State of the Map 2017/Call for venues

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Welcome to the call for venues for State Of The Map! Let's celebrate the growth of OpenStreetMap, share experiences and create new ideas in your city. From March 1st 2016 we invite you to bid to host State Of The Map 2017.

This year we encourage bids of all types. State of the Map has typically been an annual conference of 200 to 300 delegates. It's normally 3 days; the weekend plus either Friday or Monday. This page is written with something similar in mind however we're open to new ideas if a compelling case is put forward. One option may even be hold multiple State of the Maps in 2017! For example, one large event and a mini event specialised on a single topic/region.

Please take a moment to read the details below and ensure your proposals are ready by 10th April 2016. The more information you can provide the better but don't worry, the State of the Map working group is here to help you. You can contact us any time on

Key dates

Most key dates are currently to be determined.

  • Call for venues open: 7th March 2016
  • Submit your proposal by: 10th April 2016
  • Event dates, in calendar 2017

Our vision

State of the Map has traditionally been an annual conference of a few hundred delegates. During 2015 we looked at the key aims of the OSM get together and developed a vision for 2017. The vision is sufficiently broad to accept all styles of bid - we're open to new ideas if a compelling case is put forward.

Your proposal

If you submit a proposal (bid), add it to the list below. To be able to make a good decision your proposal should at least contain the following information.

Details about you

Please include the name of the group or individual(s) applying and a short description of how the State of the Map would look - would it be a large event or a small event; will it focus on presentations or do you want to try something entirely different.

We will likely want to contact you for further information regarding your proposal and it helps if we have a suitable way of contacting you! As per the judging criteria below you may also want to provide details about your experience running events (small or large) and how your local community can help make State of the Map successful.

Please provide:

  • The name of the group or individual(s) applying.
  • A short impression how the State of the Map would look like.

Venue and catering

You may want to use our template for this section (create a copy via "File > Make a copy...).

The cost of venue hire and catering (for lunch and coffee/tea breaks) will, in combination, be the highest cost item. As some venues require you to use their dedicated catering service it is important that you provide details on both the venue and catering.

Typically State of the Map has been held attended by 200 to 300 people. The venue has had at least 2 lecture theatre style rooms (for the presentations), a number of smaller rooms (for break-out sessions) and a suitable area (such as a foyer, large room or cafe/restaurant) for lunch and coffee breaks. For a similar event we would expect the same. The main rooms should ideally be close to each other - 2 different buildings at different ends of a large university campus is, for example, not suitable.

Some venues require you to use their dedicated catering service, whilst others allow catering to be provided by a different company. Beware, some venues even charge a fee if you use catering providers outside of their approved list! This is often known as a "corkage fee" and is something you should ask the venue about. At this stage we are only interested in restrictions on catering and rough cost estimates. Unless the venue requires you to use their catering provided, you do not need to have decided on the catering provider at this stage. You may wish to obtain a few quotes to ensure you are getting value for money.

Note: In the past, universities have served as good venues due to having many options on lecture room sizes, at least one of which seats over 300.

Please provide:

  • An estimate of the costs of the venue and catering.
  • Details of the proposed conference venue (name, address, room sizes, suitable space for coffee and lunch breaks).
  • Information about the catering (a cost estimate, any restrictions on catering providers as specified by the venue).
  • Optional: Availability of audio-visual equipment (e.g. projectors, microphones) and WiFi at the venue.

Details about the location (optional)

Information about the city/region (transport, accommodation, tourist attractions, etc) helps to give an idea of the potential number of people who may attend State of the Map. For example, locations within one hour travel of a major airport serviced by low-cost airlines are likely to attract more international attendees than locations that are difficult or expensive to get to. You may wish to include details about:

  • Transport to the city/region (train stations, airports, long distance bus services).
  • Transport within the city (between the city centre, main hotels and the venue).
  • Availability of accommodation close to the venue.
  • Interestingness of the city (tourist appeal, business appeal).
  • Any events held in the city directly before, after or same time as State of the Map.
  • Opportunities to promote OSM with commercial  organisations within the region/country.
  • Ideas for community-building activities (is there anywhere in your city that can host all attendees for an evening social event?).

Judging criteria

In order to make a well-thought decision which bid to choose, the organizing committee will first look at the details you have provided on venue and catering. We are keen to keep the cost of attending as low as possible. Bids with costly venue hire and catering will increase the level of sponsorship required in order to keep the ticket price down. Bids that are deemed to be too high will be filtered out.

Following this, we would next look at the other details as set out above. We would be looking for a bid that we have faith will be able to succeed. For example we may want to assess how well your group will cope with the helping us to organize State of the Map (don't worry, we are here to help) and the general suitability of the city/region.


Who should apply? Anyone or any group that wish to host the State of the Map 2017 can apply to the OpenStreetMap Foundation to be considered as a conference host. You do not need to represent a whole nation – rival bids from the same nation are allowed, but we encourage co-operation between nearby groups.

What is the job of the local bid team? Most of the tasks for the local team are communications tasks. You'll liase with the State of the Map Working Group, attend their meetings and be in frequent and prompt contact with them by email.

The local bid team will be the local experts. You'll need to select one or more potential venues, and collect quotes for the venue and other local vendors such as catering, wifi service, hotel discounts. Previous experience in organizing large events is beneficial but not mandatory.

Are the dates set? No, the date of SotM17 are not set yet. Consider the entire calendar year and select a time and place that would be best for the conference. If you can be flexible and multiple dates / venues will be equally suitable, please indicate so in your bid package. If there are other exciting events occurring in your city then you may want to propose holding SotM2017 just before or after these.

Is the conference format fixed? No, the format is not fixed. The last conferences were a three day event during a weekend (Friday - Sunday). The 2017 conference does not necessarily need to have the same format. The prospective hosts may suggest alterations to the format. State of the Map is typically a two- to four-track conference.

Do we need to have a venue confirmed? No. You don’t need to have a venue confirmed. However, having a provisional “yes” will be an advantage. Providing at least one budgetary venue bid is a strong advantage.

Can we provide details on more than one venue option? Yes. If you have identified more than one suitable venue you can provide details on these. If, during your research, you found unsuitable venues you can state this in your submission as it may still help to give us an idea of expected costs and your ability to work help organize State of the Map.

Do we need to have a catering provider confirmed? No. You don’t need to have a catering provider confirmed. However, having one or more quotes will be an advantage.

What is the affiliation between the OSM Foundation and the State of the Map? The State of Map is the conference of the OpenStreetMap Foundation. All finances, entry fees and sponsorship should be administered through the Foundation. Applicants and local organizing teams are strongly encouraged to seek additional local sponsorship and other support.

What size should the organizing committee be? The recommended size of the local organizing committee are 3+ people to handle all issue regarding the venue, catering and other organizational issues that require local knowledge. The local team will be part of a bigger organizing team. So you're not on your own....

How many people can you expect? The previous three conferences had between 250 and 300 sign-ups. The OpenStreetMap Foundation is dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free geospatial data, and a key part of this is building our communities. We recognise that all communities start off small so if these numbers look big to you, don't worry, we still want you to bid to host State of the Map. Please indicate the nominal and maximum capacities of your selected venue.


The bids do not have to be in a final version to be listed here, so you may be able to work on it collectively. Because that's what a wiki is all about....

If you have any questions, or are interested in preparing a bid but are unsure of the next steps, please contact