User:Wonderchook/OSMF Board Manifesto

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Experience in OpenStreetMap

I began mapping my old neighborhood in OpenStreetMap three and a half years ago, never thinking it would turn into a full-time passion. I simply wanted to show the resources of where I lived for example my neighborhood had 30 miles of walking trails, something that cannot be seen through most maps. Soon I began attending and hosting mapping parties in the Washington DC and Baltimore areas. Fast forward to January 2010 when a disastrous earthquake struck Haiti. I began as much of the OpenStreetMap community did, simply mapping Haiti to help. Then in June of that year I traveled to Haiti to help teach those living and working there both how to use the OSM data and how to contribute to the map. Later that year I lead the effort to incorporate the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team so that we could continue to assist in the earthquake recovery in Haiti. Today through my work with HOT I am fortunate that I get to teach people about OSM all over the world. Currently I live in Indonesia and work with a team of nine people to teach government, universities and other groups how to map with OSM. From that project LearnOSM has come to exist, a guide to get people started with the project and currently available in 8 languages.

OpenStreetMap Activities of which I am most proud:

  • Assisted the Government of Jakarta in the use of OSM during the flooding there in January 2013 (Ignite OSCON talk about project)
  • Lead a team of OSM trainers in Indonesia that has trained over 500 people in how to edit the map
  • Part of the Team that Incorporated the US Chapter of OpenStreetMap US
  • One of the lead organizers of the first State of the Map US
  • Being part of amazing community that the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team is today
  • Involvement in the Imagery to the Crowd Initiative with the United States State Department that allows OSM to use imagery for disaster response and development projects for free.

My Vision for the OSM Foundation

My vision for the OSMF is fairly simple. I would like to see more long-term strategic thinking aimed at a few key things. Number one for me is diversity. If the goal of OpenStreetMap can be summarized as a "free map of the entire world," then our current make-up is simply not sufficient. The OSMF board currently is entirely male and based in Europe, they only a portion of the community. Second would be strategic fundraising. I don't think that the OSMF necessarily needs to raise millions of dollars and become a huge foundation such as Wikipedia, but I would like to see a more comprehensive fundraising plan. This would include things such as long term hardware purchasing and brining back scholarships for people to attend State of the Map that could not otherwise afford it. I believe these two goals are things that I can assist with my skills and experience.


I would like to see more people involved and members of the OSM Foundation outside of Europe and North America. It is possible currently to have membership fees waived if someone can't afford them, but there is no clear instructions on how to do that. As a simple first step in increasing diversity I would like to make this process clear. I think we also need to think about different ways to have discussions. Not all cultures communicate in the aggressive direct way that we often have on the mailing list. Having surveys or live chats with the OSM Foundation board would be initial ways I would solicited input from varied groups.

I think to protect this diversity there needs to be more work towards anti-harassment policies as well. Currently when people have a serious argument, there is not anywhere to go really within OSM. Some people manage to ignore each other and get on, others quit the project entirely. There needs to be impartial meditation to help resolve these issues. I don't think this is necessarily required to be an OSMF role, but currently the community is not providing it. I can only speak anecdotally, but not having these roles in place at the very least continues to stifle the amount of women in the project. By partnering with groups such as the Ada Initiative we could work to have a good policy in place and procedures, to ensure OSM is a safe community for everyone.


Through my work with HOT I have experience fundraising for OSM related projects and causes. I would like to help the OSMF in working with foundations and other organizations to accomplish our goals. I think it is great we can ask the community to contribute to buy new hardware, but perhaps there are other fundraising methods we could use to accomplish those goals as well. To be clear I don't want OSM to feel we have sold out to a single organization, but simply ways to have a more definite funding stream for supporting the project.

Conflict of Interest Disclosure

I am currently employed as the Executive Director of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team.