Data Working Group

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The Data Working Group (data, “ат”openstreetmap“ԁοт”org) is authorised by the Foundation to deal with accusations of copyright infringement, imports, serious disputes and vandalism. Minor incidents of vandalism should be dealt with by the local community using counter-vandalism tools and processes.


DWG members perform a variety of activities. Complaints are often presented via email and then logged into OTRS, an open source issue tracking system used by the DWG. Communication with users usually occurs through changeset discussions for transparent communication as well as the opportunity for other mappers to weigh in (especially in cases of community disputes). If a case requires local expertise, the DWG may identify "investigators" or contacts within the affected community who can provide input or assist researching issues. In cases of users creating spam, the DWG may ask the Operations Working Group to delete diary entries, limit API access to certain IP addresses, etc. Sysadmins from the OWG provide expertise about the appropriate course of action. Over the course of an investigation, the DWG may revert edits, block users (see below), and possibly redact edits. The DWG also handles cases where an OSM note may inadvertently be opened with private information.

The DWG occasionally releases activity reports that summarizes the general nature and volume of cases acted on by the DWG, which are posted on the OSMF DWG page . Additionally, all changeset discussions and user blocks are visible to the public through the OSM website.

User blocks

The Data Working Group is empowered to put temporary blocks (up to 96 hours) on user activity on OSM. This is to force people engaging in questionable activity to pause their efforts, to give other community members time to discuss, and so on. Thus, their purpose is not to banish a user from the community, but rather to get their attention in cases of unresponsive mappers or limit the damage occurring in cases of incompatibly licensed or improperly imported data. Permanent blocks are managed by OSM administrators and are normally imposed only after going through the process outlined in the OSM Foundation ban policy.

A list of current and expired user blocks is available on the OSM website.


The DWG is also in charge of removing or "redacting" information that cannot be distributed in OSM--even after being reverted--for legal reasons. This usually stems from bulk amounts of data that have been copied or imported while not having the proper licensure or permission. Changesets that have been redacted are still listed in the history, but object information is absent. More information about the redacting process can be found on the redactions sub-page

Notes also can be hidden. Some commonly appearing useless/abusive notes are being hidden automatically.


Membership of the working group is open to any invited persons. See the OSMF site for a list of the current members.

Contacts in case of problems

If you find any acts of vandalism, illegal copying from sources, or major border alterations, and the user does not respond to messages, you can contact the Data Working Group by sending an e-mail to:

OSM messages to the OSMF Data Working Group user will also work, but email's easier for the DWG to deal with and preferred if possible.

Try to make your report easy to process by providing specific details and supporting evidence. Rather than just "User XYZ ignores me!", supply the specific changeset comment they have ignored, and an edit made by that user after the comment was made, to demonstrate that they ignore communications attempts.

Please understand that all work on Data Working Group is done by volunteers; depending on the scale and complexity of the issue, it may take some time before a case is resolved Especially in cases requiring an investigation by the Foundation or its legal consultants to determine and strengthen a position or decision that the DWG team cannot take alone, or a change in policies that will need to be discussed and explained with the community at large.

See also