Happy Birthday, OpenStreetMap!

OSM is 19 years old: we’re launching an online fundraising campaign to support its future

18 years ago, OSM Founder Steve Coast posted this invitation to OpenStreetmap’s 1st birthday party.

In 2005, things were moving very quickly for the still new OSM project. The broader open data movement was gathering momentum through events like the World Summit on Free Information Infrastructures (WSFII) and pledge campaigns for the creation of open geodata, and OSM was starting to get coverage in major media like the Guardian. Soon after the above-mentioned first birthday party, the front end of OSM was launched at OSM.org and a new “whizzy” Applet was launched to “replace the horrid old one.”

By 2006, OSM’ers were mapping all over the world:

The OSM Birthday Tradition

When OpenStreetMap turned ten in 2014, the number of celebrations had greatly increased from that first birthday event at the Strongroom Bar in London. In fact, it took a world map to visualize all of the parties.

If you’re celebrating the 19th anniversary of OSM this week, be sure to share some photos. 🎂

What Does OSM Look Like at 19?

OpenStreetMap is the largest open-source geospatial project of all time. There are 18 formally established OSM chapters and dozens more local communities, collaborating on hundreds of communication channels, in more than 50 languages, in most of the countries of the world.  The map and its data is world-recognized as an essential source of geospatial ground truth. The API is used by millions of people, and the community is motivated,  multi-talented, and culturally and geographically diverse. OSM even welcomed its first paid site stability engineer a year ago in recognition of the size and scope of the project.

image credit: Kate Varfolomeyeva, 2023

To get an even better sense of what OSM means to its community in 2023, we asked community members to tell us why they love OSM. Here are just a few of the many answers: 

Image Credit: Kate Varfolomeyeva, 2023

So, you can see why this is an important moment for OpenStreetMap.  In a year, the project will be twenty years old: its data is helping to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges, there is new technology that makes it easier to map, and enthusiasm for mapmaking is as strong as it ever was. 

To meet these challenges and opportunities, the OSM Foundation board is working on a strategic plan that can help support our ever-growing community of volunteers, by strategically funding skills such as project management, engineering, front-end development and offering bounties and sponsorship to help foster a diverse and inclusive map for everyone.  

Which is why now is the time to share your time and money to help secure the future of OpenStreetMap.

It’s OSM’s Birthday! Please Give to Support its Future

Starting today, the OSMF will be conducting an online fundraising campaign to support the future of OSM. Here’s what you can do to help:

  1. Share a photo of how you’re celebrating OSM’s big day with hashtag #HappyBirthdayOSM and/or #WeAreOSM and link to https://supporting.openstreetmap.org.
  2. Make a gift of any size to support OSM’s future.
  3. Edit the map! 🗺

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.

Why State of the Map Conferences Are So Important to OSM

If you’ve been lucky enough to attend a State of the Map (SotM) conference, you already know that they offer some of the best GIS and geospatial knowledge, skills, and training available. That’s on top of being a terrific networking event with lots of fun and engaging social time. If you’re new to the OpenStreetMap community and haven’t yet attended a SotM, or you’re part of a company thinking of sponsoring a SotM, alongside sending a team to attend, this post is for you.    

Image credit: Parker Michels-Boyce Photography. Please tag @OpenStreetMapUS in social media posts when using these photos.

What Is a SotM?

OSM’ers organize annual State of the Map meet-ups as a way to build community, share tools and research, and network with each other toward the shared goal of improving the map. They come in all sizes and are organized locally, regionally and globally, but the goal is always the same: to get together to talk about mapmaking research, tools, initiatives, and other community topics.  Local and Regional SotMs are organized by local communities and the global SotM is organized by the OSM Foundation. 

State of the Map conferences build bridges between OSM mappers and community activists, open-source developers, researchers from universities and academic institutions, designers, cartographers, as well as technology professionals from private companies and public institutions.

What Kinds of Topics are Discussed?

The range of topics is as diverse as the community. The types of presentations range from 5 minute “lightning talks” to 15-20 minute presentations to 75 minute workshops. They cover topics such as platform and tool development, data analysis, humanitarian mapping, and many others. Presenters are affiliated with local communities, Youthmappers, HOTOSM, maplibre, FOSS4G, academia, other nonprofits, and small and large companies.

