Category Archives: Uncategorized

Survey on global and local communities in OpenStreetMap

Image by Harry Wood. Background by Michael Belew (public domain).
OSM logo by Ken Vermette (cc-by-sa & trademarks apply)

In advance of State of the Map 2019, with this survey we are reaching out to communities across the globe, especially to voices we might not otherwise hear. This will not be a quantitative poll. Since we are circulating this through all our networks, it can’t even give a representative sample of the OSM community. 

The next big thing is State of the Map (SotM), and we want to feed the discussions there. SotM is the place where people from all over the world meet and mingle, and in this survey we would like to focus on communication and what is happening around the world. What are people doing in Bali, Belarus and Brazil? Is there a local community? What can we learn from each other? How do we all get involved in the global community? 

We would like to see how the local communities are connected to the global OpenStreetMap community. What actions should the OpenStreetMap Foundation undertake? What concerns and ideas does they community have? Please note that this is in no way a vote, but rather a means of gathering information to take better informed decisions. 

We encourage people to get together and discuss and even provide group answers. You can choose to provide answers only to the Board, or indicate they be shared publicly but anonymously.


https://osmf.limequery.org/428835

End of survey period: 2019-08-21

Ability to resume answering: yes.

Note: Please have javascript enabled and make sure your ad-blocker does not interfere. You might want to save any free-text answers on a text document and then paste them on the survey. If you encounter any problems, please email dorothea@osmfoundation.org

On privacy

We will collect all answers. Answers might contain personal information that you provided, such as country, OSM username, email address, years of mapping, whether you identify as a mapper/OSMF member/etc.

  • You don’t have to answer any question, except the first one, about consent.
  • Please email privacy@osmfoundation.org for privacy matters regarding the questionnaire.

On translations

Community members have volunteered and translated the survey in their languages. Thanks!

Links you can share
English (Base language): https://osmf.limequery.org/428835?lang=en
Chinese (Simplified): https://osmf.limequery.org/428835?lang=zh-Hans
Chinese (Traditional; Hong Kong): https://osmf.limequery.org/428835?lang=zh-Hant-HK
French: https://osmf.limequery.org/428835?lang=fr
German: https://osmf.limequery.org/428835?lang=de
Hungarian: https://osmf.limequery.org/428835?lang=hu
Italian: https://osmf.limequery.org/428835?lang=it
Lithuanian: https://osmf.limequery.org/428835?lang=lt
Persian: https://osmf.limequery.org/428835?lang=fa
Portuguese (Brazilian): https://osmf.limequery.org/428835?lang=pt-BR
Spanish: https://osmf.limequery.org/428835?lang=es

Helping with translations
If you want to help translating answers from the above languages, please sign this non-disclosure agreement and send it to communication@osmfoundation.org with subject “Helping with translations in [language]”. Thank you.

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, is financially supported by membership fees and donations, and organises the annual, international State of the Map conference. It has no full-time employees and it is supporting the OpenStreetMap project through the work of our volunteer Working Groups. Please consider becoming a member and read about our fee-waiver program.

Call for help with translations of blog posts and surveys

Would you like to translate posts on blog.openstreetmap.org? Or see surveys from the OpenStreetMap Foundation in your language..? This is a call to community members who have helped with translations in the past or want to help now.

  • You can translate as many old or new blog posts as you like – expressing an interest does not mean you have to translate every new post.
  • We would like to encourage people to collaborate! If more than one person can do a translation, we would be thrilled if you work together.

Blog post translations

We’d like to make the official blog at blog.openstreetmap.org available in more languages, and for some of the existing languages we’d need to catch up on translations of recent blog posts. These are straightforward and we will provide initial guidance.

Extra help needed for translations of surveys

For surveys we need help both in translating the questions, as well as the answers. For that reason we would be thrilled if local communities decided to form small groups that will volunteer to help us. Please note that as anyone who helps with surveys will have access to information that people might want to keep private, you will have to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

The OpenStreetMap Foundation will start doing surveys 2-3 times per year. The next one is planned just before the State of the Map 2019 conference and translation of questions will start this week.

Next step

Want to help?
Please send us an email to communication@osmfoundation.org 
with subject: Helping with translations in [your language]
and indicate whether you want to help with translations of blog posts, surveys or both.

Thank you!

Communication Working Group

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, is financially supported by membership fees and donations, and organises the annual, international State of the Map conference. It has no full-time employees and it is supporting the OpenStreetMap project through the work of our volunteer Working Groups. Please consider becoming a member and read about our fee-waiver program.

