Category Archives: OSMF

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

The CC-0 Advantage: How the EU Open Data Directive Can Benefit from Simplified Licensing for Geodata

EU countries should adopt CC-0 licensing to maximise the benefits and usability of open data–including by OpenStreetMap.

EU Directive 2019/1024–better known as the Open Data Directive–will soon open up new datasets from governments across the European Union. Luxembourg, for example, has already adopted a formal recommendation strongly advocating application of the CC-0 licence for all open datasets, which has already been applied to geo-datasets since released. 

This is great news for Europe and the world. It could also be great for OpenStreetMap and the vast audience that depends on it. But for that to happen, the officials who are now finalising their data release plans must avoid a subtle but critical mistake: they should release their data using the Creative Commons CC-0 license rather than the more popular CC-BY 4.0 license.

Explaining why this is so requires some background. It is common for geographic datasets to be released under licenses that specify how the data must be credited, how it may be transformed or redistributed, and who is allowed to use it. OpenStreetMap combines geodata from many sources to make a unified map of the world. Combining data isn’t always easy. Combining licenses can be even harder.

An example might help. Imagine a government agency releases geodata with a requirement that any map made from it be updated when the agency publishes new data. In isolation, this sounds reasonable. Agency workers diligently update the information they publish. It makes sense for them to ask those who use it to be similarly assiduous in not spreading outdated information. But what happens when the data is combined and redistributed with dozens of other datasets with similar requirements? Or hundreds? Or when it’s partially edited to reflect changes about the world? 

Maybe you can imagine some solutions to this particular problem. Trust us when we say: it’s impossible to imagine a solution to every license problem. The potential for license conflicts means that OpenStreetMap must be very careful about the data we allow into our project. Licenses have to be checked for compatibility with the project’s own license to ensure that including a new data source will not interfere with the countless ways that OpenStreetMap data is being used around the world.

And those uses are immensely valuable. It is surely not a coincidence that the Annex I to the Open Data Directive lists “geospatial” first among the high-value dataset themes targeted by the initiative. Maps are useful to every person, business, and institution. And OpenStreetMap has become a key part of how map data reaches people around the world. Our project is used by many of the most popular mapping platforms, reaching an audience that numbers in the billions. Perhaps more importantly, OpenStreetMap is free for anyone to use. We think this makes our project an ideal partner for the Open Data Directive’s goal of unlocking “public sector data for re-use, as raw material for innovation across all economic sectors.”

But for that to happen, the data must be released with a license that OpenStreetMap can use. The Directive’s implementing regulation provides licensing guidance for the officials who have been given this responsibility:

It is the objective of Directive (EU) 2019/1024 to promote the use of standard public licences available online for re-using public sector information. The Commission’s Guidelines on recommended standard licences, datasets and charging for the re-use of documents identify Creative Commons (‘CC’) licences as an example of recommended standard public licences. CC licences are developed by a non-profit organisation and have become a leading licensing solution for public sector information, research results and cultural domain material across the world. It is therefore necessary to refer in this Implementing Regulation to the most recent version of the CC licence suite, namely CC 4.0. A licence equivalent to the CC licence suite may include additional arrangements, such as the obligation on the re-user to include updates provided by the data holder and to specify when the data were last updated, as long as they do not restrict the possibilities for re-using the data.

​High-value datasets shall be made available for re-use under the conditions of the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0) or, alternatively, the Creative Commons BY 4.0 licence, or any equivalent or less restrictive open licence, as set out in the Annex, allowing for unrestricted re-use. A requirement of attribution, giving the credit to the licensor, can additionally be required by the licensor.

cf Directive (EU) 2019/1024 Impact Assessment

Unfortunately, OpenStreetMap cannot use data licensed under CC-BY 4.0 without additional caveats. The reasons are subtle but important; you can read about them here. The authors of the Directive guidance might not have realised this.  We know that many officials are familiar with CC-BY. But as the above link explains, CC-BY carries more restrictions than just a requirement of attribution. Article 2’s intent is clear: it means to “ensure that public data of highest socio-economic potential are made available for re-use with minimal legal and technical restriction and free of charge.The officials charged with executing that intent should choose CC-0 instead of CC-BY.