The 2022 global SotM in Firenze, Italy provides a good example of the range of information and skills that are represented at a SotM. Here are a just few of the session titles: “OSM Carto as Vector tiles; Innovating on Derivative OpenStreetMap Datasets”, Mapping a Small Town”,  “maplibre-rs: Cross-platform Map Rendering using Rust”, “Ten Years iD Editor—The Road Ahead”, “Women Leadership in Mapping Riverside Communities in the Amazon Forest Using OSM.”

These examples just barely scrape the surface.  Here’s the whole programme and here are the recordings of the presentations. Here is the poster exhibit—yes, even the walls of the 2022 SotM were educational! And, here is a summary of the academic proceedings.

So, as you can see, a SotM offers inspiration and knowledge for anyone who is interested in the future of geospatial technology, OpenStreetmap and free and open source software and data.

The OpenStreetMap community spends 365 days a year building the best map of the world together. State of the Map US is our opportunity to spend a few days, in person, building the best community. The event is unique in geo, as it draws such diversity of topics and attendees. Private industry, individual hobbyists, academia and government come together to network, innovate and learn from each other.

 –Maggie Cawley, Executive Director, OSMUS

Why is it Important to Sponsor State of the Map Conferences?

There are so many good reasons!

  • The expertise shared at all SotMs contributes directly to the quality of OpenStreetMap.
  • It’s the right thing to do; companies that benefit from OSM should support the community as well as attribute the data. Donations to the project via the OSMF, sponsoring SotMs, becoming a corporate member, and sharing tools and data are all good ways to give back.
  • It’s an excellent recruiting opportunity. Where else can you find many of the best minds in GIS and geospatial all in one place?
  • It’s an excellent professional development opportunity. You’ll connect with other companies working within OSM, learn from other engineers and analysts, and be inspired by dozens of interesting new tools and projects.
  • It builds brand awareness through corporate social responsibility. It’s well known that customers are more loyal to companies that invest in creating a better world.

There are too many SotMs to picture them all here, but here are a few recent examples.

How Can I Support a SotM in 2023?

There are four large, regional SotMs coming up, and all of them need sponsors.

FOSS4G Oceania
Aukland, 16-20 October, 2023: sponsorship prospectus

This conference amalgamates FOSS4G and SotM into one conference to focus Oceania’s open source geospatial efforts. The conference gives Oceania mapmakers a link to global communities of developers and users and is supported by OSGeo and the OpenStreetMap Foundation. Previous FOSS4G SotM Oceania conferences in Melbourne, Wellington and Suva were an overwhelming success:

  • Melbourne and Wellington were sold out with over 250 attendees at each conference
  • Attendees from over 14 countries from Oceania and further afield such as Canada, the UK, and the USA
  • Attendees included GIS professionals, developers, hobbyists, humanitarian workers, and government agencies

State of the Map EU
Antwerp,  10-12 November, 2023:  sponsorship prospectus

This conference offers an opportunity for a diverse group of individuals to meet and exchange knowledge, experiences and plans for developing use and improvement of OSM. Around 400 attendees from Europe and all over the world are expected to participate. The conference will be offered as a hybrid event, allowing additional participants to join via live- stream if they are unable to join in-person.

“State of the Map is the place where you’re the closest to actually feeling the heartbeat of the whole project. The international SotM can and should travel around the world! But there are way too many mappers and data users in Europe for there to be no big OpenStreetMap conference in Europe for two years.”

–Joost Schouppe, OSM Belgium, co-organizer of SotM EU 2023

State of the Map Asia
Bangkok, 21-25 November, 2023: sponsorship prospectus 

After a successful comeback last year in the Philippines, SotM Asia will be held in Bangkok, Thailand this year! We hope to serve and gather 300-500 participants from Asia and beyond to connect and discuss not only OpenStreetMap and open data tools, projects and challenges, but also showcase diverse Asian cultures.

