Category Archives: State of the Map

State Of The Map. The OpenStreetMap conference organised by the foundation

SotM 2020 is here, more ways to get involved!

Photo on the left by Manfred Stock. State of the Map 2020 logo by Ed Nicolai, CC-BY-SA 4.0

State of the Map 2020 is just a few weeks away and here are many ways you can still get involved, aside joining scheduled online sessions.

Lightning Talks

Do you want to hold a Lightning Talk during SotM 2020? Submit a pre-recorded 5 minutes video of your Lightning Talk on an OpenStreetMap related topic. Read the how to guide for pre-recorded SotM talks, upload your video here and add your session to this SotM 2020 Wikipage.

The deadline for lightning talk submissions is 28 June 2020.

Self Organized Sessions

Besides the main SotM programme we are offering space for self-organized sessions. If you have an idea for a panel or even a workshop, a self-organized session is the right place for that. The only requirement is that your topic has to be related to OpenStreetMap. We are using the SotM 2020 Wiki for the organization of such sessions so that everybody is able to jump in without any formal barrier.

Of course the Code of Conduct of SotM also applies to the self-organized sessions.

You can find more information on how to prepare and submit a self organized session for SotM 2020 here.

Volunteers

We are looking for volunteers to help in the following roles during SotM 2020:

  • Infodesk – To help answer questions on the SotM Telegram group, SotM Twitter and the IRC Channel.
  • Session Host – To announce the speakers before the talks and lead the Questions & Answers sessions after the talks.
  • Technical Assistant – To help the speaker and the session host with the video conference equipment. 
  • Broadcasting – To do the streaming during the conference. 

You can read more about these roles and add your name here if interested: https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/State_of_the_Map_2020/volunteers

Conference swag

This year everything is slightly different – including swag. Feel free to help yourself with the designs for t-shirts and stickers and don’t hesitate to share with us photos of your printed swags 🙂

The State of the Map Working Group

Do you want to translate this and other blogposts in another language..? Please send an email to communication@osmfoundation.org with subject: Helping with translations in [language]

The State of the Map conference is the annual, international conference of OpenStreetMap, organised by the OpenStreetMap Foundation. The OpenStreetMap Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation, formed in the UK 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 and you can support it by becoming a member. The State of the Map Organising Committee is one of our volunteer Working Groups.

OpenStreetMap was founded in 2004 and is a international project to create a free map of the world. To do so, we, thousands of volunteers, collect data about roads, railways, rivers, forests, buildings and a lot more worldwide. Our map data can be downloaded for free by everyone and used for any purpose – including commercial usage. It is possible to produce your own maps which highlight certain features, to calculate routes etc. OpenStreetMap is increasingly used when one needs maps which can be very quickly, or easily, updated.

State of the Map 2020 – Call for Posters

Submit a poster today!

Building on previous State of the Map culture, we love to hear what has been done with OpenStreetMap data, and as the motto for this year also implies too “Art of the Map” we would love to see more. Therefore, we invite you to participate in our poster exhibition for the virtual State of the Map 2020!

Your poster could show how well your home region is mapped, it could be a beautiful new style or map. It might focus on a community project or statistics, it might be a poster explaining and inviting people to OpenStreetMap. What’s important, is we want it to be about OSM. We’re also welcoming academic posters about research around OpenStreetMap data.

Need more inspiration? Take a look at the posters from 2019.

Rules for submission

  • Poster should be for A0 size (841×1189mm)
  • Poster should be related to OpenStreetMap
  • Poster should be open, innovative and transparent (no-copying)
  • Poster must be your own work (individual, team or institution)
  • Poster should be under open licence (CC-BY-SA 3.0 or later recommended or CC0 🙂 )
  • Maximum 2 entries per person, team or institution

How to enter

  • Upload your poster to OSM Wiki
  • File size maximum 30-40 MB
  • Format PDF
  • Please send an email to sotm@openstreetmap.org with a description of your poster, for example the background of the project or whatever you find important to mention in the context of the poster – all that you would tell people if you show them your poster. We will publish this text together with the poster on the SotM website https://2020.stateofthemap.org/calls/posters/
  • Please mention also the link of the uploaded poster in that email, so that we could know which of the uploaded posters is yours.