We realize that this might not always be possible. When that’s the case, officials should consider licensing their CC-BY 4.0 data with less restrictive terms, as allowed by Article 4. The License Working Group has supplied simple language that officials can include to make CC-BY 4.0 less restrictive and the data published under it unambiguously usable by OpenStreetMap:

Section 2(a)(5)(B) of the CC BY 4.0 license is void. Attribution to a central list of sources via URL is sufficient to provide attribution in a "reasonable manner" in accordance with Section 3(a)(1) of the CC BY 4.0 license.

OpenStreetMap is among the world’s most successful open data projects. If the right decisions are made as its implementation is finalised, the EU Open Data Directive could become one, too.

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.

Local Chapters: What To Know and How to Join

What is a Local Chapter?

Our contributors and communities are the main drivers of the OpenStreetMap project. As a means of supporting and nurturing local communities, the OSM Foundation recognizes country-level or region-level legal entities, called “Local Chapters,” to represent mappers and OSM data when dealing with local government, business, and media.

Learn more about the recognized Local Chapters.

How Can We Join as a Local Chapter?

While you don’t have to become a formally recognized Local Chapter to operate as a national or regional OSM user group, there are benefits to joining. These include a streamlined approach to the use of the OpenStreetMap trademark and a mechanism for representing your groups in any OSMF decision making process.

These two pages explain how to join:

Note that the OSMF has recently improved the process.  One major change is that the Local Chapters and Communities Working Group (LCCWG) will process and review applications before making a recommendation to the OSMF Board.

Why join as a Local Chapter?

The OSMF highly values OSM’s many diverse communities and their contributions to the map. They serve as ambassadors in their national / regional areas by promoting map generation and improvements, as well as creating and developing uses for OSM data and tools that fit their needs.

By becoming a formally recognized community, Local Chapters have the power to:

  • Officially use the name and trademark of OSM
  • Represent the OSMF in interactions with governments and companies
  • Have a seat in the OSMF Advisory Board (to ensure that local community ideas and opinions are heard)

Applying as a Local Chapter is free – we welcome you!

Meet the Local Chapters!

The OSMF Board asks Local Chapters to share Annual Reports to make sure we are aligned in our pursuit of our shared goals. It’s also an opportunity to share each chapter’s amazing work with other OSM and mapping communities. Recent and past reports can be found here.  

Below are some highlights from this year’s Annual Reports:

OSM Italy (through Wikimedia Italy)

The OSM community in Italy with Wikimedia Italy had been busy making State of the Map 2022 a success! Re-live the moment through this video:

OSM Slovakia

We empower users of to upload and view photos. Our photo gallery contains almost 300,000 photos, including more than 10,000 photos of hiking and cycling guideposts.

from’s Facebook page


As a group, we continued to share the word about OpenStreetMap and UK mappers. This ranged from mapping waste and recycling centres during the CodeTheCity hack weekends, to Andy Mabbett presenting to the Data Management Association and the British Computing Society. The latter is an example of where having an official organisation provides a route for companies or groups to ask for assistance.

from @stevefaeembra on X (FKA Twitter): “Wind turbine density across the British Isles. Hexbinned into 10km hexes. Using data copyright OpenStreetMap contributors and #qgis. (Usual caveat for OSM, this only shows mapped turbines. Around 15,000 have been mapped)”

OSM Czech

Greeter tool – in 2021, we developed and published greeter-osm tool, that is used to send a welcome message to first time contributors in specific area. In 2021 we sent several hundred welcome messages and we have continued to do so since then. See


OSM US recently organized the 11th State of the Map US in June 2023 in Richmond, Virginia. Check out the videos in the Youtube playlist and photos in Flickr.


OSM Japan

OSM Japan hosted State of the Map Japan 2022 in Kakogawa and online with the theme: "Restart" following the COVID19 pandemic. It was organized by 12 volunteers and attended by 140 participants with 15 student scholars volunteers. Check out the videos.


OSM France

The year 2021-2022 was the occasion for OSM France to be integrated into the plenary council of the CNIG (National Council for Geolocated Information). The activity of the CNIG is growing following the appointment of its new president last year.
This entry of the association is excellent news. It recognises the work of the entire community in the service of the OSM project and it officially marks the importance of the project in the geographic information landscape.