State of the Map Africa 
Cameroon, 1-3 December, 2023: sponsorship prospectus

OSM Africa is a regional community of contributors, users and supporters of OpenStreetMap from countries within the African continent. This includes mappers, scientific researchers, humanitarians, NGOs, government agencies, small business and global companies having and/or supporting work within the continent. The network is aimed at growing and producing a complete and well detailed map of Africa on OpenStreetMap in order to advance the quality, completeness and sustainability of geospatial data in Africa.


Checking Progress, Planning, and Funding: The June 2023 OSMF Board Screen to Screen

The OSM Foundation Board spent most of last Saturday together at our second “screen to screen” meeting of the year. We are motivated to put in this effort by the mission of OpenStreetMap and the faith entrusted in us by the membership to steward the core resources in the Foundation that makes the map free to all.

We want to share about why we on the Board are putting so much effort where we are, and what you’ll see coming soon.

The screen to screen is the recurring opportunity to step back and assess the current state and direction of the OSMF and our work on the Board. We talked a good deal about a fresh approach and accelerating the strategic planning process. We delved into work underway on top priority items like the EU relocation, technical staff growth, potential future needs like an ED role, and local community support. We looked at the current financial picture and the resources needed in the near term, and recommitted to the fundraising plan to raise 500K GBP to meet our budget plans for this year.

Progress Check

We reviewed how far along we’ve come since setting the 2023 agenda at the March screen to screen. This is critical accountability. The answer is mixed. A lot is in fact moving, but there is a good amount falling behind as well. This can all be tracked in our public action items gitlab. We resolved to address effectiveness in 3 ways. First, strong prioritization on what tasks need doing – we admit that we must triage. Second, team work. Pairing up with another Board member on a task means sharing the burden and keeping each other on pace. And it’s more fun to work together. Third, clearly communicate limits. Life happens. If a meeting will be missed, or a commitment needs to be taken on by someone else, the minimum expectation is communicating to the Board.

We’ll update the Board Rules of Order to capture this point.

Strategic Planning

We then switched to the Strategic Planning Process. The strategic plan will be a comprehensive document to guide and align all the day to day work and decision making in the OSM Foundation. We recognized that to this point translating strategic planning to an online, global community is hard and could have worked better. Through feedback from the Board and wise guidance from our facilitator Allen Gunn, we are reorienting the planning to process to clearly communicate general goals rather than discussion of every potential tactic, and explain more clearly the motivation for each section of the plan. We also agreed that the plan should be a living document, so that it can easily respond to developments as they emerge in the years ahead. We are accelerating the process of drafting, consulting on, and finalizing the plan to conclude in the next 2 months. Expect to see details on this soon.

Strategic Growth

There are a handful of key specific tactics we discussed at the screen to screen for strategic growth. Extending team coverage and accelerating infrastructure robustness by bringing on an additional system administrator to our team. Unlocking mapper needs and development innovation by engaging a paid role to project manage coding projects on OSM.org. Flexibly meet diverse mapper rendering needs by standing up vector tile infrastructure. Investing in the extensive OSM software ecosystem that powers OSMF infrastructure and use of OSM data through engineering community development and grants. And investigating the scope and suitability of an Executive Director role for the OSMF to support the strategy set by the Board.


To meet growing needs, we need resources, and we spent time examining OSMF finances. In recent years the OSMF has grown its obligations to meet the growing demands to create and use OSM data. Our financial management strategy for this year is to break even, retaining our reserves for a rainy day. And in the years ahead, as we look at areas of strategic growth, we want to have funds to grow carefully and considerately to sustain growth with very targetted staff, infrastructure and community investments. We do not plan to commit to growing obligations without confidence that we have the funds necessary to sustain them.

