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Preparing for another Summer of Code

Google Summer of Code Logo (CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 Google)

We’re now in preparation for our 10th Google Summer of Code. Over the years many students have participated and have continued to participate in the project beyond GSoC.

Organizations may apply to GSoC to become mentoring orgs until February 9th and of course we already did apply. However, we have to wait for February 27th to know if we’re accepted again. Student applications are due in April and the official coding period will be from May to July this year. For a full plan have a look at the official timeline.

If you’re an interested student, don’t hesitate and start out today. It’s never too early to make yourself known to our great project and our great community. 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 grab yourself a bit of time and 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. Further than that, you can have a look at our ideas’ list to see if there’s anything that you like and we’re also open to your own ideas. The best is to get on IRC or on our developers’ mailing list to introduce yourself and talk about what you want to work on.

If you’re a developer, please consider to add your good idea to our ideas’ list or add yourself as a potential mentor for one of the proposed projects. We’re always seeking for backup admins, just in case. And if you are unsure whether your idea is good enough or if it’s feasible, you know where to find the GSoC admins. Just ask.

Finally, if you’re just interested about the Summer of Code, we have a detailed recap of 2015’s GSoC, but also 2016 was a great success with a number of interesting projects and good students. In 2016 we had a total of six projects accepted, where four of them made it to the end.

Michael Zangl, a student from Germany, worked hard to reorganize the core of JOSM, our most widely used editor. He participated in 2015 as well, and he subscribed as a mentor for 2017. He wrote a detailed summary of his work and we’re happy to have him in our project and as a potential mentor this year.

Darya Golovko improved the JOSM Plugin for Public Transport (pt_assistant) i.e. by validating the public transport routes against a set of criteria, identifying errors and suggesting how to fix them. Her work is described in more detail here. Darya was a great student and it was nice to have her at our annual international conference, State of the Map.

Kushan Joshi applied for adding a visual lane editor to our javascript-based editor iD. Although he was very diligent, he didn’t complete the project as was initially planned, for no less reason than that he fixed several bugs, added features and worked on various other elements to make our editor iD even greater. As we valued his work very much, he passed last year’s Google Summer of Code without a question and you can read a detailed description of his work on his personal blog. While he is continuing his study work, he’s still with our project and contributing code from time to time.

Last but not least there’s Zabot who continued the work on OSM2World, a well known 3D converter in OSM. Although it’s a hard task to get to know all this new technology with OpenGL and shaders he did an impressive work and added several new features to the rendering pipeline, so that you now have reflections on windows and water, colors and reflectance based on the time of day, ripples in water bodies, and multi-light rendering which allows you to have nice renderings at night with illumination coming from street lamps. Even though he didn’t stick with our project, his work is much appreciated and you can read more about it on his personal diary.

Reading all that you really should go out and have a look what you can do to help our project. We’re searching for you and your helping hand. And even without you being a student (in Google Summer of Code) we’ll greatly appreciate your help. Be it as a developer for a specific task or project idea or as a mapper to make our map even greater than it is already now.

Hope to see you soon.

OpenStreetMap Recap 2016

a new year’s firework display hidden in the OpenStreetMap tile viewing data

So yet another year has passed with so many new and exciting things. With a history of more than 12 years we have built a huge community with many success stories, large and small, and we want to share a brief recap of interesting things that happened this year.

The OpenStreetMap Foundation’s board did some small changes that seem to be well received by the community, mainly a significant increase in the board’s transparency; e.g. board meetings are now open to the public and all members are allowed to tune in and even participate in board meetings. Besides that, the Foundation is experimenting with an assistant who was hired to help with a bunch of administrative tasks to support the board and at times the Working Groups. And as mentioned in the manifestos of the two board members that stood for re-election in this year’s board elections, the current board are respectful to each other and are working together very well.

Speaking of the Foundation, there is a new Corporate Membership Program that has been introduced towards the end of 2016. It features different tiers, with fees from €500 per year up to €20,000 per year. The program officially starts in January 2017 and already great interest has been expressed in it with two imminent/upcoming/ gold memberships. Together with the first general successful donation drive that raised €70’000 we’re in good shape for the year 2017 to keep our financial Independence as a community project.

We also need to mention the forming of two new Local Chapters this year. In February the Italian Local Chapter got accepted as officially recognized, and only a few months later the Swiss Local Chapter followed. We’re very happy about the formation of Local Chapters, and we expect there are more to come soon: The German FOSSGIS e.V. is considering applying in 2017.

During the year we participated again in the Google Summer of Code, with six very interesting student projects which were worked on during summer. And if we get accepted, we’re sure to participate in 2017 again.

But not everything was good news this year. The German community -no, the global community- had a huge loss with the death of Malenki. He was known to many of us for his kindness, helpfulness, the many projects he worked on and his very active mapping history. RIP.

The Wochennotiz, the German version of the well known weeklyOSM, had an anniversary this year: It’s 300th issue. And as weeklyOSM is translated in different languages and is always seeking to extend its visibility, we might see new languages added in 2017. Right now the issues are released in 8 different languages.

