Foundation/AGM21/Election to Board/Answers and manifestos/Manifestos

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Manifestos: Guillaume Rischard | Michal Migurski | Amanda McCann | Mikel Maron | Roland Olbricht | Bryan Housel

Guillaume Rischard

A lot of topics are covered in the questions above, so it’s what’s left on my mind after answering everything, and a reflection on my past two years as OSMF board member and treasurer.

Disappointed in a Good Way

I came on the board with plans that the reality I met didn’t follow. I didn’t expect to become the treasurer, and certainly didn’t think that it would take so much of my time.

Already in 2016, Frederik was complaining that banking was “difficult […] because we change our personnel frequently. Currently we don’t even have a board member residing in the country where our bank accounts are.” This reached a crisis in early 2020 when Barclays asked us to leave within a few weeks. Finding a new bank from abroad in the middle of a pandemic lockdown became almost a full-time job. We were relieved when we found a new bank at Triodos for our GBP reserves, and started using TransferWise (now Wise) for our everyday international banking.

TransferWise took issue with us mapping and having non-paying members in some countries early 2021, and unceremoniously kicked us out. I don’t recommend anyone do business with them.

We finally moved our everyday finances to Bank of Ireland, and also opened a backup account with Our savings are earning a small percentage of interest at Triodos.

Compared to before I was on the board, we have, however, managed to get a lot done in a record amount of time. In no particular order, and certainly forgetting some, I have participated in many of the things we have achieved:

  • Published a strategic plan outline
  • Passed a diversity statement
  • Hired an iD developer twice (Quincy, then Martin) and are about to hire a site reliability engineer, and fundraised amongst corporate members to afford it
  • Surveyed the community in the largest ever OSM survey
  • Built a new data centre in Dublin
  • Revived EWG
  • Resumed OWG meetings
  • Adopted the new attribution guidelines, which clarify what kind of attribution we see as complying with the ODbL
  • Started updating the etiquette guidelines, and setting up a real moderation team for mailing lists
  • Almost doubled the number of recognised local chapters. Instead of only European groups, they now represent mappers from five continents.

I believe that the current board is working in the right direction, and has the correct targets in sights to support OSM in its growth. This doesn’t mean that only doing business as usual is enough.

The Next Two years

I have started rebuilding the financial model, including detailed financial reporting and a budgeting committee. We previously did not track how our expenses matched our budget, and there were no long-term previsions for large expenses. Having a plan for this will not only make oversight by the community easier, it will also help fundraising from donors who, legitimately, want to have an idea of where their money is going and will go.

MWG’s efforts to rethink membership after the GlobalLogic report have been careful and slow, but the new active contribution membership is already bearing fruits. This year, for the first time, the OSM Foundation has more than 2000 members. Changing what it means to be a member should not be done hurriedly. I hope the future board and MWG can continue their efforts and community consultation on this. We need to do better, and I wish I had been able to spend more time on this.

Members should have more say in the decision-making process of the project. One of the questions is about a global tagging dispute, and I still think that we would all benefit from having a liquid democracy process to let members take decisions on this kind of issue.

One big change that we will probably have to face in the coming year will be relocation. Should we move to the EU, and, if yes, where and how? Solving this will create a lot of work, which will be hard for a volunteer board to get done.

I hope that next year, we will have a more diverse list of OSMF board candidates to choose from.

Finally, Allan’s two years as chairperson have been fantastic for the board, the foundation, and the project, and we should preciously keep his good ideas. His structured approach to work has helped us so much. The Roberts rules of order, which he unilaterally and arbitrarily imposed, have replaced the chaos we had before. We have, at his initiative, communicated more and better, beyond mailing lists and blogs: his wide outreach, culminating in the structured community survey, has given this board a better picture of the community than any of our predecessors. The strategic plan outline reflects this, and will help lead our work for years to come. Thank you, Allan!

Manifestos: Guillaume Rischard | Michal Migurski | Amanda McCann | Mikel Maron | Roland Olbricht | Bryan Housel

Michal Migurski

OpenStreetMap is one of the world’s most significant and important open data projects. I’ve been contributing since 2005 and I’m putting myself forward for an elected board seat this year.