Historically the OSMF has dedicated the most resources to our technical infrastructure, and we have added dedicated staff support with our Senior Site Reliability Engineer and iD Maintainer. This has resulted in more stable and robust systems, and more accessible mapping tooling. The budget for the year, supporting infrastructure investments, staff, operational overhead, and reserves 681,000 GBP. The gap from our regular income from corporate and individual memberships is 521,000 GBP. We reaffirmed this as our target for the fundraising campaign.  and “membership” https://join.osmfoundation.org/

The map is free to all and free to edit, but it is not free to make. OSM is powered by donations in the form of membership, gifts, and sponsorship. At the screen to screen, we reviewed the excellent conversations we had about the fundraising campaign at SotM US, SotM France and SotM Baltics a few weeks ago. Our approach to fundraising is to draw on a diversity of sources. This typically means signing up corporate members and soliciting funds from them, and asking for donations from the OSM community and the broad internet of people who support a free and open map. This year we are doing both again, while also researching other opportunities in public funding and private philanthropy. We are gearing up to make requests from individuals and organizations in July. We’ll need your help – whether as a donor yourself or an ambassador promoting the campaign to your community.

We welcome your thoughts!

Powering OpenStreetMap’s Future: A year of improvements from OpenStreetMap Foundation’s Site Reliability Engineer

Just over one year ago, I joined the OpenStreetMap Foundation (OSMF) with the goal of enhancing the reliability and security of the technology and infrastructure that underpins OpenStreetMap. Throughout the past year, I have worked closely with the Operations Working Group, a dedicated team of volunteers. Together, we have made significant progress in improving our processes and documentation, ultimately strengthening our collective effectiveness. I am immensely grateful for the support and collaboration within this group, and I am delighted to witness the remarkable strides we have taken in building a solid foundation for the future of OpenStreetMap.

I’ll go into a little detail below about what’s transpired. At a high level, I made it easier to manage deployment of the software running on our servers; hardened our network infrastructure through better redundancy, monitoring, access, and documentation; grew our use of cloud services for tile rendering, leveraging a generous AWS sponsorship; improved our security practices; refreshed our developer environments; and last but definitely not least, finalised migration of 16 years of content from our old forums to our new forums.

If you want to hear more from me over the course of the work last year, check out my talk at State of the Map 2022 and my interview on the GeoMob podcast. And I’d love to hear from you, email me at osmfuture@firefishy.com.

2022-2023 Site Reliability Details

Managing software on our servers

Containerised small infrastructure components (GitHub Actions for building)

I have containerised many of our small sites which were previously built using bespoke methods in our chef codebase as part of the “Configuration as code” setup. Moved the build steps to Github Actions. Setup a base for any future container (“docker”) based projects going forward. These are our first container / docker based projects hosted on OSMF infrastructure.

Our chef based code is now simpler, more secure and deploys faster.

Improved chef testing (ops onboarding documentation)

We use chef.io for infrastructure (configuration) management of all our servers and the software used on them. Over the last year the chef test kitchen tests have been extended and now also work on modern Apple Silicon machines. The tests now reliably run as part of our CI / PR processes. The tests add quality control and assurance to the changes we make. Adding ARM support was easier to add because we could use test kitchen before moving onto ARM server hardware.

Having reliable tests should help onboard new chef contributors.

Hardened our network infrastructure

Network Upgrades @ AMS (New Switches, Dual Redundant Links, Dublin soon)

Our network setup in Amsterdam was not as redundant as it should have been. The Cisco Small Business equipment we used we had out-grown. We had unexpected power outages due to hardware issues. The equipment was also limiting future upgrades. The ops group decided to replace the hardware with Juniper equipment which we had standardised on at the Dublin data centre. I replaced the equipment with minimal downtime in a live environment (<15mins).

Both Dublin and Amsterdam data centres now use a standardised and more security configuration. Each server now has fully bonded links for improved redundancy and performance. The switches have improved power and network redundancy. We are awaiting the install of the fully resilient uplinks (order submitted) in the next month.

Out of Band access to both data centres (4G based)

I built and installed an out-of-band access devices at each site. The devices are hard wired to networking and power management equipment using serial consoles. The out-of-band devices have resilient 4G link to a private 4G network (1NCE). The out-of-band access devices are custom built Raspberry PIs with redundant power supplies and 4x serial connectors.

Documentation of Infrastructure to easy maintenance (Racks / Power)

I documented each rack unit, power port (Power Distribution Unit), network connection and cable at the data centres. This makes it easier to manage the servers, reduces errors and allows us to properly instruct remote hands (external support provider) to makes any chances on our behalf.

