2017 has been a good year for OpenStreetMap and the OpenStreetMap foundation. Many things happened and have been achieved that push our project even further. As not everyone was able to watch out for all that great news, we’ll highlight some of 2017’s events and give you some pointers for a further read.
Kate Chapman rounded off the year with her chairperson’s report in which she highlighted the growth of the Foundation membership, enabling it to further support our project. We have almost 900 foundation members in December 2017, which is in part a success of our membership drive last year. In addition to our individual members, we have an additional 24 corporate members, thanks to our new corporate membership program which took effect on Jan 1, 2017. Besides many renewals and tier upgrades we were able to welcome two new bronze members and five new gold members, with many big players on the list. Corporate memberships are a great way for some of our biggest data users to help remove the financial burden from our mappers who already donate so much of their valued time. A larger number of corporate members also makes us less dependent on single large donors. This is a great success.
Let us not forget that it’s the mappers who ultimately power our great geographical data though, and as foundation membership has grown, so has the number of mappers. In the final weeks of 2017 we hit the milestone of 1 million map contributors! We’ll bring you some more details of what that means in another blog post. One big boost to our contributor numbers that received much public attention was Pokémon Go. The news coverage about this game making use of OpenStreetMap data encouraged many players to go edit OpenStreetMap. Back then, we even published a blog post with tips to help new mappers coming from Pokémon Go. While the Foundation and its Data Working Group received some complaints about bad edits related to the game, many more trainers made valuable changes to the map. And in the end, players with constructive, fact-based edits persisted and continue to enrich our project.
OpenStreetMap is a large project with a worldwide community and as such, we’re quite diverse. That’s also why the OpenStreetMap Foundation is pushing for more Local Chapters (LCs) to form local representations of OpenStreetMap enthusiasts. That being said, we’ve been able to welcome three(!) new Local Chapters last year already. OSM UK, was last year’s first new addition (welcome!), followed by OpenStreetMap France (welcome!). Technically there has been a third one early in December 2017! But hold your horses. We’ll be bringing an announcement of that one very soon! That means the OSMF has six Local Chapters as of now, and hopefully at least two more LCs will follow in 2018. By the way, if you’re from a local community and are interested in starting your own Local Chapter or just want to chat about it or seek input, we had some meetups at the last two SotM conferences with new ideas and have revived the local-chapters mailing list for that reason.
Speaking of SotM, the global annual conference of OpenStreetMap went to Japan this year. State Of The Map 2017 was another fantastic event, and our busy organizing committee (one of the foundation working groups which you can join!) is already ramping up to bring together the 2018 conference in Milan, Italy.
There have been many more topics and development over the year and Dorothea, responding to feedback on our foundation members’ mailing list, compiled a list of foundation tasks and projects that have been either completed during this year or are still ongoing. Furthermore, there’s also a great overview of hers that summarizes all OSMF board meeting minutes in 2017, featuring topics discussed and decisions taken.
Speaking of the OSMF board, we had board elections in December 2017 and want to take the chance to congratulate Heather Leson and Paul Norman for being voted to the board! This year’s elections have been somewhat exhausting with about 50 different threads and about 600 messages on the foundation members’ list, compared to not even half that many during the rest of the year. The language was a bit heated at times, although there were also quite a lot of interesting and valuable discussions. Let’s hope that some of this energy and passion will be channelled into year-round community involvement in foundation matters.
And so, with a great and eventful 2017 coming to an end, we’re welcoming 2018, looking forward to yet another great year for OpenStreetMap!
Mappy new year everyone!