supporting mappers is at the core of what we do. Without mappers there is no map
  • Increasing the funding base of the OSMF. This year we have put some pieces in place to allow that but in the next year we must continue to move towards that. This includes getting organizations to sign-up for new levels of corporate membership and successfully running another donation drive.
  • Diversifying the membership of the OSMF (and in the future the board, since that will not happen this election)
  • Providing more clear ways for financial support of Working Groups and Communities

Over the past year I’ve had the privilege to meet OSM contributors on four continents. If I haven’t had the opportunity to meet you please don’t hesitate to reach out. In 2017 I will at the very least be in Australia, the United States, Japan and parts of Europe (not sure which yet). Even if you just want to chat let me know so I can thank you for your contributions and get your feedback. Let’s all continue to make a great map in 2017.

Mapbox will match the next €10k of donations!

As I am writing this, our donation drive is just about to hit the €50k mark – we’re only €20k short of our goal now! Thank you everyone who has contributed until now.

And we have super exciting news: Our friends at Mapbox have decided that they will match the next €10k of donations 1:1 – this means that for every donation someone makes, Mapbox will give the same amount again. Which effectively means that we’re only €10k away from reaching our funding goal.

Mapbox have been a steady contributor to our donation drives, a recurring conference sponsor, and they’re also a corporate member of the OSM Foundation – and that’s not even counting non-monetary contributions like their work on the iD editor and other things in OSM.

Thank you Mapbox!

Mapbox blog entry announcing the matching donation.

Mapbox blog entry announcing the matching donation.