Oxidized (Visibility of Network Equipment)

Our network and power distribution configuration is now stored in git and changes are reported. This improves visibility of any changes, which in turn improves security.

Config is continiously monitored and any config drift between our sites is now much easier to resolve.

Terraform Infrastructure as Code (improve management / repeatability)

Terraform is an infrastructure-as-code tool, we now use it for managing our remote monitoring service (statuscake) and I am in the process of implementing it to manage our AWS and Fastly infrastructure.

Previous these components were all managed manually using the respective web UIs. Infrastructure-as-code allows the Ops team to collaboratively work on changes, enhances visibility and the repeatability / rollback of any changes.

We manage all domains DNS using dnscontrol code. Incremental improvements have been made over the last year, including add CI tests to improve outside collaboration.

Grew our use of cloud services

AWS in use for rendering infrastructure. Optimised AWS costs. Improved security. Improved Backup. More in pipeline

Ops team have slowly been increasing our usage of AWS over a few years. I have built out multiple usage specific AWS accounts using an AWS organisation model to improve billing and security as per AWS best practise guidelines. We generously received AWS sponsorship for expanding our rendering infrastructure. We built the experimental new rendering infrastructure using ARM architecture using AWS Graviton2 EC2.
We haven’t previously used ARM based servers. As part of improvements to our chef (configuration as code) we had added local testing support for Apple Silicon (ARM), only small additions were required to add the required compatibility for ARM servers to chef.

We were impressed by the performance of AWS Graviton2 EC2 instances for running the OSM tile rendering stack. We also tested on-demand scaling and instance snapshotting for potential further rending stack improvements on AWS.
We have increased our usage of AWS for data backup.

Improved our security

Over the last year a number of general security improvements have been made. For example: Server access is now via ssh key (password access now disabled). We’ve also moved from a bespoke gpg based password manager for the ops team to using gopass (feature rich version of https://www.passwordstore.org/ ), gopass improves key management and sharing the password store.

Additionally we have also enhanced the lockdown of our wordpress instances by reducing installed components, disabling inline updates and disabling XMLRPC access. We are also working to reduce the users with access and removing unused access permissions.

Documented key areas of vulnerability requiring improvement (Redundancy, Security, etc)

Documentation on technical vulnerability: I am producing a report on key areas of vulnerability requiring improvement (Redundancy, Security, etc). The document can be used to focus investment in future to further reduce our expose to risks.

Refreshed our developer environments

New Dev Server

We migrated all dev users to a new dev server in the last year. The old server was end of life (~10 years old) and was reaching capacity limits (CPU and storage). The new server was delivered directly to the Amsterdam data centre, physically installed by remote hands and I communicated the migration, and then migrated all users and projects across.

Retired Subversion

I retired our old svn.openstreetmap.org code repository in the last year. The code repository was used since the inception of the project, containing a rich history of code development in the project. I converted svn code repository to git using a custom reposurgeon config, attention was made to maintain the full contribution history and correctly link previous contributors (350+) to respective github and related accounts. The old svn links were maintained and now link to the archive on github https://github.com/openstreetmap/svn-archive

Forum Migration

The old forum migration, we migrated 1 million posts and 16 years of posts to discourse. All posts were converted from fluxbb markdown to discourse’s flavour of markdown. All accounts were merged and auth converted to OpenStreetMap.org “single sign-on” based auth.

All the old forum links redirect (link to the imported) to correct content. Users, Categories (Countries etc), Thread Topics, and individual posts.

The OSMF Board reflects on the first third of the 2023

At the start of the year, the Board put together our thoughts on what we saw ahead of us. Four months later, there’s a lot to reflect on and assess. Here’s thoughts from each of us on what’s happened, what’s ahead, and how we’re feeling about it.

We welcome input and contribution to the work of OSMF. Contact us directly or, if you are an OSMF Member, join our monthly Board meeting.


Transitioning to this new role has been a slow learning process for me. In the first three (3) months, I failed to do any tasks as I am still learning (plus some health issues). I am keen to help improve new board member onboarding process, as well as to share semi-annual or annual reflections via my OSM Diary. With that said, my priorities is still the same and I hope to support my colleagues in their tasks to grow our community and maintain the OSM project.