Timeline and Deadlines

  • Start: 10 May 2020
  • Deadline: 30 June 2020

The SotM team hopes to shortlist up to 20 posters that will be published on our website and some other SotM channels under CC BY SA 3.0 (or later)

The State of the Map Working Group


Do you want to translate this and other blogposts in your language..? Please send an email to communication@osmfoundation.org with subject: Helping with translations in [your language]

The State of the Map conference is the annual, international conference of OpenStreetMap, organised by the OpenStreetMap Foundation. The OpenStreetMap Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation, formed in the UK 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 and you can support it by becoming a member. The State of the Map Organising Committee is one of our volunteer Working Groups.

OpenStreetMap was founded in 2004 and is a international project to create a free map of the world. To do so, we, thousands of volunteers, collect data about roads, railways, rivers, forests, buildings and a lot more worldwide. Our map data can be downloaded for free by everyone and used for any purpose – including commercial usage. It is possible to produce your own maps which highlight certain features, to calculate routes etc. OpenStreetMap is increasingly used when one needs maps which can be very quickly, or easily, updated.

SotM 2020 will be a virtual conference

Photo on the left by Manfred Stock. State of the Map 2020 logo by Ed Nicolai, CC-BY-SA 4.0

Due to the high infection risk of SARS-COV-2 virus and all its consequences like travel restrictions, cancellation of physical meetings, “physical distancing”, and more, a physical SotM is not possible this year.

The local team – who have done great work preparing this conference so far – have suggested to change the physical conference to a virtual one. This wasn’t just an idle talk: they have already started a cool open source software project – https://gitlab.com/billowconf/billowconf for managing this! If you have any idea of how to make it better, please don’t hesitate to get on board.

So the State of the Map working group adopted the proposed plan, and agreed to have an online SotM conference this year instead of a physical one.

We know about your disappointment of not meeting each other physically this year (we are disappointed too), but after a few months of lockdown and “physical distancing” we are sure that we will all be excited to be reading and seeing each other in chats and videos. We will share more on the technical plans as the date comes closer.

The online conference will take place on 4-5 July 2020 (duration shortened to two days instead of three). We planned an extended Q&A session after each talk and plenty of free spaces for discussions. So that the OpenStreetMap community can have a great week-end together.

The State of the Map Working Group


English blogpost by Christine Karch, proofreading by Frederik Ramm

Interested to help the SotM Working Group..? We are looking for you.

The State of the Map conference is the annual, international conference of OpenStreetMap, organised by the OpenStreetMap Foundation. The OpenStreetMap Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation, formed in the UK 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 and you can support it by becoming a member. The State of the Map Organising Committee is one of our volunteer Working Groups.

OpenStreetMap was founded in 2004 and is a international project to create a free map of the world. To do so, we, thousands of volunteers, collect data about roads, railways, rivers, forests, buildings and a lot more worldwide. Our map data can be downloaded for free by everyone and used for any purpose – including commercial usage. It is possible to produce your own maps which highlight certain features, to calculate routes etc. OpenStreetMap is increasingly used when one needs maps which can be very quickly, or easily, updated.

Do you want to translate this and other blogposts in your language..? Please send an email to communication@osmfoundation.org with subject: Helping with translations in [your language]

Applications for State of the Map 2020 scholarships are now open!

State of the Map 2020 logo by Ed Nicolai, CC-BY-SA 4.0

State of the Map is the annual event for all mappers and OpenStreetMap users. We invite all OSM enthusiasts – whether you are a hobby mapper, a scientific researcher, a humanitarian, with an NGO or a government agency, a small business or a global company — to join us in Cape Town, July 3-5, 2020 as we share experiences and ideas of taking the OSM ecosystem forward.

We want to enable as many of you as possible to be part of State of the Map 2020. We are happy to announce that we can provide financial support, thanks to the generosity of our sponsors. This year we are offering new travel grants to reimburse a portion of travel costs, in addition to our previous program that fully covers all costs with a full scholarship. 

