Can you help the Operations Working Group?

The OSM Operations Working Group is a volunteer group, responsible for running of the servers owned by the OpenStreetMap Foundation. 
We are always keen to find new members and we are particularly looking for people who:

  • can analyse our server infrastructure
  • make plans
  • forecast future hardware needs
  • draw up budgets

This does involve a certain level of technical expertise but it’s not writing code, for example, and OWG membership doesn’t grant access to any of the servers – that’s for our Sysadmins. If you would like to join us, have a read of our membership policy, and please get in touch!

Some additional information:

  • OWG’s main communication channels are Github and email. We rarely have meetings.
  • Estimate of hours per week: 1-3

Email us at operations@osmfoundation.org
We are also on Twitter @OSM_Tech

If you have the technical expertise and experience to be a sysadmin, read our sysadmin membership policy and get in touch.

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 2019

The OSMF Board. From left to right: Frederik Ramm, Kate Chapman, Paul Norman, Heather Leson, Mikel Maron, Tobias Knerr and Joost Schouppe. Photograph by Allen Gunn, CC-BY-SA 4.0.

The OpenStreetMap Foundation Board is a special thing. Elected by the Foundation members, we come from very different backgrounds and parts of the world. Several of us had never met in person before. Most of our communication is asynchronous. We have only a single one hour phone meeting every month, usually in public. Now imagine this group of people trying to tackle complicated problems together.

Thus the tradition to have a yearly face to face meeting. Though the meeting was later than we hoped, the timing turned out right. We had already tackled some of the biggest issues that needed attention, and were finally in a good place to look at the bigger picture.

The face to face meeting means more time to work together than over the rest of the year combined. To make things even more productive, we had professional assistance from Allen Gunn, Aspiration. This helped greatly to make sure it wasn’t just the most outspoken who talked, that the important stuff got some attention, and that we didn’t get into each others’ hair. Too much at least. Just kidding: put people who believe in OpenStreetMap together in one room, and it turns out we can have a productive conversation without much issue.

On to actual business

So what did we talk about? (apart from that it’s hard to leave baby goats behind, that you need to be a vegetarian to drive a Land Rover, and sacrilegious stuff like that BrewDog has the best beer in Belgium).

If we learned one thing from the last election season, it’s that it wouldn’t be technically illegal and not hard at all for a “bad actor” to game the election. We spent several hours analyzing what we could do to mitigate such risks. And then a few more to identify the solutions we can actually implement before the next election.

Working on things like this, we have noticed that our working relationship with the various Working Groups is not without its issues. We took a long hard look in the mirror and came up with a list of questions we would like to ask the Working Groups, to better understand how we can do better as a board. We’ll be sharing what we worked on with Working Groups soon. The results of that will be a starting point to see where we can help Working Groups to succeed in their goals.

We started off from our own priorities, but on the second day we took the recent survey into account. We got 161 full responses. There were some requests we could not handle, such as smashing the capitalist world system. But even the answers that are not really in Board scope were very informative and sometimes even came as a surprise.

There were many requests to deal with tags, editor presets, improvements to the website and core technology. On the top of the list were two threats: a hostile takeover scenario, and our own divisions as a community (community health). Having these items outlined by that community did help us to see that it’s not just peculiar board members who care about this, but something that really lives in the community. We want to get deeper insights into these issues and plan to do more detailed surveys in the future. We’ll be sharing more details on the survey and surveying in general soon.

Any other business

The meeting is a good time to revive some important but “dormant” issues. We’ve made good progress on Board term limits and Microgrants. But we also know that efficiency gains are not enough: we need more help to realise our goals. Since we’re all very happy with Dorothea’s work for us, we are planning to extend her hours. We will always be a volunteer organisation, and we are looking at ways to make sure that she does as little as possible that could have been done by a volunteer.