In 2022, OSM’s community has three opportunities to grow stronger together: we must manage our technical operations more professionally, support a wider diversity of participants, and fix the financial and legal basics that make a resilient organization.

I’m a good candidate to help with each of these existing OSMF board goals. As a product and engineering leader in several organizations, I can help the Foundation succeed at finding and keeping great engineering talent. With my history on the community and business sides of OSM, I am experienced in making open data attractive to new community members and soliciting support from large organizations.


I’ve been a participant and mapper since the early days of OSM. At Stamen Design I led our participation in open mapping with a mix of early San Francisco mapping parties, paid clients, and experimental projects. Some, like Field Papers (presented as “Walking Papers” at SOTM 2009 in Amsterdam) helped OSM become a force in humanitarian mapping and have since matured into useful infrastructure. I’ve helped OSM US since its first conference in Atlanta in 2010 and served a term on the US Foundation board in 2012. Since joining the Facebook mapping team in 2018, I’ve focused my energy towards OSM’s sustainability to help the project succeed for an additional 17 years. OSM’s greatest strengths are its worldwide reach, open contribution model, and free license. Our greatest challenge is to deliver on the promise of a open project beyond OSM’s hobbyist roots.


The Foundation’s 2021 global community survey tells us exactly where the board needs to pay attention and spend energy, and my priorities as a candidate come directly from what the community tells us in that survey. I will focus my two-year term on good technology, diverse community, and a strong foundation.

  1. OSM’s technical stability is the #1 global community priority based on last winter’s global OSMF survey. OSM’s risks in this area change year by year: the board prioritized fundraising and hiring for site reliability and iD editor maintenance in 2020 but has not yet completed this work despite raising funds. I’ve contributed to OSM’s technical platform throughout the past year. I connected OpenStreetMap operations with a ~$1m/year donation of CDN resources from Fastly to better serve public demand for map tiles. I also worked with collaborators to make OSM website contributions easier for newcomers. My experience in supporting technology teams at commercial and non-profit organizations will improve the board’s ability to meet community needs.
  2. Improving OSM’s local community outreach is the #2 global community priority. The community has made major forward progress on this throughout 2021. An open Call To Action signed by hundreds of community members and dozens of organizations spurred OSMF to establish moderation guidelines governing the mailing lists. I’ve been a core member of the LCCWG subcommittee working on moderation guidelines throughout the year. We’re proud to have run an open and equitable process responsive to the desires of community participants searching for a more welcoming environment. As a board member I will ensure that moderation guidelines lead to a more equitable OSM with higher global participation.
  3. No other global community concerns come close to the top two. The distant 3rd spot occupied by takeover projection represents an opportunity for OSM to evolve its understanding of threats. Today’s biggest challenge for OSM is the project’s discomfort with new modes of participation. Instead of resisting change from imagined threats, the project must evolve to accommodate new worldwide mappers under new organizing models. Good technology and a diverse community will let OSM continue to provide critical infrastructure for humanitarian, hobbyist, and commercial participants worldwide. We also need a strong foundation to find and retain staff, run finances, and get good legal advice.


OpenStreetMap is one of just a handful of worldwide, street-scale maps, and the only one with free and open usage built into its core. OSM can succeed over commercial datasets and become the acknowledged leader in complete, easy-to-use maps of the entire world. It should be the yardstick against which all other maps are measured with ongoing participation from a community of volunteer, academic, humanitarian, government, and commercial map users.

Manifestos: Guillaume Rischard | Michal Migurski | Amanda McCann | Mikel Maron | Roland Olbricht | Bryan Housel

Amanda McCann

Hi, I'm Amanda McCann, I'm an current OSMF Board Member, and I'd like you to vote me №1 to re-elect me to the Board.

So who am I?

I'm a (craft) mapper. I've loved maps for a long time, and hence was drawn to OSM. I try to edit every day, and I'm doing pretty well that way. hdyc tells me I have mapped 2,700 days. For the last several years, I have mapped for 300+ days per year. I love the term “craft mapper”. I view my mapping contributors to OSM with pride, like a craftsperson of old would look at their work.