If you are selected, we invite and expect participation at State of the Map. That could be a talk if selected by the program committee, or in lightning talk sessions we’ll make available for scholars. There are other ways to participate and support the operations of the conference while you attend too. 

Apply now for support to join us in Cape Town
for State of the Map 2020!

Deadline: 15th February 2020

Each year we receive more scholarship applications than we are able to support. To help us best allocate the funds, please specify the minimum types of support you need to attend. If you are requesting a travel grant, then tell us the amount of money to cover a portion of your travel and make a difference to attending, or not.

Please review our privacy policy covering how we will handle the information in your application.

Some of the SotM 2019 scholars. Photo by OSM CWG, CC-BY-SA 3.0.
OSM logo by Ken Vermette, CC-BY-SA 3.0, trademarks apply.

Here are some tips to help you complete your application. You can also check out Gregory’s post on how we selected scholars in 2017.

  • Select the minimum level of scholarship you need. This will help us to make the best use of limited funds and enable more scholars to join.
  • Make sure you clearly state your visa and travel requirements, as well as potential other funding sources.
  • Answer the question “Please describe your involvement in OSM and how will attending State of the Map benefit you, your local mapping community and the wider OpenStreetMap project” in 1500 characters maximum. Keep sentences short. Focus on the benefits to you and to OpenStreetMap.
  • We want to hear about your contributions to OpenStreetMap, your project or your group. We do not want an account of a group’s work but your individual part in it. Try to use “I” not “we“.
  • You may include links to your OpenStreetMap profile, a local group you run, or software you created. If your written answer is satisfactory to get in our shortlist – we might take a look at these additional details.
  • What topics or views will you bring to SotM that are otherwise missing?
  • What do you plan to achieve through coming to the SotM?
  • What do you plan to do when you return home after SotM?
  • Are you applying to organise sotm?

We encourage all applicants to already have passports and they should be valid 30 days from exit from South Africa and 6 months from entry in South Africa. 

Review process

Reviewing scholarships

You can read about the scholarship review process for 2019 here. For SotM 2020 we again asked community members to join the review process, and will be finalizing the review team in the coming weeks.

Here’s a list of factors that we will consider when reviewing the applications:

  • Is the applicant part of an under-represented minority group?
  • Are they from an under-represented location?
  • Are they contributing to OSM in a substantial way? (Not only OpenStreetMap edits, but contributed to wiki and documentation, trainers, developers).
  • Have they applied previously and not gotten a scholarship?
  • Do they have a unique story or experience to share?
  • Are they in a position to share their SotM experience with a larger group?
  • Will their attendance benefit their local community in some way?
  • How difficult will their visa application be?
  • How will attending State of the Map benefit them and OpenStreetMap?
  • Are they interested in organizing future OpenStreetMap events?

SotM 2020 scholarships team

Interested to help the SotM Working Group..? We are looking for you.

The State of the Map conference is the annual, international conference of OpenStreetMap, organised by the OpenStreetMap Foundation. The OpenStreetMap Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation, formed in the UK 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 and you can support it by becoming a member. The State of the Map Organising Committee is one of our volunteer Working Groups.

OpenStreetMap was founded in 2004 and is a international project to create a free map of the world. To do so, we, thousands of volunteers, collect data about roads, railways, rivers, forests, buildings and a lot more worldwide. Our map data can be downloaded for free by everyone and used for any purpose – including commercial usage. It is possible to produce your own maps which highlight certain features, to calculate routes etc. OpenStreetMap is increasingly used when one needs maps which can be very quickly, or easily, updated.

Call for help reviewing State of the Map 2020 scholarship applications

Preparation for State of the Map 2020, Cape Town is underway and the organizing team is calling upon you to join the scholarships review and selection team. We would like to set up a diverse team with a wide geographic scope, ethnic and gender diversity, and different kinds of experiences in the OpenStreetMap community.