The OpenStreetMap community in France

OSGeo Oceania

OSGeo Oceania organized FOSS4G SotM Oceania 2022 with Pacific Islands GIS and Remote Sensing User Conference in Fiji in December 2022, you can view the presentation here. This year, the annual regional conference is happening in Aukland - find out more in the official conference website



FOSSGIS Conference 2023 happened in March 2023 in Berlin. Participated by about 500 participants, FOSSGIS Konferenz addresses local users and businesses to meet, learn about new development & collaborate on local chapter activities in their own language.

The following three map examples show part of the Berlin allotment garden colony “Am Stadtpark I” ALKIS as an example of official geodata (left), 
image-based digital surface model (bDOM) as an example of the information open remote sensing data (middle image), 
OpenStreetMap map (right).

OSM Iceland

OSM Iceland has met with the National Land Survey of Iceland who has been tasked with creating a free and open road dataset. Until now the OSM road data has been the de facto road network used in work both by governmental and non-governmental organizations. A presentation made in 2020 for the OSMF board is available at the OSMF website.

OSM Switzerland

In January 2023, Geomob podcast featured an active Swiss mapper, Simon, who happens to be the the current president of the Swiss OpenStreetMap association. Tune in to hear about his motivation for the project, and his perspective on the OpenStreetMap community and its future.


OSM Belgium

Note: OSM BE is currently not a recognized local chapter, due to internal changes in the organization. However, this report is reflective of a period when they were recognized.

OSM Belgium has been busy organizing State of the Map Europe 2023 that will happen in Antwerp. It hopes to bring together the brightest and most active members of the OpenStreetMap mapping and developing community for a detailed exchange of results and ideas that support the continued success of the various initiatives by strengthening the ongoing projects and collaboration. More information is on the website.

The evolution of mapping roads in Brussels. Green: slow roads. Grey: mapped roads. Black: roads being worked on that month. From

OSM Democratic Republic of Congo

At the end of 2022, OSM DRC started crowdmapping projects of main waterways using a national open data reference to identify missing ones and manually digitize them. Two provinces (Lualaba and Haut-Katanga) out of 26 are being finalized now, but we want to achieve a national coverage. See this presentation during the OSMF Community Spotlight session in July 2023.

OSM Ireland

OSM Ireland Buildings Microgrant Project concluded in 2022 - with 200,000 buildings mapped with growth in the community as a result of frequent online community meetings and goodies. See the full report in the wiki.

OSM Austria

OSM Austria continues to spread the knowledge of OpenStreetMap in the country. They participated in Maker Faire Vienna 2023, the trade fair for global makers and inventors, and looking forward to participate in Maker Faire Salzburg in November this year.


Free Libre Open Source Software Kosova

Fostering Community Engagement in Albania: OSM Kosovo played an integral role in establishing and organizing the OpenStreetMap Albania community. Their efforts were focused on fostering a vibrant mapping community, promoting the use of open-source mapping tools, and facilitating collaboration among various stakeholders.

Stowarzyszenie OpenStreetMap Polska

OSM Poland has been developing the OpenAEDMap project, which has reached more than 5,600  locations of the AED devices - this is possible thanks to community activism and a campaign among local government entities.

If you and you’re community is interested in becoming a Local Chapter, please check the FAQs page or reach out to LCCWG via email

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 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


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

Happy Birthday, OpenStreetMap!

OSM is 19 years old: we’re launching an online fundraising campaign to support its future

18 years ago, OSM Founder Steve Coast posted this invitation to OpenStreetmap’s 1st birthday party.

In 2005, things were moving very quickly for the still new OSM project. The broader open data movement was gathering momentum through events like the World Summit on Free Information Infrastructures (WSFII) and pledge campaigns for the creation of open geodata, and OSM was starting to get coverage in major media like the Guardian. Soon after the above-mentioned first birthday party, the front end of OSM was launched at and a new “whizzy” Applet was launched to “replace the horrid old one.”

By 2006, OSM’ers were mapping all over the world:

The OSM Birthday Tradition

When OpenStreetMap turned ten in 2014, the number of celebrations had greatly increased from that first birthday event at the Strongroom Bar in London. In fact, it took a world map to visualize all of the parties.

If you’re celebrating the 19th anniversary of OSM this week, be sure to share some photos. 🎂

What Does OSM Look Like at 19?