We must remember what's important. If you don't like maps, what are you even doing here? A board member that keeps mapping will be more aware of what most OSMers are experiencing, and will have insight into what is important, what's easy, what's hard, for lots of OSMers. That will make them a better OSMF Board members. OTOH I do lots of contributions which cannot be included in my OSM edit count.

I'm a hacker. I've been using linux for 15+ years. I'm a free software programmer. Computers & the internet are wonderful tools for the good in the world. We can use them to make our lives & our society better. You should be able to understand the computing machines around you, and to control them and make them better. In my day job I'm a regular sysadmin for the small OSM consultancy company Geofabrik, so I've installed lots of OpenStreetMap software & map styles. I'm pretty good at writing bash scripts, and I can write long PostgreSQL queries to work with your OSM data.

I'm a queer trans woman. I came out as trans & transitioned in mid-2021. (So you might see references to my old name, which started with “R”). Everyone in OSM has been wonderfully supportive about this. Honestly, it's surreal how anti-climactic it has been in the OSM space. OSM is pretty cool. I founded the RainbOSM telegram group, for LGBTQ+ people & allies in OSM. I guess sometimes OSMers can adjust to a new tagging scheme quickly.

I don't like “leadership” or “hierachy”. I think all OSMers are equal. While there are issues with the term “do-ocracy” in practice, the theory is very good. If you do the work, you have a right to decide how that work is done. If you don't do the work, you don't get to make decisions for other people. This is important for the OSMF Board. There are no legions of OSMF employees who will implement your clever policies. If you come up with an idea, you have to implement it yourself. Roll up your sleeves and do the work yourself, and organise with other OSMers to help you do things together. All well meaning OSMers should feel empowered to make OSM better.

The OSMF has a duty to “support the OSM project”. I view a board member's role like a gardener, or forester; caring for & tending to the garden/forest. But unable to “direct” it explicitly. I don't think you can tell a tree how to grow. OSMF should try to provide material support when needed (e.g. “hosting” SotM, which gives people a chance to talk about tagging issues, and hosting mailing lists for this discussion are 2 ways of doing that). A gardener has to weed the garden, and buy fertilizer. You can plant certain things, and see if they grow. That's how I view being on the board of directors.

I'm on the Communication Working Group, and am responsible for the OSM sticker programme. I also set up the En.OSM.Town Fediverse/Mastodon server.

I've been on the board for 2 years now. I've attended nearly every meeting we've had, and I've written 11,000 words on my OSM diary of what I do in OSM every month. I try to ensure the OSMF operates transparently, and properly by following our Rules of Order, and ensuring board members get a vote on things. I think this is good for the Foundation.

If you re-elect me, I'll keep doing that sort of work for OSMF. You can find me on twitter mastodon IRC (am{ap}anda on OFTC), a.mᵃᵖ.anda on Discord. If you want to talk anymore, just find me there.

Manifestos: Guillaume Rischard | Michal Migurski | Amanda McCann | Mikel Maron | Roland Olbricht | Bryan Housel

Mikel Maron

The OSM Foundation has made great progress in its support of the OSM community in the past two years, and I want to spend a final term helping consolidate this progress and setting up OSMF for sustainable operations in the years to come.

I have been involved in OSM since nearly the start of the project. It's more vital to the world than ever before. And personally, the experience of doing OSM around the world has been nothing short of amazing, and opened up many opportunities for me. I did not take the decision about running for another term lightly. After this I will definitively be termed out by limits. I concluded that it was important to contribute right now and ensure stability for OSMF.

The Board has overseen a lot of progress. We have excellent practice of surveying members and doing structured consultation on issues. We have a small but important group of people working in the Foundation on critical needs. Work is almost complete on guidelines for communication on our main mailing lists. Our finances are healthy. We've completed longstanding policy issues, and helped to revitalize several working groups.