The UK community has continued with actively pursuing its Quarterly Project to have a special mapping task that the community tries to collaboratively work on for three months. A story of success and perhaps a good example for other local communities for 2017?

With a new head of SotM Working Group and a great and active local team we had a great State of the Map. It was a lot of fun to see so many people from our community joining from all over the world. It was a great success, for the community and also financially. Besides the many great talks we had the OSM-Awards for the first time to honor volunteers in our community in different categories and we expect to see a repeat of these awards at another great State Of The Map conference in Japan in 2017.

But there was more than just our international SotM. There have been many local conferences, too, which allow a wider and local audience to participate. We’ve had a SotM Latam in São Paulo, Brazil, a SotM Asia in Philippines, the FOSSGIS-Conference in Salzburg, Austria, a SotM US in Seattle, Washington, a SotM Cz in Brně, a SotM FR in Clermont-Ferrand and a SotM JP in Tokyo.

Normally the work of our Licensing Working Group is not so publicly visible and this year has been tough as four of the seven members have had babies. So less volunteering time for LWG, but new blood for OSM! Anyway, there still have been two achievements that had a bit of a wider audience. After a long history of drafting, collecting feedback, updating, asking for further comments, updating again, the LWG finally managed to publish the new Collective Database Guideline which was approved by the OSMF board. In a similar matter, the LWG updated the Privacy Policy to fix some longstanding shortcomings of the old version. For example the policy now clearly states what gets logged and how that is used and a detail around how the sharing of data with respect to Gravatar profile pictures works.

Of course there are more Working Groups that do volunteer work. Only this year the new Membership Working Group was formed. This group are administering the membership database, answering to membership queries but is also tasked to increase the OSMF membership. Additionally, there is the Data Working Group and the Operations Working Group who are doing great and extensive work. However, you know those groups are doing good work, if you don’t hear too much of them 🙂 And last but not least there’s the Communications Working Group who are writing blog articles like this one for you.

We want to say a huge Thank you to everyone who participated in one of our Working Groups, in the Foundation or in our project in general. You’re the ones that make our project and our map so great and who made this year a story of success like the years before. Happy new year to everyone, keep up the good work and see you in 2017!

Tips for new (Pokémon GO) mappers

Some tips for our new mappers coming from Pokémon GO:

So, you want to find rare spawns and came to edit OpenStreetMap? Welcome to our community of people passionate about collaboratively building the best map ever!
Please,

  • do improve the map!
  • do map things that exist on the ground. The map is used by pedestrians, people with disabilities, cyclists, hikers, canoeists, drivers and others. Do not add things -such as footways- that do not exist
  • do add things you see (i.e. benches, cafes, fire hydrants, bicycle parking spots) or things you know (if your favorite cafe offers free wifi, the type of cuisine of the nearby diner, accessibility, opening hours, official websites, wikipedia links)
  • want to add footways? Check what is considered as a footway: highway=footway tag docs. Want to add other features? Have a look at map features and search the wiki
  • do connect your footways with the road network
  • tagging secondary institutions? Use amenity=school. Tagging universities? Use amenity=university
  • do you still have questions? Ask away at help.openstreetmap.org
  • do connect with the community! Find your country’s forum, mailing list/twitter account or other contact channel
  • do not add copyrighted data from other maps/sources
  • do find other mappers that improve your neighborhood/city e.g. with the oooc map (you need to have contributed a bit before your nickname is shown)
  • do check your own stats after you have contributed a bit! e.g. here
  • do check existing events
  • do mention “pokemon” in your changeset comments and a few words about what you added/changed. That will help your neighbor mappers to check the changes you make and maybe provide tips
  • do contribute your GPS traces, especially if you live in a rural area
  • do check the good practice guidelines for more tips

You and over three million of other contributors make OpenStreetMap possible. Welcome to our community – be excellent to each other and enjoy mapping our pale blue dot!

Pokémon Go?

We’ve recently seen a flurry of new map editing activity from “Pokémon GO” players. Although this hugely popular mobile game displays maps from google maps (in fun colours), it seems it may be using OpenStreetMap data (according to some players) to influence “spawn points” within the game.

This is interesting for several reasons. We always like to see creative and unexpected uses of our free and open map data, and this certainly fits into that category! (Note: our open license does require crediting OpenStreetMap)

There is some new interest in editing the map from Pokémon GO players, presumably because the game is found to be bringing in updates when changes are made to OpenStreetMap. It always takes new folks some time to get to know OpenStreetMap, and we hope Pokémon GO players will stick around to contribute some more. We’ve prepared the above guidelines to help understand some aspects of OpenStreetMap related to the game.

OpenStreetMap is a world-wide collaborative project aiming at providing free map data, under an open license, to anyone who wants it. Volunteers all over the planet contribute their local knowledge and their time to build the best map ever.
You can contribute by improving the map, editing or translating the wiki, becoming a member of the volunteer Working Groups, increasing awareness about the project, uploading GPS traces, donating (donate.openstreetmap.org) or joining the OSM Foundation. You don’t have to be a member of the Foundation in order to edit OpenStreetMap.