The June solstice is upon us

Spherical sundial by Simon Moroder. Photo by Giovanni Novara, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The June solstice is upon us, which means the seasons are changing — and with that, lots of opportunities to map, no matter which hemisphere you’re in!

If you’re in the northern hemisphere, why not take a look at your local outdoor fun: maybe it’s swimming pools, beaches, hiking and biking trails, and the like. The parks and playgrounds might be busy, as well as sports pitches, places to camp, national parks, wildlife parks and more. Midsummer is also a holiday in many countries, why not map the local traditions like permanent maypoles? Or mapping your local ice cream parlours might be fun.

And if you’re in the southern hemisphere, it’s winter! It may be a bit colder, and good weather for winter sports like skiing, or maybe just staying indoors at your local pub, restaurant, indoor pool and so on. Are your local favorites on the map already? There are also winter festivals all over the hemisphere, have you mapped them? And in warmer climates, it may be nice weather for exploring outside, going surfing, taking road trips and more.

Speaking of the solstice, are the observatories and other astronomical facilities in your area mapped? Is the sundial of the cover photograph mapped?

You can also try recording GPS tracks or taking GPS-tagged photos of your outings to help yourself and others add more data to the map. Or you can even look for things named summer and help complete the map there! For example, the hamlet of Summer, Algeria, the Summer Palace in Beijing, the Summer Place pub in San Francisco and the Summer Hill Creek in Australia. Or maybe there are locations named Winter near you.

Do you have any other ideas for seasonal mapping? Let everyone know in the comments.

Calling for nominees for the OpenStreetMap Awards 2019

Photo by @KTMLivingLabs

We are announcing the call for nominees for the OpenStreetMap Awards 2019, which will be presented this September at the State of the Map 2019 conference in Heidelberg!

These are community awards, as nominees and winners are chosen by the community. The Awards strive to be a worldwide event for all OpenStreetMap members, including developers, mappers, community leaders, blog writers and everyone else. We need your help to find the best of OpenStreetMap globally.

For the fourth awards, we have made some changes. Gone are the three regional categories. Sorry. We have strong enough OSM representation in these countries to be listed together with other candidates. Also, there is a new category: Team Achievement Award. Companies, teams and groups should go there, to not compete with people in other categories. We had quite a lot of issues because of that mixing previously: how do you compare a mapper and an entire local chapter?

We’re mostly looking for new innovations, so only projects/works that were announced after June 1st 2018 are eligible. The Ulf Möller Award is an exception to this. Everyone is eligible regardless of the time when they were active in the project. You personally and your friends are eligible, do add yourself! Winners of past awards and selection committee members (in their categories) cannot be nominated.

The call for nominees will close in a month — on 15th of July. Whenever you see an interesting entry on OSM diaries or in WeeklyOSM, take a moment to submit the name for the award. The more nominees we have, the more interesting the final voting will be. Please keep in mind that we have the OpenStreetMap Awards and nominate people now!

Surveying OpenStreetMap

CC-BY-SA 4.0 OSM CWG

Ahead of the Board Face to Face in Brussels we asked people across the project to share the most important topics facing OpenStreetMap. Thank you to every one of you who responded – 161 people in total! We want to share how we found this valuable and how it informed the meeting, some summary results and specific follow ups underway. Surveys are something with want to repeat – and we want help to implement with the best practice, and cover the right topics.

The value of surveying

You would think that the Board, seven people with presence in many different communities and communication channels, would know nearly everything happening in the project and what issues were top of mind. But with such an enormous scale of work and messaging, it’s impossible to form a cohesive picture. There are many people whose voices we don’t otherwise hear – due to language, the proliferation of channels, and communication style. We know that these 161 responses provide just one window into how we might improve community feedback loops. With a formal structure like the Board of Directors, with formal meetings and minutes and statements, it’s hard for everyone else to know we are listening.

OpenStreetMap is made up of everyone who takes part in it, and hearing each other’s voices in a coordinated way, on a regular basis, will help prioritize where work is needed and what actions to pursue. It ensures a standard way to engage. Surveying can help set up mechanisms to route issues to the right place, share pathways for OpenStreetMap members to contribute and address problems, and identify where the project as a whole needs more help to come up with answers. We can identify people and topics for more in depth follow up. This will only work and be useful if there is actual follow through and transparency on what we hear through surveys.