Building more local chapters (Q2 priority)

  • Proposal to Local Chapters application and processes have been drafted and we hope to share it with the community for feedback by end of May / early June
  • Had some chats with potential local chapters (if you are reading this and interested to know more, reach out to me!)
  • We also hope to strengthen our relationship with the current local chapters (will conduct research and consultations with LCCWG) and we will be sharing compiled LC annual reports
  • Diversifying OSMF membership, including membership of OSMF Working Group (Q3 priority)
  • Ensuring financial sustainability and effective fundraising
    • in supportive role, but hope to help in diversifying fundraising activities especially in Asia region

Working on the Board starts with a steep learning curve picking up all the skills needed to be effective. We’d gain a lot by upgrading the on-boarding process before the next Board elections. It’s on my list!

My main focus has been work on the OSMF strategic plan. A small team, Allan Mustard, Sarah Hoffmann and myself have revised and restructured the plan from 2021, translated it into 10 languages and we are now doing a communications campaign inviting widespread OSM user comment on the Community Development part of the plan.

I am bringing OSM into the United Nations Digital Public Goods register and we are now close to concluding the very bureaucratic process of registration. I’m also studying whether the OSMF should appoint a full-time Executive Director. Work on a discussion paper is progressing but has not reached presentation stage yet.

I have put in particular effort learning about the very important but complex Tech side of OSMF from the many sources, and I have attended Operations meetings to find out what the small team does, how they do it and how they might best be supported at Board level.


Guillaume has been occupied with family matters and deeply regrets that he has not been able to attend to OpenStreetMap since.


I am learning how the OSMF board works, with various minor activities like preparing email responses/participating in discussions and meetings. I hope to achieve more in the coming months, especially with issues from strategic meeting plans and what I described during the OSMF elections. I am especially happy that the April licensing issues with data published by Overture Foundation/Linux Foundation are solved.


It’s been been especially intense and productive. We’ve prioritized fundraising in OSMF, brought on a fundraiser to help us with the effort, and drafted guidelines to align fundraising with the mission and values of the OSMF. There’s a lot more to come in the fundraising campaign. Also, I’ve spent a lot of time communicating for the Board with the community and with some of our organizational relationships, and gotten the Advisory Board going again. Been especially interesting to figure out the complexities of things like Overture and Map Builder. I think we’ve struck a good tone, and OSMF is positioned well. Finally I think the Screen 2 Screen was very good to orient us on all the work in front of us, and take single threaded ownership of it. It’s a lot, and I can’t say it doesn’t both excite me and feel daunting, but we have the right set up to see it through.


There is a clearly predominant issue for now: fundraising. The OSMF has now grown to a size where hardware and running expenses are substantial, and the employment of people is a commitment that comes on top of that. We now need close to 700’000 GBP (or EUR or USD) per year to assure that, although we had in the past an income of only about 200’000 GBP (or EUR or USD) per year. We have reserves, so it is not urgent, but really really important.

Starting to work with a fundraiser is thus the right decision. This is currently much US centered – this is within expectations as historically most income has come from there, but also a challenge as we want substantial contributions from outside the US both for the money and the diversification.


After a slow start, board work has become pretty intense in the last two months. The appearance of the Overture foundation was an unplanned event that without a doubt influenced the priorities of the board. Consolidating the OSMF’s financial situation is in full swing. We’ve had fruitful discussions about budgets, and means of funding and fundraising. What has come up again and again in discussions is our pending move to the EU, which would open more venues of cooperation for the OSMF. This will be a priority for me in the next quarter. Working on the Strategy plan updates gave me the opportunity to talk to quite a few members of the community about the future of OSM and I very much like to hear more. Next I will be organising a discussion session at the State of the Map France in Marseille.

Ethical guidelines for fundraising at the OpenStreetMap Foundation

OpenStreetMap is gearing up for a campaign in 2023 to fund the maintenance and growth of the core services that enables the amazing mapping community. This is so important the OSMF Board consulted on and decided to engage paid help with organizing the fundraising campaign. With this big step, it’s imperative that this effort is guiding by the high ethical standards aligned with the mission and values of the OSMF.