State of the Map 2019 scholars. Photo by Thomas Skowron, CC BY 2.0

What does being part of the review team mean?
Being on the scholar selection team means that you will read and rate most or all of the SotM 2020 scholarship applications. You will learn about interesting projects and about the contributions of other OSMers first hand. We will help you by providing the criteria to judge the applications. We expect the scoring to take a half day to a full day all together, spread out over several days. We will send you a spreadsheet or a link to an online spreadsheet and you will be asked to
i) provide a single rating for each application and
ii) add a note why you gave that rating. We will use those comments during the final selection.

After scoring the applications you can participate in the team’s discussions about the final selection – but this is not an absolute requirement. So, if you do not feel comfortable or have technical difficulties, do not worry. Please note that we expect any personal information provided by the applicants, or by other team members, to be kept confidential.

What is the timeline?
Submissions for scholarship applications will open on January 15, 2020 and close on February 15, 2020 so you will have to read and rate the applications up to March 1, 2020. During the last week of February, you will be asked if you want to participate in the discussions about the final selection.

Are you interested?
If you are interested in being considered as a member of the selection team, please fill this form by January 7, 2020.

If you have any questions/feedback, send us an email at scholar-sotm@openstreetmap.org.

SotM 2020 scholarships team

Interested to help in other ways..? We are looking for you.

The State of the Map conference is the annual, international conference of OpenStreetMap, organised by the OpenStreetMap Foundation. The OpenStreetMap Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation, formed in the UK 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 and you can support it by becoming a member. The State of the Map Organising Committee is one of our volunteer Working Groups.

OpenStreetMap was founded in 2004 and is a international project to create a free map of the world. To do so, we, thousands of volunteers, collect data about roads, railways, rivers, forests, buildings and a lot more worldwide. Our map data can be downloaded for free by everyone and used for any purpose – including commercial usage. It is possible to produce your own maps which highlight certain features, to calculate routes etc. OpenStreetMap is increasingly used when one needs maps which can be very quickly, or easily, updated.

Call for State of the Map 2020 presentations is now open

State of the Map 2019 attendees. Photo by Thomas Skowron, CC BY 2.0

As of now we are accepting your talks and presentations in the following State of the Map 2020 tracks:

  • OSM Basics: Information dedicated to newcomers
  • Community & Foundation: Bringing people together, working group experiences, strategies & vision
  • Mapping: All about making the mapping easier and better
  • Cartography: Your ideas on how to create good-looking manifestations of the OSM dataset
  • Software Development: Software for processing and editing data
  • Data Analysis & Data Model: Reflections about the OSM data, its model and analysis of quality and completeness
  • User Experiences: Tell your surprising story of using OSM as an end-user
  • Art & Creativity: Creative projects with OSM
  • Academic Track: There will be a proper academic track, it will be announced separately

Art & Creativity is a completely new track at SotM. It provides a space to present your artistic and creative projects that use OpenStreetMap data or the OpenStreetMap theme to e.g. create clothing, jewellery, 3D printed objects, engravings, visualizations, computer or mobile games, virtual worlds, augmented reality, flyers, postcards, etc.

You will also find an additional submission type called Panel. Panels are for hot, controversial discussions around the OSM community, mapping and data. Topics may cover for example diversity, legal questions or the future of the database.

You will find the Call for Participation and the link to the submission form at:

https://2020.stateofthemap.org/cfp

SotM 2019 volunteers. Photo by Manfred Stock, CC BY 2.0

If you’re reading this but giving a presentation is not your preferred way of helping make a great SotM conference, the SotM working group is also looking for your help. Please take a look at our recent blog post to read more about what we do and to find out where you could bring in your talents:
https://blog.openstreetmap.org/2019/11/07/the-state-of-the-map-working-group-is-looking-for-you/

We are looking forward to your fresh ideas and beautiful maps!

SotM 2020 Program Committee

The State of the Map conference is the annual, international conference of OpenStreetMap, organised by the OpenStreetMap Foundation. The OpenStreetMap Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation, formed in the UK 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 and you can support it by becoming a member. The State of the Map Organising Committee is one of our volunteer Working Groups.