The results of this survey

Frederik summarized and classified each of the responses, to produce this summary list. This is just one way of classifying the responses – other Board members had similar breakdowns, but nothing as comprehensive. There weren’t tags for everything, and some responses were clearly not relevant. Most didn’t specify what they thought the Board could, but expressed generally things they’d like to see happen.

  • some form of Global Logic/Hostile Takeover concern
  • some concern about building a friendlier, better informed, more inclusive community (different users stressing different targets for inclusivity e.g. regions, countries, interest groups)
  • the suggestion that tagging rules need to be clearer, better documented, or a better process needs to exist
  • dissatisfaction with how the iD editor manages tagging decisions (largely a different group from the 13 as above)
  • need for better QA and vandalism detection
  • growing the project or membership in various ways
  • dissatisfaction with the website features, including tile speed
  • improve governance, improve Working Groups, better Conflict of Interest handling
  • hire developer and/or management staff
  • limit the ability of new mappers to contribute (and break things)
  • provide more/better education support, partner with education institutions
  • enforce attribution more
  • desire to have vector tiles on web site
  • make imports easier (and 2x control rogue imports better)
  • improve cartography
  • protect against commercial influence
  • overhaul wiki (but see tagging above, these could also mean tagging)
  • resource better imagery

We aren’t publishing the raw survey comments because we neglected to ask in the survey if it was ok to publish, or if the response should remain anonymous. This is something we will address in future surveys.

How we incorporated the responses into the meeting

We looked at the survey results after day 1 was done, so we had a full day to work already, directly with each other and all the ideas we each had brought the meeting. Saturday evening, we all received the results by email, and fair to say that all of us read every one. The next morning, we had spent time going round to everyone and hearing each other’s reflections, identifying where the survey input complemented work underway, as well as identify gaps in our scope.

Fair to say that building a more inclusive & healthy community, governance issues, hostile takeover, and growing the project were already top of mind. What surprised us were topics like tagging, software, and infrastructure issues. Of course we know these are top issues, but as the Board, it’s typically not been our role to get involved in such topics. Some of the concerns simply involved a rerouting problem – there are clear places to share feedback on things like the default cartography, and our plan is to share some of these items directly with those responsible. But for other issues like tagging, like iD, it’s more complicated and not clear how change is supposed to happen. There are “routing problems” in OSM and OSMF. We broadly think there may be a role for the Board in helping facilitate the community to find the way, but we’re not sure how it should work. In the mean time, we are having a few direct conversations to listen more.

We then later had half the Board take part in a 90 minute working session specifically on surveys (the other half worked on the takeover risk and governance changes topic). We generated ideas that make up much of this blog post – how are surveys valuable, what did we learn from this one, and how do we want to do surveys in the future.

Methods and topics for future surveys – we need your help

During our working session, we had to pull back several times from diving down the rabbit hole of methodology. We’ll start here with some top level design thoughts on how we see surveying at OSMF.

  • Keep a consistent pace of at least annually, and perhaps up to quarterly when topics are raised. These can be schedule at coordinated, quieter points along the “OSM Calendar” (prior to Annual General Meeting, Face-to-Face board meeting, State of the Map). Frequency also will help to gauge enduring issues, emerging issues, and one-offs.
  • Strike a balance of rigorous and achievable – we aren’t doing surveys for social science publication, but we do want to have a good standard of results we can trust.
  • Work collaboratively in building surveys with more experienced folks in OSM community, especially from academia/research. Gather input and refine questions from in person at SotMs, Working Groups, Chapters, Advisory Board, Regions.
  • Identify ownership of surveying processes in OSMF – for now the Board. This also means taking responsible stewardship of the submitted data.
  • Build a trusted process by demonstrating responsiveness and follow through to survey results. That means share summary results and actions by board/OSMF, as well as option for anonymously sharing raw results.
  • Reach a broad population, by a wide and documented set of outreach channels (mailing lists, forums, telegram, slacks, FB groups, etc). Also take distinct opportunities to have self selection surveys vs random selection where a specific population is chosen.
  • Surveys should not be burdensome on responders. Clearly say up front what will be asked, is it multiple choice or free text, and how much time is needed. Keep a baseline of background questions (like OSM experience and roles and location).
  • Make this a repeatable sound methodology. Means following a process step by actionable step.