Board election results 2016

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

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

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

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

Mapbox will match the next €10k of donations!

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

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

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

Thank you Mapbox!

Mapbox blog entry announcing the matching donation.

Mapbox blog entry announcing the matching donation.

New Local Chapter: Swiss OpenStreetMap Association

We’d like to welcome the Swiss OpenStreetMap Association (sosm.ch) as our latest official OpenStreetMap Foundation Local Chapter.

sosm-handshake

Paul Norman and Simon Poole (centre) officially finalising the paperwork for the new local chapter at the State Of The Map conference last month in Brussels

With this formal agreement SOSM and the OSM Foundation have declared that we “shall seek to mutually support the activities of the other”. It doesn’t entail any drastic changes, but from a practical standpoint, it does mean SOSM have “official” status which may help them in any dealings with government and political/advocacy groups. It also means they are formally permitted to use the OpenStreetMap trademarks.

Of course we hope to see other countries formalising their foundation status in this way. Switzerland may also serve as an inspirational example in the way this group has been established in support of the local community. As described on their about page “SOSM was created to further the goals of the OpenStreetMap movement, to strengthen the contacts with authorities and industry, to facilitate the activities of OSM community members in Switzerland and to represent the Swiss OSM community in other organisations … providing some structure when needed and remaining as lightweight and as unobstrusive as possible”, which seems like an excellent way to orientate a local OpenStreetMap organisation.

You can also read more about the Swiss OpenStreetMap community on this OpenCaged data interview with Simon Poole about OSM in Switzerland, and you can follow SwissOSM on twitter.

Donate today to support OpenStreetMap!

At State of the Map, which is about to kick off in Brussels, Belgium, we will be officially launching this year’s OpenStreetMap donation drive! This time around, we are raising money with a most important goal: our continued independence as a project.

OpenStreetMap is the largest open geographic database in the world, the data infrastructure for multitudes of mapping projects around the globe. OpenStreetMap data is, and will always be, free to use. Your donation to the OpenStreetMap Foundation will cover our core operational expenses in supporting the OpenStreetMap project: hardware costs, legal fees, administrative assistant and other expenses of our working groups and administration.

We currently run extremely lean for an operation for a project the size and importance of OpenStreetMap. The OpenStreetMap Foundation relies on revenue from individual and corporate membership dues, profits generated by the annual State of the Map conferences, and past donation drives (thank you so much for the support last year — GBP 60,000 for updating our server infrastructure). We must keep our income sources diversified, as these vary from year to year, but our modest needs stay the same. For this, we need your support.

Thank you for considering donating to OpenStreetMap! We are truly grateful for donations of any amount. Whether you can give €100 or €5, please know that your donation will go directly towards keeping OpenStreetMap strong, stable and independent. Thank you!

State of the Map Workshops and Lightning Talks

A Fork in the Road

A Fork in the Road

A successful conference is the perpetual fork in the road. Which path (otherwise known as “track”) will you walk down? Because honestly — the entire program of State of the Map is amazing (otherwise known as “mouth-watering”).

In parallel to our regularly scheduled programming of such amazing talks (including yours truly!) on Friday we have the excitement of five minute lightning talks AND on Sunday we invite you to get your hands dirty in our workshop sessions.

Now most seriously, it is important to wash your hands before attending any State of the Map event so we don’t advise attending workshops unkempt. But if you are interested in trying on some of the newest development and contribution to OpenStreetMap we very much encourage you to come.

Come find the Lightning Talks on Friday 4-5pm in Auditorium A

And get your silverware ready for a Workshops 15 course meal (that means there are 15 workshops!) starting at 10am and going until 5pm on Sunday. There will be Workshops in rooms QA and QC as well as Room 1 and Room 2, in Building D. 

And if we don’t see you at those we will see you at the talks, otherwise know as the spoons and knives of the conference. Because the entire State of the Map program is designed to satisfy your your OpenStreetMap appetite. Come hungry!

Gather your Birds of a Feather at State of the Map

When we get together for State of the Map, there is so much to do… in-person.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday of State of the Map, we will have several spaces for Birds of a Feather (BoFs). BOFs are informal meetings, planned ahead or thought up spontaneously. These can be gathering points for discussions, mapping, code and documentation sprints, and hacking sessions. They can even be organized rest and napping sessions! These meeting are whatever you want and whatever you need to make a successful State of the Map.

The Birds of Feather sessions will take place in the Foyer and “Building D” classrooms, adjacent to the main conference hall. We will have a sign up board prominently in the main area to schedule sessions and add ideas.

And all day Sunday, we have Free and Open Space in Nelson Mandela Hall! Collaborate together on coding, mapping, or documentation sprints. Plan the next big thing. Unlike a Birds of a Feather session this is a non-bookable room; let’s make it a hive of activity open to all.

Start sharing your informal session ideas for State of the Map. And keep up with the latest State of the Map on the @sotm twitter account. See you there!