OpenStreetMap is the largest open-source geospatial project of all time. There are 18 formally established OSM chapters and dozens more local communities, collaborating on hundreds of communication channels, in more than 50 languages, in most of the countries of the world.  The map and its data is world-recognized as an essential source of geospatial ground truth. The API is used by millions of people, and the community is motivated,  multi-talented, and culturally and geographically diverse. OSM even welcomed its first paid site stability engineer a year ago in recognition of the size and scope of the project.

image credit: Kate Varfolomeyeva, 2023

To get an even better sense of what OSM means to its community in 2023, we asked community members to tell us why they love OSM. Here are just a few of the many answers: 

Image Credit: Kate Varfolomeyeva, 2023

So, you can see why this is an important moment for OpenStreetMap.  In a year, the project will be twenty years old: its data is helping to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges, there is new technology that makes it easier to map, and enthusiasm for mapmaking is as strong as it ever was. 

To meet these challenges and opportunities, the OSM Foundation board is working on a strategic plan that can help support our ever-growing community of volunteers, by strategically funding skills such as project management, engineering, front-end development and offering bounties and sponsorship to help foster a diverse and inclusive map for everyone.  

Which is why now is the time to share your time and money to help secure the future of OpenStreetMap.

It’s OSM’s Birthday! Please Give to Support its Future

Starting today, the OSMF will be conducting an online fundraising campaign to support the future of OSM. Here’s what you can do to help:

  1. Share a photo of how you’re celebrating OSM’s big day with hashtag #HappyBirthdayOSM and/or #WeAreOSM and link to
  2. Make a gift of any size to support OSM’s future.
  3. Edit the map! 🗺

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.

Checking Progress, Planning, and Funding: The June 2023 OSMF Board Screen to Screen

The OSM Foundation Board spent most of last Saturday together at our second “screen to screen” meeting of the year. We are motivated to put in this effort by the mission of OpenStreetMap and the faith entrusted in us by the membership to steward the core resources in the Foundation that makes the map free to all.

We want to share about why we on the Board are putting so much effort where we are, and what you’ll see coming soon.

The screen to screen is the recurring opportunity to step back and assess the current state and direction of the OSMF and our work on the Board. We talked a good deal about a fresh approach and accelerating the strategic planning process. We delved into work underway on top priority items like the EU relocation, technical staff growth, potential future needs like an ED role, and local community support. We looked at the current financial picture and the resources needed in the near term, and recommitted to the fundraising plan to raise 500K GBP to meet our budget plans for this year.

Progress Check

We reviewed how far along we’ve come since setting the 2023 agenda at the March screen to screen. This is critical accountability. The answer is mixed. A lot is in fact moving, but there is a good amount falling behind as well. This can all be tracked in our public action items gitlab. We resolved to address effectiveness in 3 ways. First, strong prioritization on what tasks need doing – we admit that we must triage. Second, team work. Pairing up with another Board member on a task means sharing the burden and keeping each other on pace. And it’s more fun to work together. Third, clearly communicate limits. Life happens. If a meeting will be missed, or a commitment needs to be taken on by someone else, the minimum expectation is communicating to the Board.

We’ll update the Board Rules of Order to capture this point.

Strategic Planning

We then switched to the Strategic Planning Process. The strategic plan will be a comprehensive document to guide and align all the day to day work and decision making in the OSM Foundation. We recognized that to this point translating strategic planning to an online, global community is hard and could have worked better. Through feedback from the Board and wise guidance from our facilitator Allen Gunn, we are reorienting the planning to process to clearly communicate general goals rather than discussion of every potential tactic, and explain more clearly the motivation for each section of the plan. We also agreed that the plan should be a living document, so that it can easily respond to developments as they emerge in the years ahead. We are accelerating the process of drafting, consulting on, and finalizing the plan to conclude in the next 2 months. Expect to see details on this soon.

Strategic Growth

There are a handful of key specific tactics we discussed at the screen to screen for strategic growth. Extending team coverage and accelerating infrastructure robustness by bringing on an additional system administrator to our team. Unlocking mapper needs and development innovation by engaging a paid role to project manage coding projects on Flexibly meet diverse mapper rendering needs by standing up vector tile infrastructure. Investing in the extensive OSM software ecosystem that powers OSMF infrastructure and use of OSM data through engineering community development and grants. And investigating the scope and suitability of an Executive Director role for the OSMF to support the strategy set by the Board.