Definitely opening thoughts. If you have experience in undertaking surveys, we’d love to talk to you about how to approach.

Finally, we brainstormed questions we’d like to ask on surveys. Broad topics were on our organizational development and governance, the technical roadmap and priorities, regional “nuances” in how OSM works, a survey directed to companies, and community engagement and health.

  • What are you doing that other communities can learn from?
  • Volunteering in OSM: what do you ideally want to do, and what do you need to do it?
  • Why are you in OSM? What was your best experience? What was your worst?
  • What are the different roles and kinds of contributions you have made?
  • Where do you communicate and why?
  • If you are not in OSMF, what would it take to convince you to join? What would you change?

What questions do you want to ask the OSM community? And, more importantly, how do you see survey results informing our collective next steps? Let us know either in the comments, on talk@openstreetmap.org or send an email to board@osmfoundation.org.

Want to help with methodology? Send us an email to board@osmfoundation.org with subject “Survey methodology help”, and we’ll let you know when we gather to start planning the next survey soon.

OpenStreetMap Foundation board


What is 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, is financially supported by membership fees and donations, and organises the annual, international State of the Map conference. The OpenStreetMap Foundation has no full-time employees and it is supporting the OpenStreetMap project through the work of our volunteer Working Groups. Please consider becoming a member and read about our fee-waiver program.

What is OpenStreetMap
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.

OSMF Board face-to face meeting: Suggest the topics and issues that matter to you

Image CC-BY-SA 3.0 OSM Communication Working Group
OSM logo by Ken Vermette (CC-BY-SA 3.0 & trademarks apply)

The OSMF Board is going to have a face-to-face meeting in Brussels later in May for strategy and planning. We very much want to prioritize and focus on topics and issues that matter most to the OpenStreetMap community, so we are requesting your input to help us understand what matters to you personally. 

We have created the following survey, with 3 questions:
https://osmf.limequery.org/489698?lang=en

Thank you for your participation.

What is 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.

Spend a Summer of Code with OpenStreetMap!

GSoC Logo (CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0)

The student application period for this year’s Google Summer of Code is currently open!

Are you a student who likes to code? Google Summer of Code offers you the opportunity to spend a couple of months contributing to an open source software project – such as OpenStreetMap – and get paid for it!

In 2019, OpenStreetMap has been selected again as a mentoring organization by Google, continuing eleven years of GSoC experience with many successful participants. Our project ideas page lists a variety of possible tasks which use a broad range of programming languages and technology stacks, and cover topics ranging from work on our search engine to editor software improvements. Plus, you’re not limited to that list of suggestions, so if you’d like to contribute to a project from the OSM ecosystem that’s not listed there, feel free to discuss it with us!

Some pointers for interested students:

  • Choose your (our!) organisation and project idea or even suggest your own idea!
  • Get to know your organisation and mentor
  • Apply and wait to see if you will get selected
  • Community bonding
  • Work hard on your project, pass evaluations
  • Don’t forget to document your code and project

Our project is big and we have a very broad and diverse set of tasks, and project ideas which require an equally diverse set of skills. But one thing is quite common to all of them: You should learn about our database and how mapping is supposed to be performed. So go out and start mapping! Add your local grocery store, your favorite clothes shop or that one bench you love to sit on. No matter what, it’s important to get yourself familiar with OpenStreetMap.

Interested? Read up on how to work with us:

https://wiki.osm.org/GSoC_2019

We encourage you to apply!
Deadline for applications: 9 April 2019, 18:00 UTC

OpenStreetMap wins Free Software Foundation award for projects of social benefit

Kate Chapman, holding the Free Software Foundation 2018 award for projects of social benefit, together with FSF founder and president Richard Stallman, who presented the award during LibrePlanet 2019.
Copyright © 2019 Madi Muhlberg, CC-BY 4.0. Image modified.


OpenStreetMap was selected as the winner of the Free Software Foundation 2018 Award for Projects of Social Benefit. FSF founder and president Richard Stallman – who presented the award during the LibrePlanet 2019 conference in Cambridge, MA – mentioned that:

“it has been clear for decades that map data are important. Therefore we need a free collection of map data. The name OpenStreetMap doesn’t say so explicitly, but its map data is free. It is the free replacement that the Free World needs.”