The State of the Map Working Group is looking for you!

Organising the international State of the Map conference is a huge effort! But it can be broken down to small and straightforward tasks. We are looking for you! Are you interested in taking over one of our tasks? This post shows you what we’re doing – maybe there’s something here that you can help with. Or ask us for more details of tasks you are interested in!

What we’re doing

Next year’s SotM is usually announced at the end of the previous one. That means that work on next year’s SotM already starts before the current SotM even begins! We have to publish a call for bids and sort out the options with the local teams. And to make a well-founded and often difficult decision.

Preparing phase – shortly after SotM

Once a SotM is done, the SotM working group starts working with the local team for next year. The first steps are creating the logo and the prospectus for sponsors. Also, the website is launched around this time, and we sort out the possibilities for the social event.

The program committee start their work by setting up the call for papers. The scholarship committee also have to do a lot of preparation before they can publish their offer.

In the middle of the year – growing phase

Finding sponsors, the call for papers, and scholarships or travel grants are the activities that dominate this phase. Then the review phase for both talk submissions and scholarship applications starts. Finishing the schedule and adjusting with the speakers can be a challenge. The website team has to include the sponsor logos and provide content about the venue, and later the schedule.

The hot phase before the conference

Ticket sales is opened. We have to ensure that all speakers have tickets. This year we were sold out and we had to answer a lot of questions.

Catering has to be ordered. The social event has to be fixed.

Scholars have to be managed. In the past we arranged travel for them and helped apply for a visa if necessary. Also accommodation has to be sorted out for them.

Sponsors have to be taken care of. They get vouchers for conference tickets, and they can provide input for the booklet. Some sponsors may have special requirements.

A lot of design work comes our way in this phase too: signs, banners, but also the T-shirts. Also, the the program booklet is considerable work until it is perfect.

The video recording (and, if possible, streaming) has to be arranged, and we need to check the local internet access situation.

Shortly before the conference we set up a Telegram group. We have to coordinate a lot of volunteers who help during the conference at the welcome desk, at catering, in the sessions, or with the video cameras.

How you can help

Design work

  • Logo
  • Website layout
  • Sponsor prospectus layout
  • Booklet layout
  • Banners, signs
  • T-Shirt design
  • Certificate of attendance

Sponsorship

  • Preparing the sponsor packages
  • Finding sponsors
  • Communication with sponsors
  • Collecting the logos and booklet ads
  • Issue ticket vouchers to sponsors
  • Sponsor logo on slides and banners
  • Preparing sponsor booths at the conference

Administrative work

  • Budget planning
  • Financial coordination with OSMF
  • Planning the timeline
  • Preparing group meetings
  • Setting up the registration system
  • Administration of group mailing lists
  • Conference insurance
  • Legal and permission issues
  • Safety considerations

Program

  • Call for presentations
  • Looking for interesting speakers
  • Setting up the talk submission system
  • Review of the submissions
  • Working out a proper schedule
  • Communication with speakers
  • Coordination with scholarship team
  • Canceling, changing, rearranging talks
  • Poster competition
  • Keynote speakers
  • OSM Awards

Travel Grant

  • Call for scholarship
  • Review of the submissions
  • Travel management, accommodation
  • Invitation letters
  • Preparing a travel guide for scholars
  • Local work
  • Social event (space, catering, music)
  • Conference catering
  • Organizing a pre-event
  • Hotel reservations
  • Name badges, lanyards
  • Ordering of T-Shirts
  • Ordering of banners
  • Printing out of Posters and Signs
  • Preparing the venue (video, wifi)

Communication

  • Website content: sponsors, venue, accommodation, attendees, call for presentations, etc.
  • Creating texts for Twitter, blog posts, mailing lists, newsletter etc.
  • Translation into other languages
  • Answering mails of attendees
  • Telegram groups (during the conference)

Conference work

  • Managing the volunteers
  • Preparing tables, poster walls
  • Setting up banner, signs etc.
  • Welcome desk
  • Video & streaming
  • Video cutting, upload
  • Collecting slides of speakers
  • Catering
  • Session moderation
  • Technical assistance in sessions
  • Code of Conduct team

Looking for the next venue

  • Call for bids
  • Communication on mailing lists etc.
  • Communication with applying teams
  • Review and decision process

Communication

We mainly collaborate via email and on Github in English. The core SotM team has voice meetings on Mumble.

