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SWOT Analysis

What is the purpose of a "SWOT Analysis"?

To quote Wikipedia, SWOT analysis (alternatively SWOT Matrix) is a structured planning method used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved.

How do I use it?

Please submit your own personal views of OSM. We want the good, the bad and the ugly. Not just big issues, but little, trivial details that drive you nuts or empower you to map more. Please, no personal attacks. If someone else has already written down a statement you agree with, give it a +1. Below are some tips to help you:

  • Give accurate and precise statements rather than vague statements
  • Think of newspaper headlines rather than short stories
  • One thought per statement
  • Only edit your statements. If you have something that you want to add to, write another statement.
SWOT Analysis
Strengths Weaknesses
Biggest non-commercial map Small active user base relative to total participants
Worldwide coverage Small contributor base for OSMF
Existing large database (+1) Mappers choose to edit Google's map because it's available on almost all websites with geolocation (+1)
"Great set of tools (+1)
the tools and Bing imagery make editing very efficient: one very active user can easily build and maintain a city" "Map completeness (quality factor) is low relative to others map providers (+2)
weakest points: addresses and turn restrictions (+1)
weak in comparison to professional maps: POI's + info on POI's"
Great community supporting the tools and data entry (+1) Map consistency (quality factor) is somewhat low
Active consumers of OSM-based tile information Confusing for beginners (+2, and this includes would-be map end-users or data users)
The community is in charge instead of some individuals Fragmented organization (+2)
Flexibility which stimulates creativity (+1) Indecisiveness (+2)
+ 1 million registered users (+1, but for "registered _mappers_") Relatively unknown (+1)
Great sysadmins with a lot of dedication Products based on OSM are not popular in comparison to products of other map makers (+1)
Not for sale Too few volunteers with dedication to get OSM projects going (+2)
First mover advantage for crowd-sourced maps Even open-source advocates usually use other mapping services (+1)
Open (source) Bad at demonstrating end-up-end usability
Big enough to survive in the coming decades Bad at finding momentum around attaining "completeness milestones" around compelling use-cases(+1)
No privacy issues (in contrast to commercial maps OSM does not want to know the whereabouts of users) No real "Google Maps killer" for people who just want maps and markers, to make our data important for this large group
Offline maps available Google is much better in encouraging usage of their maps with the concept of "my map"/"my places", there is no such concept in OSM (nor in other sites using OSM data).
Road quality comparable to professional maps There is no easy way to "add your business to the map" and maintain it (a poi would be sufficient). (+2)
Several great sponsors "Minor community building
sometimes communications between mappers a bit too rough (+2)"
Low operating cost Some voices carry too much weight when making decisions
Stable platform Perception that consensus is needed before progressing
Dedicated community trying to improve the quality "Website does not have a professional look
First time visitors (editors / data users / viewers) not well catered for"
Fast to react to changes on the ground The main site/map does not have clear purpose or it is not sufficiently communicated. Demo? Tool for mappers? The best map for users?
Invaluable tool for groups working after natural disasters The map legend is not very clear and it is missing lots of displayed features.
There is no easy way to use the map on other sites.
Main map hides the usefulness of the whole project, most of the data/usecases is hidden (non present/on different site/uncommunicated).
OSM does not give users strong reasons to use the OSM maps rather than googlemaps.
No easy way to announce mapping parties to local mappers
Publicity is absent.(+1)
No metrics to drive focus (i.e. Percent of mappers in a given population)
lack of redundancy in IT infrastructure
consumers expectation of slippy map products far exceed OSM home page. (i.e. no clickable links, no routing, no terrain, .etc.)
difficult to map with landuse and other large polygons often connected to roads and admin boundaries
difficult to replace imports of boundaries, addresses, buildings, etc.
Stability of main OSM servers
Unwieldy change/patch system for OSM server infrastructure
Clear vision and mission statements
No central leadership
Local, Provincial/State and National governments ability to use ODbL and CC-SA licenses
Tools favour minority operating systems (Linux flavours) with particularly poor support in Windows, often reflecting poor coding practice (hard coded "/" for directories, hard coded locations for osm2pgsql projection support etc.).
No easy visual access to tool chain, and still limited support 'in the cloud' for accessing/processing OSM data.
Dominated by geeks not mappers
Poor online methods for social interaction and community-building
Opportunities Threats
Expanding user (data consumer) base Major provider open-sources its data (e.g. Google, Apple, Microsoft, Nokia)
"Expanding contributor base
Including less technical contributors" Current consumers (e.g. Foursquare, etc.) prefer to use other sources
"Expanding map capabilities
Expanding services offered at osm.org (+1)" People get tired of entering data & leave the community
"Improving sense of community
Improving communications within the organization
More interaction between users (in OSM based socialized apps, with a newsletter like the German wochennotiz)" Google already has a "Fix the map" link on a real destination map tool for end users and we don't
Unifying various web entities Users find that in practice, Google's "do what you like and we mostly won't stop you" is at least as free as our "Attribute and sharealike or else!"
Expanding infrastructure Key people like sysadmins leaving
More interaction with professional developers to create a win-win situation Google looks much better for normal consumers, who just want to place a marker on the map and present it, so even in areas where OSM is superficial, user rather uses googlemaps.
Create great products based on OSM which will be popular (+1, as vehicle to make our data important) Weak central control. OSM is basically a hands off culture where anything goes.
Interaction with users of OSM Lack of sufficient funding sources to publicize OSM, develop tools, enhance IT, fight legal issues, and build communities
Account management for major users (like Foursquare) in OSMF Litigation from an aggrieved copyright owner
Create more fun with games like Kort
Introduce a really great 'gamechanger' routing app to beat any other Android/IPhone/Windows app available, with great ease of use, social features like integration with Foursquare etc.
"Creating one true Edit-The-Map button suitable for all (really, ALL) OSM map apps
Encouraging users of our data to incorporate this, train user base to expect an editable map"
Get a share of the muti-billion add market to finance hardware, to hire external people and to get OSM more known
Cooperation with a big player like Microsoft, Google, apple, Facebook
"As the only big non-commercial player in mapping OSM is very useful for governments and NGO's
Past projects using Govt. data / assistance should be showcased at SOTM's, TED's, etc to Govt. officals
Invite key govt. representatives (open data advocates) to SOTM's"
Very interesting map solution for companies that don't own TeleAtlas, Navteq, Waze or Google
Put one person on payroll with the role of presenting at conferences worldwide
Reinvigorate local chapters movement with the aim of 1 per country at a minimum
"Promote regular ""mapping party weekends"" e.g. first weekend of each month
Create a ""find a party near you"" service"
Easy to use "Create Your Own Map" for use by organizations and individuals for special events.
More social interactions
Invite hikers to upload gps tracks for trails
Lobby governments for open data
Encourage third party users of OSM data to contribute back
Send teams to areas to build community involvement where it is lacking
Bring in outside board members to build core competencies
Partner with trade groups to help structure tags and build alliances
Reward key mapping contributions with awards ( real prizes if sponsorship can be obtained)