The Board has written draft Fundraising Guidelines and wants to hear from the community about them. At a high level, fundraising is guided by these main points.

  • Funds are raised to support the OSMF’s mission.
  • We balance honouring donors’ wishes and preferences while upholding the communities’ values.
  • Our communication will adhere to high standards of integrity and transparency.
  • Collaboration and inclusivity of the diverse OSM community in fundraising efforts is paramount.
  • Fundraising will be executed and managed effectively.
  • Our guidelines are anchored in clear policies.

Please take a close look and provide any feedback in the forum, in the comments, or directly to the Board.

State of the Map 2024 – Call for Venues Open!

The Call for Venues for State of the Map (SotM) 2024 is now open! Build a team, shape your idea, and submit your proposal to host SotM 2024!

SotM Logo

Everyone is welcome to submit their bids for next year’s conference. We highly encourage community proposals from places where global SotM is yet to happen.

Read the guidelines and selection criteria on the OSM Wiki page to start planning your application for next year’s conference venue. 

This early call gives you the greatest flexibility over dates you can pick in 2024. Please observe when other OpenStreetMap-related events (like FOSS4G and local SotMs) will take place in order to avoid possible clashes with other relevant conferences for the community.

You can start your bid by visiting https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/State_of_the_Map_2024/Call_for_venues

Key Dates

  • Call for venues open: 31st March 2023
  • Deadline of bids: 31st May 2023
  • Announcement of venue 2024: August 2023

Need help? 

The SotM Working Group is available for any further clarifications! Please contact via email: sotm [at] openstreetmap.org as early as possible so that we can provide guidance, if needed.

We look forward to collaborating with you.

SotM Organising Committee

Sign up for event updates and follow us @sotm!


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

The State of the Map conference is the annual, international conference of OpenStreetMap, organised by the OpenStreetMap Foundation. The OpenStreetMap Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation, formed in the UK to support the OpenStreetMap Project. It is dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free geospatial data for anyone to use and share. The OpenStreetMap Foundation owns and maintains the infrastructure of the OpenStreetMap project. The State of the Map Organising Committee is one of our volunteer Working Groups.

OpenStreetMap was founded in 2004 and is an 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.

Local Chapters Congress – Live & Online in 2022!

By: Local Chapters & Communities Working Group (LCCWG) 

The Local Chapters & Communities Working Group (LCCWG) tries to organize a yearly in-person and a yearly virtual Local Chapters Congress. For obvious reasons, events in 2020 and 2021 could only happen virtually. But in 2022 we managed to do both! This post covers about both the virtual and IRL (in real life) congresses.

State of the Map Florence – Community Meet IRL!

On August 19, at the State of the Map in Florence, Italy, the LCCWG hosted an in-person (woo hoo!) mini-Congress. If you missed it, here are some of the ideas that arose from a fruitful and fun discussion. We hope you will consider joining the next session in late 2023!

We started the session by dividing up into continents – and every continent was represented! It turned out many people from the same regions didn’t know one another. 

Next we heard Allan Mustard, Tobias Knerr and Jean-Marc Liotier talk about the role of chapters from the OpenStreetMap Foundation perspective. 

Next we passed out two colors of sticky notes and asked participants to share things that have worked in their communities or challenges they have faced. There were many great answers, and many common threads.

Where have you seen success gathering community?

In terms of having an organization, some groups found that having several dedicated chat rooms on specific topics helpful. Other groups found it simpler to move organizational stuff to open source software like Collabora, LibreOffice, LimeSurvey. Many folks had success linking with their local government and holding local events, like State of the Map. Other common threads were around community building and mapping projects. Community building around the world seems to have more success when the focus is on building relationships, working together with other communities and having regular informal meetings. All participants strive to keep their spaces open and welcoming. 

Often communities are contacted by local authorities who want to help keep OSM data up to date. This can lead to partnerships for mapping projects, such as mapping health infrastructure for covid, mapping buildings and addresses, following up on Notes and just new mappers heading out to contribute on their own. 

What’s Difficult About Organizing Community?