Contact us

Interested? Email sotm@openstreetmap.org

SotM Working Group

Follow us @sotm!

The State of the Map conference is the annual, international conference of OpenStreetMap, organised by the OpenStreetMap Foundation. The OpenStreetMap Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation, formed in the UK 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 and you can support it by becoming a member. The State of the Map Organising Committee is one of our volunteer Working Groups.

We need your vote at the OpenStreetMap Awards

2018 OSM Awards, photo by Map Kibera

The community voting for the OpenStreetMap Awards 2019 is open! We had a call for nominees, during which you have submitted the names of almost a hundred mappers, bloggers, developers and teams. Then OSMF working groups, the Board and past winners helped to prepare a shorter list. And now it is again your turn: choose who gets an award during the ceremony at the State of the Map in Heidelberg.

We have 28 nominees to choose from: six categories of notable mappers, developers, writers and community builders, and a new category for teams: commercial companies and groups of people working together to make OpenStreetMap better. Every one of these worked hard, and deserves every bit of our love.

You don’t have to choose only one nominee per category: that would be an impossible choice, given we have so many great people on the list. Click as many checkboxes as you like, even all of them. What matters is not winning, but knowing that hundreds of people support you and your project. The main point of a community is to support its members, and this is your chance to do that. Don’t forget to press the “Vote” button afterwards.

The voting ends soon, on 18th of September, so please do not postpone visiting the website — spend a minute right now. Please vote now and show your appreciation!

State of the Map 2019 program and call for posters

Viewing SotM 2018 posters. Photograph by Thomas Skowron, CC BY 2.0

SotM 2019 Program Announced

The last couple of months have been busy with organising the State of the Map 2019 conference. In particular, the program committees have done the difficult job of selecting which talks will be presented at the conference. We had many submissions and unfortunately we could not accept them all, but we aimed at selecting talks that we believe you will all find really interesting.

As well as the regular talks in the program, this year also sees a full track on Sunday dedicated to academic talks which anyone is welcome to attend, not just the academically inclined among you!

For more information on the talks that were selected and when they will be presented, take a look at the program. Most talks will be recorded, so if you cannot attend, you can watch them online after the conference!

Call for Posters

Getting the selection of talks ready was not the only thing happening the past few weeks – we have also been preparing for the annual poster competition. This year we have a dedicated poster session at the conference where selected posters will be exhibited and you will have a chance to meet the creators and talk with them.

For more details on how to submit, see our Call for Posters.

Your poster could show how well your home region is mapped, it could be a beautiful new style or map. It might focus on a community project or statistics, it might be a poster explaining and inviting people to OpenStreetMap. What’s important, is we want it to be about OSM. We’re also welcoming academic posters about research around OpenStreetMap data.

You don’t have to attend SotM 2019 to submit a poster.

Early Bird Tickets

Early bird tickets are still available at the ticket sales web page. These prices are only available until the 21st of July, so get your ticket now!

SotM Organising Committee

Sign up for event updates and follow us @sotm!

The State of the Map conference is the annual, international conference of OpenStreetMap, organised by the OpenStreetMap Foundation. The OpenStreetMap Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation, formed in the UK 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 and you can support it by becoming a member. The State of the Map Organising Committee is one of our volunteer Working Groups.

Why your community should host State of the Map

Post by Gregory Marler on LivingWithDragons. Re-posted with permission.

The OpenStreetMap event of the year is “State of the Map” (SotM), an international conference run by the OpenStreetMap Foundation and I love being part of the organising committee that brings so many people to one place. We’re volunteers and it takes a lot of work and a lot of local knowledge throughout the year to organise a 400+ conference, so we ask for communities to bid to host it in their city/area. There’s support in overseeing what needs to be done, budgeting, and links with previous sponsors, but it relies on a full local team to join in the help. This led me to ask, why should your community host State of the Map?