To meet growing needs, we need resources, and we spent time examining OSMF finances. In recent years the OSMF has grown its obligations to meet the growing demands to create and use OSM data. Our financial management strategy for this year is to break even, retaining our reserves for a rainy day. And in the years ahead, as we look at areas of strategic growth, we want to have funds to grow carefully and considerately to sustain growth with very targetted staff, infrastructure and community investments. We do not plan to commit to growing obligations without confidence that we have the funds necessary to sustain them.

Historically the OSMF has dedicated the most resources to our technical infrastructure, and we have added dedicated staff support with our Senior Site Reliability Engineer and iD Maintainer. This has resulted in more stable and robust systems, and more accessible mapping tooling. The budget for the year, supporting infrastructure investments, staff, operational overhead, and reserves 681,000 GBP. The gap from our regular income from corporate and individual memberships is 521,000 GBP. We reaffirmed this as our target for the fundraising campaign.  and “membership”

The map is free to all and free to edit, but it is not free to make. OSM is powered by donations in the form of membership, gifts, and sponsorship. At the screen to screen, we reviewed the excellent conversations we had about the fundraising campaign at SotM US, SotM France and SotM Baltics a few weeks ago. Our approach to fundraising is to draw on a diversity of sources. This typically means signing up corporate members and soliciting funds from them, and asking for donations from the OSM community and the broad internet of people who support a free and open map. This year we are doing both again, while also researching other opportunities in public funding and private philanthropy. We are gearing up to make requests from individuals and organizations in July. We’ll need your help – whether as a donor yourself or an ambassador promoting the campaign to your community.

We welcome your thoughts!

Powering OpenStreetMap’s Future: A year of improvements from OpenStreetMap Foundation’s Site Reliability Engineer

Just over one year ago, I joined the OpenStreetMap Foundation (OSMF) with the goal of enhancing the reliability and security of the technology and infrastructure that underpins OpenStreetMap. Throughout the past year, I have worked closely with the Operations Working Group, a dedicated team of volunteers. Together, we have made significant progress in improving our processes and documentation, ultimately strengthening our collective effectiveness. I am immensely grateful for the support and collaboration within this group, and I am delighted to witness the remarkable strides we have taken in building a solid foundation for the future of OpenStreetMap.

I’ll go into a little detail below about what’s transpired. At a high level, I made it easier to manage deployment of the software running on our servers; hardened our network infrastructure through better redundancy, monitoring, access, and documentation; grew our use of cloud services for tile rendering, leveraging a generous AWS sponsorship; improved our security practices; refreshed our developer environments; and last but definitely not least, finalised migration of 16 years of content from our old forums to our new forums.

If you want to hear more from me over the course of the work last year, check out my talk at State of the Map 2022 and my interview on the GeoMob podcast. And I’d love to hear from you, email me at

2022-2023 Site Reliability Details

Managing software on our servers

Containerised small infrastructure components (GitHub Actions for building)

I have containerised many of our small sites which were previously built using bespoke methods in our chef codebase as part of the “Configuration as code” setup. Moved the build steps to Github Actions. Setup a base for any future container (“docker”) based projects going forward. These are our first container / docker based projects hosted on OSMF infrastructure.

Our chef based code is now simpler, more secure and deploys faster.

Improved chef testing (ops onboarding documentation)

We use for infrastructure (configuration) management of all our servers and the software used on them. Over the last year the chef test kitchen tests have been extended and now also work on modern Apple Silicon machines. The tests now reliably run as part of our CI / PR processes. The tests add quality control and assurance to the changes we make. Adding ARM support was easier to add because we could use test kitchen before moving onto ARM server hardware.

Having reliable tests should help onboard new chef contributors.

Hardened our network infrastructure

Network Upgrades @ AMS (New Switches, Dual Redundant Links, Dublin soon)

Our network setup in Amsterdam was not as redundant as it should have been. The Cisco Small Business equipment we used we had out-grown. We had unexpected power outages due to hardware issues. The equipment was also limiting future upgrades. The ops group decided to replace the hardware with Juniper equipment which we had standardised on at the Dublin data centre. I replaced the equipment with minimal downtime in a live environment (<15mins).