Personal lessons learned

While it is a costly affair, having a full board meeting for two-and-a-half days seems definitely good value for money. Especially for me, as a new member it feels like things have finally started. If we have a more international club in the future, it will be even more useful to bridge the cultural, gender, and power gaps.
Personally, I would like to see the face to face happen sooner after the election. There is an advantage to having been on the board for a couple of months already: it gives you a better of idea of what is realistic. While I was a bit frustrated with the relatively limited amount of stuff that made it to the action item list, it would still already be a huge success if we can get most of that list done.

Joost Schouppe


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.

SotM 2019 Ticket Sales Opened

Modified image, based on Little Bee-eater photo by ThomHasi. Initially modified by Bob Comix and then by the OSM CWG. SotM 2019 logo by Michael Auer. Licence CC-BY-SA 4.0.

Tickets are now on sale for the State of the Map conference 2019 in Heidelberg, Germany. The conference runs from the 21st-23rd September. As always, if you are eager to start, we offer an Early Bird discount, but hurry, as these special prices are only available for a limited time.
We have had a large number of talks submitted to both the regular and academic tracks, so this year promises to have some really interesting topics. Come and be a part of what should be the biggest SotM to date!

Early bird ticket prices

There are many different tickets on offer, so make sure you select the correct one when ordering.

Regular – €180 (early bird)
Regular tickets for €180 are available for individuals.

Community – €75 (early bird)
If you are a member of the volunteer OSM community, you can get your SotM ticket for a special discounted price of €75.

Supporter – €700 (early bird)
For those businesses who want to help support the SotM but cannot sponsor, we offer the supporter ticket costing €700.

Included in your ticket

  • entrance for one person to the social dinner and
  • use of local public transport in Heidelberg (VRN), so you don’t have to worry about paying for public transport each time you use it.

Additional offers

Alongside the regular tickets, we have some extras to offer.

Additional persons to social dinner – €50 per person
If you are bringing more people with you to Heidelberg who are not attending the conference, you can still buy extra tickets for the social dinner. Each one is €50.

Heidelberg Altstadt guided tour – €15
Heidelberg has a very historic city center, and we are pleased to offer a guided tour which will take place in the afternoon of 20th September, costs €15 per person and will last approximately 3 hours.

We will be happy to see you in Heidelberg.

Get your ticket

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. The State of the Map Organising Committee is one of our volunteer Working Groups.

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

CC-BY-SA 4.0 OSM CWG

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.

The OpenStreetMap Foundation is now an Open Source Initiative affiliate

Image by the Open Source Initiative. License: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

The Open Source Initiative (OSI) is actively involved in Open Source community-building, education, and public advocacy to promote awareness and the importance of non-proprietary software. They have approached us last year, asking if we would consider throwing our weight behind that cause by becoming an affiliate.

The OpenStreetMap Foundation board had a vote and decided in favour. The application has now been accepted and OSMF joins the Initiative alongside other affiliates like Creative Commons, DemocracyLab, The Document Foundation and others.

As an OSI affiliate, the board has a delegate who:
– is the main liaison to OSI.
– can participate in OSI Working Groups.
– may nominate and vote for the five Affiliate Member seats on the OSI Board of Directors.
The current delegate is Kate Chapman.

The OSI’s mission is: “The Open Source Initiative (OSI) is a non-profit corporation with global scope formed to educate about and advocate for the benefits of open source and to build bridges among different constituencies in the open source community. Open source enables a development method for software that harnesses the power of distributed peer review and transparency of process. The promise of open source is higher quality, better reliability, greater flexibility, lower cost, and an end to predatory vendor lock-in. One of our most important activities is as a standards body, maintaining the Open Source Definition for the good of the community. The Open Source Initiative Approved License trademark and program creates a nexus of trust around which developers, users, corporations and governments can organize open source cooperation.”

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.

State of the Map 2020 – Call for Venues Open

The call for venues for State of the Map 2020 is now open:

https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/State_of_the_Map_2020/Call_for_venues

Assemble your team and propose your city as host for the next OpenStreetMap conference. The State of the Map organising committee helps you. We encourage you to contact us on sotm@openstreetmap.org as early as possible so that we can provide guidance, if required.

Submit your proposal by 15th June 2019.

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. The State of the Map Organising Committee is one of our volunteer Working Groups.

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