The photographer takes a group photo of delegates and team at SotM 2018 (Italy)

It will use the skills of your community. The organisation work requires researching suppliers of booklet printing, catering, etc. It needs people to communicate with the venue and with our sponsors, even speakers and scholarship applications. There’s usually help needed with graphics and there’s space for people to suggest new ideas for the conference. During the event we need welcoming people, and people to keep the schedule running on time. There’s so many different things to do and they vary in how visible from them. I firmly believe the best way to appreciate individuals is to know they’ve dealt with an essential task or to encourage them to take on a task you think they’ll be good at.

Along with the conference, of course comes lots of knowledgeable people. In the talks and in the coffee break discussions you get to hear updates about OpenStreetMap, learn new things or get more detail from the experts and different communities. This is both for your local SotM team, as it’s encouraged to listen to the talks if you’re helping out, and it’s for your wider community of OSMers and newbies in the city/country/region. This can be a great chance for locals to attend SotM when they might not usually due to travel distance and barriers such as costs or visas.

Stickers at a SotM Scotland event in 2012

Don’t think about one weekend, as often the conference is a catalyst to have more local events. In the build up to SotM you’ll want to meet more often and you’ll get to know people who live near by. Hosting SotM has also led to more events following it as people want to continue the in-person sharing of knowledge and community. You might host extra events in collaboration with other organisations, in the past countries have even ended up having scenarios like “The month of maps”. I would encourage you to have had some community meetups before bidding for SotM, it gives you practice setting dates, communication, and venues.

Remember that OpenStreetMap is not about a conference. However, the conference helps us build new understanding. This can lead to new contributors joining OpenStreetMap (maybe getting more involved) and new uses of OpenStreetMap by being inspired and encouraged what others can do. You might want to invite local government or companies that are on the fence with deciding to use or release open data.

My last reason is that, it’s fun. We’re all a nice bunch of people really. There’s usually an organised social evening at SotM (we’ve had private tram tours, picnics in the park, a performance by Japanese drummers, all sorts). On the other nights the visiting mappers will look to your community team for advice on where to eat/drink and what are really the best nearby tourist sights. If you love your town, then you should love sharing the best bits and the secrets with the new friends you make.

What to do now? First of all, read the Call for Venues page, because that contains a lot better detail on what is needed to be ready and what is needed in your bid. I would suggest getting together a community that is interested in hosting, even if they have different levels of interest and different amounts of availability. Find a date to give about 2 weeks notice, find a place to meet like a coffee shop or a friendly office, and use various social media to invite local mappers to come and chat about State of the Map in your town. You might start writing the bid there (copy the example bid format), you might assign people to go away and research the different sections required.

Dinner and a drum performance at State of the Map 2017 (Japan)

You are very welcome to contact the SotM team early on, this might be once you’ve suggested it to your community it might be before that initial meeting I suggested. We want to help you out, and to help you with your bid. This could be linking you up with others nearby that have got in touch with us, or answering questions you have.

After the bids come in we get the challenge of choosing which bid will host SotM next year. It’s a difficult decision, and we’ve come to learn what will make the conference run smoothly. Don’t be disheartened if your bid is not selected. All that research and team building can be usefully adapted to running a smaller conference for your country or region (there’s a whole list of them). These won’t be an OSMF-run conference but the global team is still keen to assist in small ways. Often local/regional conferences contact us with their proposed dates before they announce, and find it helpful to know if they might clash with others (potentially causing less people to attend). Running a country-level conference can also show how well you can run an event, it could set you up well to bid for SotM in future years. I’d love to see some of the previous ones run on an international level, and it’s great to see more of these pop up.

The Call for Venues deadline is 30th August 2019.

Gregory Marler

Follow State of the Map @sotm!

The State of the Map conference is the annual, international conference of OpenStreetMap, organised by the OpenStreetMap Foundation. The OpenStreetMap Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation, formed in the UK 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. The State of the Map Organising Committee is one of our volunteer Working Groups.