Building local communities

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While OpenStreetMap is a global project, its ultimate success will not be possible without the presence of strong local communities of mappers. While mappers working individually can certainly make a good map, OSM would not achieve timely success without mappers coordinating with each other. Mappers working as a community can welcome new mappers and support new map users, build consensus on best practices (and agree on local tagging conventions), and promote OSM to the wider public through events, training sessions, and projects.

Mappers often like to say that OpenStreetMap is not just a map but rather a geographical database, but it is also important to say that OpenStreetMap is also its community of mappers. You could fork the OSM project by taking its data because of its open license, but it is almost impossible to cultivate a new passionate community of mappers to support and maintain your fork.

The following sections is a non-exhaustive list of tools, apps, projects, and ideas that mappers can use and improve to help build their local mapping communities. An overview of communication channels is available on the Contact channels page.

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Welcoming new mappers


When mappers save their edits using the iD editor, they get a list of community resources to help them connect with other local mappers. For many new mappers, this is often the first place they are informed about their local communities. So it is a good idea to ensure that this index is complete and up-to-date with websites, communication channels, and organisations related to your local community.

New OSM Contributor Feed

This is a tool created by Pascal Neis that lets you create RSS feeds of new mappers within a specified bounding box. Read Pascal's blog post explaining the tool and how to use it. This tool is often used as a building block to power other more complex welcoming tools.

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Collaborating on projects and events


This is a calendar web application developed by OSM user Thomas Skowron that uses OpenStreetMap user accounts to allow OSM users to RSVP to events. This app is intended to replace or supplement the Template:Calendar page on this wiki. You can read his diary entry introducing OSMCAL or visit the app's GitHub repository.

"microcosms" (Alpha)

This is an ongoing effort by Brian DeRocher to implement features on the OSM website to "support city sized groups of mappers" provisionally called "microcosms". You can view the presentation Brian made during State of the Map US 2019 to introduce his project and see the GitHub pull request Brian opened to solicit feedback and ideas.

OSM Teams (Beta)

Development Seed developed OSM Teams as a third-party authentication API intended to help organised mapping teams coordinate their work in OSM. You can read DevSeed's blog post introducing this tool or visit the tool's GitHub repository.

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Introducing OSM to organizations

Welcome Mat

This official OSM sub-website was developed by the OSM Foundation Board in collaboration with the Foundation's Advisory Board. The website aims to introduce OSM to organizations and companies who want to learn more about OpenStreetMap, collaborate with the mapping community, or help out with mapping projects and events. The website contains six sections:

  1. What is OpenStreetMap?
  2. Who is OpenStreetMap?
  3. Why use OpenStreetMap?
  4. How to give back?
  5. About the OpenStreetMap Community
  6. Working with OpenStreetMap Data

More information about the website can be found on its page on the OSM Foundation website or its GitHub repository.

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Building inclusive spaces

A global map created by volunteers cannot be comprehensive if the community is not welcoming. We therefore encourage local communities to ensure that you be as inclusive to diverse groups of people as possible. The following are examples of some resources that you can adopt and adapt to your local context.

Etiquette and Community Code of Conduct (Draft)

These wiki pages contains a set of community guidelines that aim to encourage polite and respectful discussions on various OSM communication channels such as mailing lists.

State of the Map Code of Conduct

Events organized by the community should aim to provide an experience to attendees that is free of harassment regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age or religion. We encourage local communities to adopt a Code of Conduct and enforce them in your own events.