Both Dublin and Amsterdam data centres now use a standardised and more security configuration. Each server now has fully bonded links for improved redundancy and performance. The switches have improved power and network redundancy. We are awaiting the install of the fully resilient uplinks (order submitted) in the next month.

Out of Band access to both data centres (4G based)

I built and installed an out-of-band access devices at each site. The devices are hard wired to networking and power management equipment using serial consoles. The out-of-band devices have resilient 4G link to a private 4G network (1NCE). The out-of-band access devices are custom built Raspberry PIs with redundant power supplies and 4x serial connectors.

Documentation of Infrastructure to easy maintenance (Racks / Power)

I documented each rack unit, power port (Power Distribution Unit), network connection and cable at the data centres. This makes it easier to manage the servers, reduces errors and allows us to properly instruct remote hands (external support provider) to makes any chances on our behalf.

Oxidized (Visibility of Network Equipment)

Our network and power distribution configuration is now stored in git and changes are reported. This improves visibility of any changes, which in turn improves security.

Config is continiously monitored and any config drift between our sites is now much easier to resolve.

Terraform Infrastructure as Code (improve management / repeatability)

Terraform is an infrastructure-as-code tool, we now use it for managing our remote monitoring service (statuscake) and I am in the process of implementing it to manage our AWS and Fastly infrastructure.

Previous these components were all managed manually using the respective web UIs. Infrastructure-as-code allows the Ops team to collaboratively work on changes, enhances visibility and the repeatability / rollback of any changes.

We manage all domains DNS using dnscontrol code. Incremental improvements have been made over the last year, including add CI tests to improve outside collaboration.

Grew our use of cloud services

AWS in use for rendering infrastructure. Optimised AWS costs. Improved security. Improved Backup. More in pipeline

Ops team have slowly been increasing our usage of AWS over a few years. I have built out multiple usage specific AWS accounts using an AWS organisation model to improve billing and security as per AWS best practise guidelines. We generously received AWS sponsorship for expanding our rendering infrastructure. We built the experimental new rendering infrastructure using ARM architecture using AWS Graviton2 EC2.
We haven’t previously used ARM based servers. As part of improvements to our chef (configuration as code) we had added local testing support for Apple Silicon (ARM), only small additions were required to add the required compatibility for ARM servers to chef.

We were impressed by the performance of AWS Graviton2 EC2 instances for running the OSM tile rendering stack. We also tested on-demand scaling and instance snapshotting for potential further rending stack improvements on AWS.
We have increased our usage of AWS for data backup.

Improved our security

Over the last year a number of general security improvements have been made. For example: Server access is now via ssh key (password access now disabled). We’ve also moved from a bespoke gpg based password manager for the ops team to using gopass (feature rich version of ), gopass improves key management and sharing the password store.

Additionally we have also enhanced the lockdown of our wordpress instances by reducing installed components, disabling inline updates and disabling XMLRPC access. We are also working to reduce the users with access and removing unused access permissions.

Documented key areas of vulnerability requiring improvement (Redundancy, Security, etc)

Documentation on technical vulnerability: I am producing a report on key areas of vulnerability requiring improvement (Redundancy, Security, etc). The document can be used to focus investment in future to further reduce our expose to risks.

Refreshed our developer environments

New Dev Server

We migrated all dev users to a new dev server in the last year. The old server was end of life (~10 years old) and was reaching capacity limits (CPU and storage). The new server was delivered directly to the Amsterdam data centre, physically installed by remote hands and I communicated the migration, and then migrated all users and projects across.

Retired Subversion

I retired our old code repository in the last year. The code repository was used since the inception of the project, containing a rich history of code development in the project. I converted svn code repository to git using a custom reposurgeon config, attention was made to maintain the full contribution history and correctly link previous contributors (350+) to respective github and related accounts. The old svn links were maintained and now link to the archive on github

Forum Migration

The old forum migration, we migrated 1 million posts and 16 years of posts to discourse. All posts were converted from fluxbb markdown to discourse’s flavour of markdown. All accounts were merged and auth converted to “single sign-on” based auth.

All the old forum links redirect (link to the imported) to correct content. Users, Categories (Countries etc), Thread Topics, and individual posts.

The OSMF Board reflects on the first third of the 2023

At the start of the year, the Board put together our thoughts on what we saw ahead of us. Four months later, there’s a lot to reflect on and assess. Here’s thoughts from each of us on what’s happened, what’s ahead, and how we’re feeling about it.