The award was a custom-made piece of art: a golden-looking record that had on its label the four reasons why OpenStreetMap was nominated. It was accepted on behalf of the OpenStreetMap community by Kate Chapman, who went on to thank the Free Software Foundation and the large community of OpenStreetMap contributors. Kate is the chairperson of the OpenStreetMap Foundation – which supports the OpenStreetMap project – and she presented some key milestones of the project during her Sunday talk

“The FSF’s Award for Projects of Social Benefit honors projects that have taken the ideals of the free software movement and applied them to intentionally and significantly benefit society in other aspects of life. OpenStreetMap’s use of free software, freely shared data, and international grassroots collaboration has massively benefited not only the daily lives of individuals around the world but also saved lives through humanitarian uses like improved disaster response. We all owe OpenStreetMap contributors a debt of gratitude, and the FSF is happy to show our appreciation through this award”, said FSF executive director John Sullivan.

Nominations for the award were collected from the public, and then a committee made up primarily of previous winners voted between them. OpenStreetMap is in good company, with previous winners including Tor, Public Lab, SecureDrop, Library Freedom Project, Wikipedia, GNU Health, Creative Commons, the Internet Archive and others. More background information about the award is at https://www.fsf.org/awards/sb-award.

Thanks to all those who contribute to the OpenStreetMap project –
the award belongs to you!



2019-03-30 The post was updated to reflect that the award had on its label the four reasons why OpenStreetMap was nominated, and not the Free Software’s Four Freedoms, as initially mentioned.

What is OpenStreetMap
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, such as ambulance services, fire brigades and humanitarian crises response.

What is 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.

What is the Free Software Foundation
The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a nonprofit with a worldwide mission to promoting computer users’ right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software — particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants — and free documentation for free software.

What is LibrePlanet
LibrePlanet is an annual conference hosted by the Free Software Foundation for free software enthusiasts and anyone who cares about the intersection of technology and social justice. LibrePlanet brings together software developers, law and policy experts,activists, students, and computer users to learn skills, celebrate free software accomplishments, and face challenges to software freedom.

Organised editing guidelines

OpenStreetMap is powered by its community. While originally supported by individuals, the continuing growth and popularity of OSM have also spawned organised mapping efforts by companies employing mapping teams and unpaid groups like school classes that are directed to work on OSM. 

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

The OSM Foundation has created the Organised Editing Guidelines that summarise expectations, consensus and established conventions based on discussions with the community, members of the OSMF advisory board and humanitarian mapping efforts. Their goal is to provide a framework to both organised mapping initiatives and the communities to encourage good organised mapping. They are not meant to apply to community activities like mapping parties between friends or doing a presentation on OSM at a local club. If you’re not sure whether you should apply them, contact the local community for advice.

The Organised Editing Guidelines can be found here: 
https://wiki.osmfoundation.org/wiki/Organised_Editing_Guidelines

The guidelines have been developed thanks to volunteers of the OSMF Data Working Group, with various rounds of feedback from the wider community, and have been approved by the Board of Directors. Unofficial translations are found here: https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Organised_Editing_Guidelines 
You can add your translation there, or contact the Communication Working Group at communication@osmfoundation.org

Sometimes edits made as part of an organised exercise can be problematic, or their accuracy/quality may be disputed by others in the community. As with other disputes, the Foundation’s Data Working Group will respond to organised edits that have gone wrong. While they will intervene for edits that are problematic, not following the guidelines per se is not treated an offense. The overall goal of the guidelines is to provide a framework for ‘sizeable, substantial’ activities: “We wanted something that doesn’t scare casual events off while letting us regulate a geography class gone berserk or a misguided volunteer mapathon.”

en.osm.town: Announcing a new Mastodon instance for OSM (en)

en.osm.town flyer at State of the Map 2018. Photograph by Rory cc-by-sa 4.0

Mastodon is an open source, federated micro-blogging system, with more than a million users. It is similar to Twitter, but open source and spread across many servers. https://en.osm.town/ is a new instance/server focused on OpenStreetMap (there’s already fr.osm.social for francophone OSMers). Like email, this server (“instance”) talks to other servers, so anyone on the “fediverse” can follow and interact with anyone on this server & vice versa. The “local timeline” will only show toots (= tweets) from everyone on the server, so will be full of OSM related stuff. The server was set-up by community member Rory, who we’d like to thank 🙂

Let’s use something open, and under our control! No adverts, no analytics, no “algorithmic” promoted tweets. 500 characters. Let’s connect on mapstodon! Follow us on https://en.osm.town/@openstreetmap

Other official OSM announcement channels: