Starting 2023 on the OSMF Board

In January, the new OSMF board met to discuss the work each of us wants to drive forward in 2023. What emerged was an initial, work in progress agenda for the year, with a good distribution of focus areas. Below are a few sentences directly from each of us on what we are thinking and how and where we want to contribute in 2023.

We welcome your input and participation. Contact us directly or, if you are an OSMF Member, join our monthly Board meeting. We will continue to develop and refine our ideas, including in a half day screen to screen session, soon.


Fundraising is my top priority, to support our core staff and infrastructure in a sustainable way. We will have dedicated fundraising campaigns across diversified sources including community small donors, public and private grants, and corporate sector engagement. Secondly, I will focus on making OSMF a great place to work, continuing to implement the necessary processes and structures, and supporting them to be successful. Finally, as secretary, I want to give the OSMF a professional, responsive communication tone. The more I think about it, the more I believe that excellent communication is the key to so much – across fundraising, reputation building, and community growth.


I’d like to focus this year on making the daily operations of OSMF run more smoothly, so that the board has more time in the future to focus on strategic matters. This includes yearly planning and budget, smoothly running communications to and from the board and a financial plan where the majority of our operational cost is covered through regular income. I also hope to get some wisdom from our working groups to understand how we can help each other to spread the work more efficiently, and on more shoulders.


  • moving our corporate registration to EU
  • improving communication
  • facilitate process improvements for OSM tagging, like liquid democracy
  • financial planning and budgeting
  • increasing the diversity of fundraising sources
  • with Grant, increase infrastructure reliability


For my first year on the OSMF Board, I would like to focus on:

  • Building more local chapters
  • Diversifying OSMF membership, including membership of OSMF Working Groups
  • Ensuring financial sustainability and effective fundraising (an aspect I need to learn more/develop personally)


For me, fundraising is the most important thing to do right now. We need money for both long-awaited improvements and daily operations, and our traditional sources of income from individual and corporate members do not even cover our daily operations. At the same time, the Overture announcement has made clear that some data consumers are willing to spend money on reliable map data. So one building block is to adjust the corporate membership levels.

Another aspect is to raise money for improvement projects and, even, completely new projects. History has shown that it is more feasible to secure income for concrete ideas than for an abstract fund. As the board works on behalf of the community, I will bring project ideas into discussion and listen for existing project ideas from the community that are concrete enough for cost estimations so that we have a list of project ideas ready to excite potential donors. I do not expect that every project will be funded, but I do want to see every potential funding opportunity finding an impactful project that it can be invested in.


Now, a month in, I’m getting some traction on my election promises.

I want to help OSMF build up the mapping community and support and encourage existing community leaders. My special effort will be in Africa.

I’m keen to prioritise the OSMF diversity and inclusion programme. I have some ideas, but this must be done as a collective effort.

For tech, I’d like to support OSMF documenting its computer operations, updating and improving the software, look at data structures, promoting vector map tiles and keeping the hardware up to date and reliable.

I’m also making an effort to support the administration in a professional way, with a focus on strategic planning, budgeting, fundraising, and communications.


For starters, it is necessary to keep basic things running – this applies to the OSM community, servers and critical software. Hopefully only routine activities will be needed here.

I am working on a human-readable budget summary – needed for OSMF board work, better transparency and for people interested in what the OSMF is actually doing – especially those who might potentially donate.

GDPR handling is stuck in limbo – and it is the responsibility of the OSMF board to organise the handling of this annoying task.

Lastly, I want to take action on enforcing attribution requirements.

Get to know the new OSMF Board

In December 2022, four new members were elected to the OpenStreetMap Foundation Board, complimenting the three members already serving. The new members are Arnalie Vicario, Craig Allan, Mateusz Konieczny and Sarah Hoffmann and they join Guillaume Rischard, Mikel Maron and Roland Olbricht.

With regard to the OSMF’s diversity ambitions, this collective of Board members is exciting for two reasons… Firstly, because this is only the second time the OSMF Board has had multiple female members and, secondly, because this is the most geographically diverse board we have seen with representation from across four continents.

So, let’s meet the 2023 Board…

Arnalie Vicario (Philippines)

Arnalie is from the Philippines, and maps under the username arnalielsewhere. She advocates for open data and is passionate about building inclusive spaces in the open mapping and open geo community. She was a GIS Specialist for seven years until she shifted to (online) community engagement in 2020. She works as Online Community Engagement Lead at the Humanitarian Openstreetmap Team (HOT), and as a full time mother.

She has been an OpenStreetMap contributor since 2016, the same year she joined and became part of the OSM community in the Philippines. In 2018, she met her partner at the State of the Map – Milan conference, and reconvened GeoLadies Philippines, an advocacy group for community diversity, collaborative participation, and affirmative spaces especially for women, and under-represented communities in OpenStreetMap. She is a supporter and ally of various communities and networks such as Geochicas, Women+ in Geo, Open Heroines, and more.

You can learn more about her views about community in OpenStreeMap and humanitarian open mapping in the Geomob Podcast Interview – Arnalie Vicario: Building inclusive spaces in OSM as well as through her OSM Diaries.

Craig Allan (South Africa)

Craig comes from a local government background where, as a spatial planner, he received formal training in aerial photo interpretation, photogrammetry and land surveying. He has used commercial GIS systems since the 80’s, starting on the simple but very effective Atlas GIS by Strategic Mapping Inc. and later moving on to the infuriating but effective ARC/INFO by ESRI. Now, he’s a QGIS fan and has used it to support philanthropic work in Rangpur Division, Bangladesh.

Craig concentrates on mapping in Africa under the username, cRaIgalLAn. He appreciates that putting a village on the map may enable residents to be recognised and to receive development support and humanitarian aid. Craig is also very interested in conservation and climate change, so does a lot of mapping of threatened forests in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in several places in Kenya, including the Mara reserve and forests and wetlands inland of Lamu town. He also maps in north Chad because he’s interested in both rock arches and the East Saharan montane xeric woodland which somehow survives on high mountains in the Sahara.

In his later working life, he did less geography and demographics and more management, including strategic planning, risk management, performance management, budgeting and administrative tasks. These skills and experiences have their uses for building and managing organisations and he now deploys them in the interest of the OSM Foundation and the broader OSM community.

Guillaume Rischard (Luxembourg)

Guillaume Rischard is from Luxembourg and maps as Stereo, which is easier to pronounce (he also that username on the wiki). When he discovered OpenStreetMap in 2008, there were only a few main roads displayed around him. He didn’t take the project seriously. In 2011, he ran into it again, and saw that the map had become a lot more detailed. He spotted a missing name, and when he saw it displayed on the map when he refreshed right after saving it, he was hooked. When he uploads a changeset, he still likes to open that place in his browser while it still hasn’t rendered, open the same URL in a new tab a few seconds later, then switch between the tabs.

He works as a freelance data consultant, and was the technical lead and helped drive strategy on the Luxembourg Open Data Portal, where one success was getting the addresses, orthoimagery and official map data of Luxembourg released.

The most significant thing he’s written recently is probably the Membership Working Group report on the 100 suspicious signups. Guillaume and his co-author Steve Friedl were honoured to receive the OpenStreetMap award for influential writing for it at the State of the Map conference in Heidelberg.

He is a member of the Data Working Group and Membership Working Group, and occasionally contributes to the OSM Weekly.

Mateusz Konieczny (Poland)

Mateusz maps and edits the wiki under his own name. He focuses his mapping on local surveying but has also made some bot edits and remote edits. He has also contributed to StreetComplete and other OSM-related tools, such as iD presets and JOSM. He focuses significant time on contributing to the OpenStreetMap Wiki, especially on documenting tagging schemes and reviewing uploaded files to make sure they have the correct copyright information.

Mateusz would like to contribute to greater transparency, attribution and GDPR compliance whilst on the board.

Mikel Maron (USA)

Mikel Maron is a programmer and geographer working for impactful community and humanitarian uses of open source and open data. He started with OSM in 2005. He was elected to the OSMF Board in 2015, and previously served from 2007-2012. He currently works at The Earth Genome, leading digital products. Previously, he led the Community team at Mapbox. He is co-founder of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, of GroundTruth Initiative, and of the Map Kibera project. He’s travelled widely, organizing mapping projects in India, Palestine, Egypt, Swaziland, and elsewhere.

He maps under mikelmaron and contributes to the wiki under Mikel.

Roland Olbricht (Germany)

Roland Olbricht came to OSM in 2008. Since 2011 he has maintained and operated the Overpass API independent of his day job. Before Covid, he participated in multiple local meet-ups in Germany. He contributes to the OSM wiki under the username, Roland.olbricht.

In his professional life, Roland makes software for public transit as a software developer for the company MENTZ GmbH.

Sarah Hoffmann (Germany)

Sarah Hoffmann has been contributing to OpenStreetMap since 2008 under the username of lonvia (she also contributes to the wiki under the same name).

She started out as a simple mapper, collecting a lot of data while hiking in the Swiss Alps. Over the years she became more and more involved in software development for OSM. She is maintainer for Nominatim, osm2pgsql, and a couple of other projects. She is part of the OSMF sysadmin team where she is responsible for the Nominatim servers and has helped out in the programme committee of State of the Map over the last couple of years.

In 2020 she finally gave up pretending that OSM is just a hobby. Nowadays she works as a freelancer doing development and consulting for OSM software in general and Nominatim in particular. She lives in Dresden, Germany.

The OpenStreetMap Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation, formed 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. Our volunteer Working Groups and small core staff work to support the OpenStreetMap project. Join the OpenStreetMap Foundation for just £15 a year or for free if you are an active OpenStreetMap contributor.

Reminder: Call for Feedback on the Data Model

Data Model Study

The Engineering Working Group of the OpenStreetMap Foundation commissioned a study in the beginning of 2022 on how to improve the existing data model. Jochen Topf has delivered the results of this study, including recommendations on how to make the OpenStreetMap data model more computationally efficient and more accessible.

Two key suggestions have been made:

  • introducing an area datatype for representing polygons
  • getting rid of untagged nodes

Community Consultation

In order to decide the next steps in this process we want to have more discussions with the community of developers as the proposed changes impact OpenStreetMap software which directly or indirectly depends on the data model.

Potential benefits

Less Mess for Areas

Some mappers may be surprised to hear that OSM does not already have an Area data type. After all, the iD editor prominently features buttons for drawing points, lines and areas. Once mapped, these areas usually appear on the map as expected. The OSM wiki documents whether a tag is typically used on areas, and even Overpass Turbo lets you use areas in your query.

Behind the scenes, however, these areas are represented as ways or relations. Each tool working with OSM data uses its own set of rules to guess whether a particular way represents a line or an area. Making areas a proper part of the OSM data model would lead to a consistent interpretation across applications, enable the API to prevent broken areas from being uploaded, and may eventually lead to support for partial downloads of very large areas.

Keeping OSM Processing Accessible

Currently, ways are made up of references to nodes, and we rely on these references to determine how ways connect to each other. Resolving the coordinates to these node references is a costly process within the OpenStreetMap toolchain as it takes hours to days, even on capable hardware.

In the future, we might model ways as a simple list of coordinates – depending on the exact implementation we end up with. This would offer large performance benefits, but getting rid of untagged nodes would be a significant change.

At first glance, performance improvements may not seem particularly exciting. But how easy it is to work with our data directly impacts how useful OpenStreetMap is to the world at large. As Jochen observes: “The goal is to keep OSM as that great resource that can be used not only by multi-billion-dollar companies but by the student who wants to create a map of the world on their notebook or the activist with their donated second-hand computer.”

Better OSM History

Many mappers are disappointed when they realise how few things the history tab of the website can actually show. There are many tools, like OSMCha and Achavi, that offer much more, but still require a certain degree of proficiency to use them.

You might ask why, and the answer is very technical – the location of a single version of a way is, in many cases, not defined. It is the reason that change tracking remained an expert discipline with relatively newbie-unfriendly tools. By changing the data model we will move away from that barrier, and subsequently we can expect substantially better tools, but not before we get proper coordinates and versions for ways.

Minutely Vector Tiles Generation

While there are quite a number of matured vector tile generators nowadays, a couple of problems are still open.

  • One is which features shall go into the vector tiles for
  • The other is how to reconcile minutely updates with vector tiles for performance at an acceptable level.

That task gets an order of magnitude easier if you can not only truly parallelise the generation of tiles, but also elide the first expensive step to figure out to which tile a changed way belongs.

We might be able to find someone who encapsulates the raw computing power necessary to do this. But even if so, this is a highly nondesirable degree of dependence on that partner.

So yes, vector tiles for are in principle possible without this data model change, but at a so much higher cost that only specialized hardware will be able to keep up with minutely changes.

Have Your Say about the Future

Some kind of change is inevitable. The growth of the OSM database is outpacing speed improvements in hardware, and the ID-based model means that the whole process cannot be parallelized with full speedup. Keeping up with changes was easily possible in the past, but needs needs more and more tricks now. There is a point in the future where also specialized hardware will suffice to keep up with minutely changes.

However, there are many possible approaches to meeting this challenge. Now is the opportunity for the developer community to share your opinion about the way forward.

The OpenStreetMap Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation, formed 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. Our volunteer Working Groups and small core staff work to support the OpenStreetMap project. Join the OpenStreetMap Foundation for just £15 a year or for free if you are an active OpenStreetMap contributor.

Introducing the Communities Tab on

There’s a new way to find and connect with OSM communities.

In the upper right corner of, you can now see a “Communities” tab that links to a single, centralized location that lists formal Local Chapters, as well as the other OSM communities. Given how many communities there are and how fast OSM is growing, it’s a good time to add a prominent way to connect.

According to LCCWG member Joost Schouppe, the new tab “is probably the most visible change on since the addition of Notes.”

Once you have navigated to the new “Communities” page, you’ll see that the data for the Local Chapters listings is dynamically delivered via the OSM Community Index (OCI). In fact, the most difficult aspect of the project was figuring out how to integrate the OCI data into the page rather than just adding a simple list of Local Chapters as static content. As website maintainer Andy Allan noted, “The latter would have been quick and easy, but using the OCI means it is automatically updated when new Chapters are added, and it also means we are reusing all the translations for the Chapter names from the 46 different languages that we already support.”  

While there is not currently a way to dynamically capture all of the other, less formalized communities, the addition of the “Other Groups” section highlights their existence and points the way to more information.  

“It’s just a start” says LCCWG member Adam Hoyle, who also worked on the project.  “Ideally this can grow into an even better centralized page for people and communities to find each other.“ 

Showing a list of Local Chapters is only scratching the surface of what can be done, now that the various underlying technical challenges have been solved. For example, when new mappers set their home location on their profile, they could be shown a list of local forums, mapping groups, and communication channels customised to their location could immediately be shown on their personal dashboard. 

The key to shipping additional improvements to the “Communities” page is having volunteers to help out. ”All this community information is in OCI already, so we now need people to help expand our integration,“ says Allan. Schouppe adds that “this particular issue has been on the LCCWG agenda since October 2020, and Adam started working on it in January 2021. It goes to show that, because we are all volunteers, it takes a lot of time and effort to evolve the website, but it can be done.”

→ To contribute to the development of, please visit the main Github and/or this issue, which highlights the many existing pull requests and gives ideas for how to contribute.

→ To help the LCCWG with their efforts to help local communities grow, please join one of their channels.

 I’d like to thank Adam Hoyle for his work and patience while we worked  through getting the technical foundations in place, which took a while but sets us up for the future; and also to the team behind OCI who made some changes to their side of things to help us get the translations  fully working more easily.-Andy Allan

The OpenStreetMap Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation, formed 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. Our volunteer Working Groups and small core staff work to support the OpenStreetMap project. Join the OpenStreetMap Foundation for just £15 a year or for free if you are an active OpenStreetMap contributor.

Upcoming downtime on 2023-01-22

Dear OpenStreetMappers,

On Sunday January 22nd 2023 between 10:00 and 15:00 UTC/GMT the API database servers will be unavailable due to maintenance. You can see this in your local time zone at Event Time Announcer – OpenStreetMap API Maintenance 1

We are planning to upgrade the software which runs the main OpenStreetMap database. Unfortunately, we cannot do this without some downtime.

The following services WILL be affected:

  • web site WILL NOT allow edits,
  • API will NOT allow map editing (using iD, JOSM, etc), and
  • replication updates will be paused (minutely updates and changeset replication).

We expect that the database upgrade will not take the full duration, and we will try as far as possible to keep the API available in read-only mode, but the API may be briefly unavailable.

At times you may be unable to login to services which requires authentication (e.g. community, forum, and help).

Other OpenStreetMap provided services should not be affected except for login – all of the following are expected to function normally:

Services not run by the OpenStreetMap Foundation will not be impacted, except there will be no updates from OSM.

Technical details are at Plan API database PostgreSQL upgrade · Issue #548 · openstreetmap/operations · GitHub

Paul Norman

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.

What is the OpenStreetMap Foundation?

The OpenStreetMap Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation, formed 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 supports the OpenStreetMap project through the work of our volunteer Working Groups. Please consider becoming a member of the Foundation – you can become a member for free, if you are an active OpenStreetMap contributor.

Views from the OpenStreetMap Foundation on the launch of Overture

The launch of the Overture Maps Foundation is a significant development in the world of open map data. The founding members of Overture are influential tech industry leaders, and have committed a lot of resources. While many details of Overture remain unclear, the OpenStreetMap Foundation is interested to get a better understanding of the project. In the best scenario, OpenStreetMap would benefit from Overture’s advancements in software development, from the data and from funding. However, we also recognise risks, and will continue to develop our ability to grow the community and to fund our infrastructure and future development.

OpenStreetMap data is available for anyone to use, from hobby map makers to global corporations, and we encourage Overture to do the same, following our community expectations and licensing terms. The technical problems that Overture is addressing, such as quality checks, data integration, and alignment to schemas, are valuable for any map data provider. We know data consumers have been working on these challenges in isolation for too long, and by bringing these issues out into the commons, and open sourcing the tools, we can all benefit.

Following the announcement, we have had informal conversations with some people involved in Overture to ask questions and learn more. In particular, we asked about how work scoped in Overture overlaps with OpenStreetMap, and what the future involvement of member companies in OpenStreetMap will be. The answers have been helpful, though many questions remain. We have encouraged Overture to engage with our community and to share their plans publicly. We’ll share a few points here that were discussed informally.

Everyone we talked to emphasised that Overture is not intending to replace or fork OpenStreetMap. They see the work as complementary. The individual companies expect to continue working directly with OpenStreetMap, and may even increase their involvement, including financial contributions. Map edits that are right for OpenStreetMap, should go to OpenStreetMap. This stated commitment to OpenStreetMap’s work and community also suggests that the companies and Linux Foundation are on board to support OpenStreetMap financially. Overture has come together with a small group, and the intention is to grow and work out many details. They welcome OpenStreetMap involvement in the form that makes most sense.

The OpenStreetMap community has vast experience and knowledge in working with the diverse and complex realities of geographic data and compiling it into a unified global dataset. This knowledge can be supported but not replaced by automated approaches. We firmly believe that our community-driven approach to data collection will remain foundational to any global map. The mission of the OSMF to support the growth and development of OpenStreetMap community is more important than ever.

We encourage Overture to engage with the Foundation and the OpenStreetMap community, and make us a part of Overture’s strategic discussion holistically. Through good engagement, we can identify areas to collaborate and bring improvements to the core of OpenStreetMap, rather than creating duplicate or competing efforts. The resources that Overture’s founders are investing into the project, and their stated commitment to OpenStreetMap’s work and community, show the value they place on good maps, and the potential for supporting improvements in areas core to OpenStreetMap’s mission. We welcome Overture to discuss with the OSMF Board, and to explore the best ways to facilitate ongoing communication, decision-making, collaboration, and support.

Engineering Working Group Call for Proposals

The Engineering Working Group (EWG) would like to announce a call for proposals for the following project: Adding the ability to mute users on the website.

About the project

Users who receive unwanted messages to their message inbox currently have to report the message writer and wait for an administrator to take action. This feature will make it possible for anyone to painlessly mute (ignore) private messages from another user.

For more details about the project, including how to apply and proposal requiements, please see the Engineering Working Group Project Funding Repository on Github. Click on “Ability to mute other users” under the Projects section or visit this link for for a list of deliverables.

Understanding the project funding process

Before submitting a proposal make sure to also read the Engineering Working Group’s Project Funding Proposal Framework for a general overview of the process. Should you have any questions about the funding process please reach out to the Engineering Working group at

About the Engineering Working Group

The Engineering Working group is charged with, among other things, handling software development paid for by the OSMF, putting out calls for proposals on tasks of interests, offering a platform for coordination of software development efforts across the OSM ecosystem, and managing OSM’s participation in software mentorship programs.

The Engineering Working Group meets once every 2 weeks. Meetings are open to all and all are welcome. Questions? Please send an email to We are a small group and are still welcoming new members!

About OpenStreetMap

The OpenStreetMap Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation, formed 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. Our volunteer Working Groups and small core staff work to support the OpenStreetMap project. Join the OpenStreetMap Foundation for just £15 a year or for free if you are an active OpenStreetMap contributor.

The evolution of ‘notathons’ in Latin America

Notes is a core feature of the website. It enables you to add a comment on the map to assist others in mapping/editing OpenStreetMap. Other users can respond to your notes, for example to ask for additional details if necessary. Members of the OSM community in Bogotá in Colombia have been holding notathons – meetings to close pending OSM notes – and now they’re trying to help the various Latin American communities to do the same. Below is an interview of Andrés Gómez (OSM Colombia) by Juan Arellano (volunteer translator in the OSM Foundation’s Communication Working Group), conducted originally in Spanish and translated into English.

Andrés Gómez

Juan Arellano – Hi Andrés, how and when did you become interested in OSM note resolution?

Andrés Gómez – I became interested when we were in lockdown due to the pandemic, with a lot of free time and unable to leave the house. It was the end of 2020, I was browsing Pascal Neis’ statistics page, and on the OSM notes overview page I saw that Colombia was really bad in terms of closed notes compared to open ones. This wasn’t so surprising as the Colombian community was not very active, and we had neglected this aspect.

So I read all I could find about notes, comments and how to solve them, but I didn’t find that much info. It felt a bit like when I started mapping in OSM… I was struggling to get started. It turned out that notes are a different layer, with their own process and flow, and I didn’t really understand their purpose.

However, after solving a few, I started to understand the mechanics. But solving 5,000 notes was a huge task! I tried to mobilise a group I had created years ago, MaptimeBogota. We had done mapping parties before, so I proposed virtual events, since we all had to be at home, and I waited to see what would happen. I had to be insistent. From May 2021 every Saturday at 11am I organised a virtual event. At first no one attended, but I kept insisting.

After several weeks, Doris Ruiz arrived, who knew about GIS, but not OSM, and we supported each other. Later came Rafael Isturiz, who knows about open source communities and IT administration, and I managed to convince him of the potential of the notes (now, he is the biggest note evangelist I know, and great things have been achieved thanks to him). Grigoriy Geveyler, who supported us in the dissemination of events then also joined the group, and obviously Juan Melo, who has become one of the great contributors worldwide. With such a group, the dynamics of solving notes improved, and we all learned a lot not only about notes, but also about OSM and GIS. In January of this year, we were able to announce the closure of all the old notes in Colombia.

JA – Do you use special tools for note resolution?

AG – At the beginning we only used the Pascal Neis tool, as we only wanted to solve the notes in Colombia. But once we completed this objective, Rafael proposed replicating the model in other countries. So, we started sharing the topic in the OSM Latam channel on Telegram and eventually organised a meeting, supported by Celine from OSM Mexico, to integrate the countries in the region. We already knew how to use tools like BigBlueButton, how to make presentations, how to disseminate via Meetup, so all the logistics were easy and the event got a good response from the community. Rafa proposed the idea of doing a ‘Notathon’, an event focused on the resolution of notes for any country, where multiple contributors could resolve notes in the same area together.

To develop the workflow for the notathons, we investigated other tools. NotesReview is good for a few notes in a given area. Anton’s OSM Note Viewer has had an impressive evolution, and we have requested some features from him via GitHub, and he has supported us in developing them. More recently, we have used the DAMN project to divide areas of interest, so that we can work collaboratively resolving notes in the same area without overlapping.

JOSM (Java OpenStreetMap Editor) is our preferred editor for resolving notes, and we have all shared our experiences of different plugins that can help in the note resolution process. For example, Erick de Oliveira’s notes for creating unmapped tracks are quite demanding, so Rafa proposed Fast Draw, and that helped us a lot to solve about 700 notes. Continuous download also allowed us to automatically download data from wherever the notes are, and so sped up resolution. We even found a couple of bugs in JOSM, and created their respective tickets in Trac. We have also requested other applications to incorporate notes functionality, such as FediPhoto and EveryDoor (which already did!).

JA – So, has the Latin American OSM community responded to your calls for notathons?

AG – Yes, and we have grouped all the notathons from the different countries in Latam in a Telegram channel. This is a first step, because there are people with more experience in notathons than us; for example, Felipe Eugenio from Chile, who has solved more than 8,000! Having a channel dedicated to notes has allowed us to work with focus on a specific topic. Some people who don’t participate in very active OSM channels, because they deal with so many different topics, prefer the Latam Notes channel because it is punctual and decisive.

In terms of participation in notathons, the community is a bit shy, and there are few newbie contributors arriving, but in a 1-hour event, such as the notathon in Cuba, around 100 notes are resolved. That’s a very high number, as we were all supporting each other, whilst asking Ghostsama, who was in Cuba, to clarify things for us from a local perspective.

We feel we have discovered new possibilities through notathons and we want more people to support and join us. We really think that, through the notathons, you learn a lot about OSM – in fact, when you go to solve a note, you don’t necessarily know what it will be about or what the user means, so you have to search, read, learn, and that’s it, you have evolved your knowledge and skills through OSM!

JA – What’s next for this project, any new ideas to implement?

AG – For me, the notes are the “voice” of the users of our maps, and we have to “listen” to them. We know that note resolution can be done collaboratively between people in the field and people contributing remotely, so one idea is to explore the potential use of notes in disaster response, where people on the ground can report what they see and, in real time, remote mappers can make modifications to the map. We have been thinking about doing a hybrid mapping party, where we would put this idea into practice.

OSM is also being used by platforms like Facebook or Instagram, and when our map is displayed on those social networks, there is the option to make a report. We would like these platforms to integrate these reports as notes, which would keep OSM more up to date. These companies could even deploy staff to solve the notes submitted by their users and, in this way, we all win.  

To conclude, notes have been present for several years within OpenStreetMap and there are already several communities that believe in the importance of closing notes. I believe we are just discovering the potential of notes and that the appetite for them is growing – people from other communities are reaching out to us as they see us as a step ahead in this. We want to keep innovating with OSM notes, and for the community around them to grow!

JA – Finally, tell us a bit about yourself and your relationship with mapping and #openstreetmap.

AG – I’m a systems engineer. I have been working as a DBA for Db2 for more than 15 years. Data and databases have always interested me; that’s why OSM is of my interest. My relationship with OSM dates back to 2009, when I started drawing some nodes and lines near my parents’ house. I didn’t really know how to contribute and wasn’t aware of the governance mechanisms or the communities around me.

In Bogota they had just implemented a new transport system: the SITP. This system is much more structured than the chaotic old system, but with a major shortcoming to this day: it does not display information to its users! There are no maps on the streets, and boarding a bus can be a nightmare. It was at this point that I started to do a lot of research on OpenStreetMap: joining the community, reading the wiki, discovering applications, websites, services, etc. and this has helped me better understand the dynamics of the ecosystem.

Although I am passionate about it, transport is a complicated thing to implement, and requires a lot of effort, so I eventually put it aside. However, my interest in strengthening the OSM community increased, and I consider myself one of the leaders of the Colombian community, and I am also pushing the Latam community towards greater integration.

Announcement: Decision on international State of the Map 2023 and 2024

SotM Logo
Summary: After carefully considering and reviewing the Call for Venue bids for State of the Map (SotM) 2023, the SotM Working Group (WG) has decided not to organize an international State of the Map 2023. Instead, we focus on finding a venue in Africa for 2024 that ensures safety criteria.

The State of the Map Organizing Committee (SotM WG) is a volunteer-led working group that organizes international SotM conferences that bring together members from the worldwide OSM community. To achieve this, we partner with a local OSM community to bring home the SotM conference in their country. The local community is selected among other bids after our open Call for Venues.

The Call for Venue for SotM 2023 received three bids from local organizing communities:

SotM WG has held multiple voice meetings and discussions within the group. We have carefully reviewed the bid applications and considered the issues that may arise along with each.

Bid 1: Paris, France 

The France team had withdrawn their bid application for SotM 2023.

Bid 2: Prizren, Kosovo

The Kosovo team had submitted a strong bid that clearly laid out all the details and plans for the conference. This was planned to be closely before or after FOSS4G 2023, similar to what happened in SotM 2022 in Italy.

However, the SotM WG acknowledges that in-person international SotMs had been held in Europe for three consecutive years, and overall (excluding online conferences in 2020-2021), 9 out of the 13 international SotM conferences were held in Europe (source: [1])

Bid 3: Yaoundé, Cameroon

The Cameroon team had also submitted a strong bid that clearly laid out all the details and plans for the conference. SotM Africa 2023 will take place in Yaoundé, Cameroon, and they had offered that if this bid is accepted, the conference will merge with the international SotM 2023, which would be the first-ever international SotM in Africa and an opportunity to reach new faces and OSM communities.

We looked very deeply into this bid and discussed all possibilities with the local team of Yaoundé. However, security and safety are pressing issues in Cameroon (sources: [2][3][4]), and members of the OSM community had also expressed concerns about this.

No SotM 2023, and plans for SotM 2024

After carefully considering and reviewing the bids for SotM 2023, we have decided not to organize an international State of the Map 2023. Instead, we will focus our efforts on finding a perfect venue for 2024 in Africa – or if there is no possibility in Africa for 2024, we will look for a country in a region which was underrepresented in the history of SotMs.

We hope to open the Call for Venue for SotM 2024 by early 2023.

Call to action: We’d like to invite you to join the SotM WG and help us with the work for SotM 2024. If you are interested, please send us a message by emailing sotm [at] openstreetmap [dot] org.

= State of the Map Working Group

Nominate yourself for the OSM Foundation Board Elections by October 22!

The OpenStreetMap Foundation logo

Here’s an opportunity to get involved in the OpenStreetMap Foundation, the nonprofit that supports the OSM project!

The OpenStreetMap Foundation Board elections are coming up in December, and there are three seats that will be open. If you’re interested in running, the deadline to nominate yourself is coming up, October 22, 2022 at 23:59 UTC.

About the OpenStreetMap Foundation Board of Directors

The seven-person Board of Directors works on OSM Foundation matters on a volunteer (unpaid) basis and is elected by the OSM Foundation membership.

The board meets regularly to work on administrative, policy, and fundraising issues, to vote on resolutions and to support the OSMF Working Groups, which are also composed of volunteers. The Working Groups are always looking for help too! 

For the December election, the terms of Board members Eugene Alvin Villar, Jean-Marc Liotier and Tobias Knerr are expiring, so their seats will be available. (They also may choose to run again.)

If you’re interested in running yourself, or know someone who might be, there is more information about nominations and the elections here. You can nominate yourself!

Board members serve two year terms and may be reelected a few times, with a term limit of three terms in the last eight elections. (You can get more information about board term limits in sections 33 and 34 of the OSMF Articles of Association. The Articles of Association are the rules and guidelines of the OSM Foundation.)

The Board elections start December 3rd and close December 10th. You can see more key dates here.

Monthly board meetings are open to OSMF members to observe or ask questions. You can find minutes of past meetings here.

Why you should run for the Board

We always need board candidates! Consider it yourself or ask someone else who you think might be good for the next OSMF board election, which will take place on the 10th of December, 2022! 

Why run for the board? Below you can read the personal views of current and past board members:

(Please note that in order to run, you need to be a Normal OSMF member 28 days before the election, not an Associate one, and you must have been a member during the full 180 days before the election.)

If you’re not already a member of the Foundation, it’s a great way to support the OpenStreetMap project, voice your opinions and also become eligible to vote in Board elections. You can learn how to join the OSMF here, which can be free if you are an active contributor to OSM.

Note: translations for this post are to come.

About OpenStreetMap

The OpenStreetMap Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation, formed 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. Our volunteer Working Groups and small core staff work to support the OpenStreetMap project. Join the OpenStreetMap Foundation for just £15 a year or for free if you are an active OpenStreetMap contributor.