We welcome input and contribution to the work of OSMF. Contact us directly or, if you are an OSMF Member, join our monthly Board meeting.


Transitioning to this new role has been a slow learning process for me. In the first three (3) months, I failed to do any tasks as I am still learning (plus some health issues). I am keen to help improve new board member onboarding process, as well as to share semi-annual or annual reflections via my OSM Diary. With that said, my priorities is still the same and I hope to support my colleagues in their tasks to grow our community and maintain the OSM project.

Building more local chapters (Q2 priority)

  • Proposal to Local Chapters application and processes have been drafted and we hope to share it with the community for feedback by end of May / early June
  • Had some chats with potential local chapters (if you are reading this and interested to know more, reach out to me!)
  • We also hope to strengthen our relationship with the current local chapters (will conduct research and consultations with LCCWG) and we will be sharing compiled LC annual reports
  • Diversifying OSMF membership, including membership of OSMF Working Group (Q3 priority)
  • Ensuring financial sustainability and effective fundraising
    • in supportive role, but hope to help in diversifying fundraising activities especially in Asia region

Working on the Board starts with a steep learning curve picking up all the skills needed to be effective. We’d gain a lot by upgrading the on-boarding process before the next Board elections. It’s on my list!

My main focus has been work on the OSMF strategic plan. A small team, Allan Mustard, Sarah Hoffmann and myself have revised and restructured the plan from 2021, translated it into 10 languages and we are now doing a communications campaign inviting widespread OSM user comment on the Community Development part of the plan.

I am bringing OSM into the United Nations Digital Public Goods register and we are now close to concluding the very bureaucratic process of registration. I’m also studying whether the OSMF should appoint a full-time Executive Director. Work on a discussion paper is progressing but has not reached presentation stage yet.

I have put in particular effort learning about the very important but complex Tech side of OSMF from the many sources, and I have attended Operations meetings to find out what the small team does, how they do it and how they might best be supported at Board level.


Guillaume has been occupied with family matters and deeply regrets that he has not been able to attend to OpenStreetMap since.


I am learning how the OSMF board works, with various minor activities like preparing email responses/participating in discussions and meetings. I hope to achieve more in the coming months, especially with issues from strategic meeting plans and what I described during the OSMF elections. I am especially happy that the April licensing issues with data published by Overture Foundation/Linux Foundation are solved.


It’s been been especially intense and productive. We’ve prioritized fundraising in OSMF, brought on a fundraiser to help us with the effort, and drafted guidelines to align fundraising with the mission and values of the OSMF. There’s a lot more to come in the fundraising campaign. Also, I’ve spent a lot of time communicating for the Board with the community and with some of our organizational relationships, and gotten the Advisory Board going again. Been especially interesting to figure out the complexities of things like Overture and Map Builder. I think we’ve struck a good tone, and OSMF is positioned well. Finally I think the Screen 2 Screen was very good to orient us on all the work in front of us, and take single threaded ownership of it. It’s a lot, and I can’t say it doesn’t both excite me and feel daunting, but we have the right set up to see it through.


There is a clearly predominant issue for now: fundraising. The OSMF has now grown to a size where hardware and running expenses are substantial, and the employment of people is a commitment that comes on top of that. We now need close to 700’000 GBP (or EUR or USD) per year to assure that, although we had in the past an income of only about 200’000 GBP (or EUR or USD) per year. We have reserves, so it is not urgent, but really really important.

Starting to work with a fundraiser is thus the right decision. This is currently much US centered – this is within expectations as historically most income has come from there, but also a challenge as we want substantial contributions from outside the US both for the money and the diversification.


After a slow start, board work has become pretty intense in the last two months. The appearance of the Overture foundation was an unplanned event that without a doubt influenced the priorities of the board. Consolidating the OSMF’s financial situation is in full swing. We’ve had fruitful discussions about budgets, and means of funding and fundraising. What has come up again and again in discussions is our pending move to the EU, which would open more venues of cooperation for the OSMF. This will be a priority for me in the next quarter. Working on the Strategy plan updates gave me the opportunity to talk to quite a few members of the community about the future of OSM and I very much like to hear more. Next I will be organising a discussion session at the State of the Map France in Marseille.