On the other sticky note, folks shared things that were more difficult. A general theme seemed to be growing pains – how do you get started? Once you have a little group, how do you formalize? When you become a Local Chapter, how do you find new goals for the community to work towards? In some regions, getting volunteer work at all is difficult. In others, it’s mostly about keeping people on board for longer.

Another common difficulty was the institutional and financial challenges associated with having a local group. How do you finance your organization? How do you handle commercial activities? In our session there were discussions about the limits to paid mapping by local chapters, the growing pains moving from an informal to a formal group, the procedure to become a Local Chapter and when requests from outsiders or handling management as a volunteer can be too time consuming. 

Other challenges included how to decide between open channels Vs closed channels (where many folks tend to be already, like WhatsApp), having too many different channels, getting visas to attend global events, engaging volunteers in low income countries, and reconvening in-person after COVID.

When it comes to mapping – often that’s the least of a Chapter’s worries! Though in some countries, incentives for volunteers and lack of resources like decent internet connections are a barrier. Another challenge can be to get people facing the same direction to achieve common mapping goals, or to decide on which mapping tools to use. And there’s more and more quality open data that allows you to improve OpenStreetMap – but it is so much work to put it to use.

Local Chapters Congress – Community Meets Online

On November 12, 2022 the global OSM community gathered for the 3rd annual virtual Local Chapters and Communities Congress 2022. Leaders and members of various OSM communities, whether they are officially recognized Local Chapters of the OSM Foundation or just a regular user group of OSM mappers, came together to share stories and learn from each other.

There were lightning talks, presentations by LCCWG members and lots of great discussions. OSM Italia presented a fun video about the SotM in Florence. Adrés Gómez talked about how the Colombia community is successfully dealing with huge amounts of Notes – and how the project is expanding to other countries. Janet Chapman talked about Crowd2Map Tanzania. Then we heard about the new Discourse forum that lives at community.openstreetmap.org. To close off, we heard from a bunch of communities from around the globe.

You can check out the full agenda on the wiki and watch presentations from the day on this youtube  playlist

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.

Join OSM Open Source Development with GSoC 2023

In 2023, OpenStreetMap will participate once more as a mentoring organization in Google Summer of Code, a program to bring new contributors into Open Source software development. Originally targeted at students, the program now also accepts people new to Open Source in general.

We particularly welcome potential participants who are already involved with OpenStreetMap. You ideally have done some mapping and had an opportunity to get to know the community. You have used some of the software around OpenStreetMap and would now like to get involved in its development.

With the support of an experienced mentor, you will, over the course of a few months, add features to one of the Open Source tools which power the OSM ecosystem. Your work will improve software used daily by the OSM community, and Google will provide you with an attractive stipend for the summer. You will find more information about the program in general on the Google Summer of Code 2023 website.

Because of OSM’s diverse software ecosystem, you can choose from projects involving a variety of tools, technologies and programming languages. OSM tools planning to participate this year include editing software such as iD or JOSM, routing software such as OSRM or Valhalla, and the Nominatim search engine.

Applications are open March 20 to April 4 – but please get in contact with your mentors early so you can use the chance to improve your application. Visit our GSoC 2023 wiki page to learn what we’re looking for and browse our project ideas.

Learn more about GSoC 2023 with OSM

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.

Welcome TomTom, our first Platinum Corporate Member

We are happy to announce that TomTom is joining us as our first platinum tier corporate member. Their contribution provides crucial direct financial support to our operations and infrastructure, which is essential to accompany the growth and ensure the long-term sustainability of the world’s largest crowdsourced geospatial project.

People create data in OpenStreetMap, excited that open map data will be widely useful and used. Many more people will be interacting with OpenStreetMap data through TomTom’s user base, and some of them will be curious about our community and interested to help make it better. We welcome all such contributions, whether someone is fixing a small issue on the map affecting them, or as the first step of a life long mapping passion.

We are grateful for the wide extent of TomTom’s support of OpenStreetMap, which extends beyond financial contributions: they actively participate in working groups, the Advisory Board, and local OpenStreetMap communities. TomTom’s recognition of the importance of the OpenStreetMap data they use is a testament to the value our project provides. We hope this inspires other corporate partners to join as members to support OpenStreetMap.

Read more from TomTom on their announcement.