My focus will be on fundraising, working closely with the Treasurer on the fundraising committee and aligned with the budgetting process. We are currently in good financial shape and will be for the foreseeable future. Yet we have taken on more necessary ongoing obligations, through the limited number of needed employees and contractors we have, as well as growing hardware requirements and community support. Given the value of OpenStreetMap to the world, the cost of supporting this work is minimal. OSMF needs to develop a diverse stream of funding sources, with a multiyear time line. After successfully fundraising over 250,000 EUR in 2020 to support our iD maintainer and SSRE roles, I have a good idea of how to achieve this, through a fundraising committee that closely tracks and plans for funding opportunities.

Additionally, I think it is vital to make OSM a good place for its small number of employees and contractors. We have a Personnel Committee that I take part in, where we set policies and practice for making sure our people are taken care of properly in their work. We expect folks working within the OSMF to be highly self directed and in communication with the community. This leaves the Personnel Committee's role to make sure the logistics of employment and contracts are handled well, that they're meeting their goals, and that any issues that arise get the back up they need.

The Board can not do everything OSMF needs, and individual Board members less so. It's vital to have focus, and I implore all current and future Board to choose areas to focus on and deliver good results. With 7 members, there is a lot of energy the Board can bring. It's vital to channel well.

We do need more help in the Foundation. For anyone interested, now is the right time to get started. I think the best approach to supporting volunteers is by individuals directly offering guidance and mentorship on the OSMF. Please reach out, I would love to build direct relationships with people who want to contribute more to the Foundation.

Thanks for reading! Happy to get additional questions in the community discussion and open to having a chat directly anytime.

Manifestos: Guillaume Rischard | Michal Migurski | Amanda McCann | Mikel Maron | Roland Olbricht | Bryan Housel

Roland Olbricht

About Me

I'm Roland Olbricht (drolbr). In OpenStreetMap, I'm best known for the Overpass API. I have developed it and maintain the public servers that are available now since more than nine years.

My largest mapping project so far has been to map and complete the about 1500 bus stops in my home city Wuppertal. For that purpose I have written (many years ago) the public_transport plugin for JOSM. Now my mapping interests are in particular on pedestrian routing, in particular for non-standard people like wheelchair users. Part of the challenge there is to figure out what is actually relevant to map, thus communication on top of surveying.

I'm Dr. rer. nat. since 2008 for my works in Pure Mathematics. Since October 2014 I'm a software developer at Mentz in Münster (Westfalen), Germany. My business account is drolbr_mdv.

My day job is developing software for public transport ticketing: It is quite common in Germany that dozens of operators cooperate to offer a uniform combined tariff to the passengers. Thus, dealing with multiple stakeholders with often conflicting interests is part of my day job. And even more: helping out customers whose tariff data turns out to be so full of faults that it needs to be sanitized or completely rewritten, although the customer is sure its data is perfect. This is always a communication challenge.

Beside living in Wuppertal, Münster, Frankfurt and Bonn in Germany, I have also spent four months in Grenoble in France. So I'll answer mails in German, French, and English.

About OSM

More important than my personal background is my understanding of OSM: There are many sources of free data, and geo data in particular.

The heart of OSM is thus the mapper community. The data structures in OSM are designed to facilitate peer review, i.e. the mapped data is not so much the physical world but the consent how to interpret it. The On-the-Ground-Principle ensures that it is as close to the physical world as useful.

It also means that we offer a virtual venue to communicate about general purpose geodata, and to help out people who want to get done something new or specific. It also means that it is a place where a developer can make a real difference by helpful software.

In addition, OSM offers fine grained general purpose geo data in a worldwide uniform format, and means to stay always up to date. Thus, we are attracting data consumers as long as we ensure that the mapper community maintains the map.

Mappers get their positive feedback from applications where they can see that their contribution makes a difference. This is a task often overlooked by data consumers:

  • Not all data consumers have the attribution as clear as we mappers require by the license.
  • Very few data consumers tell explicitly which tag structures they process and which not. We see this even within the project by disputes over the map style rules for the default map.
  • We are missing out many mappers, in particular from minorities, because there is no respective service that shows the data that really matters to the potential mappers.

Why Do I Candidate for the Board?

There are two competing paradigms about what the board should be:

  • The expert paradigm: The assumption is that the voters should elect the super-experts of OSM, and that those do not have to take too serious working groups because the board members were anyway greater experts. It were ok to have a hierarchy of informedness.
  • The trust paradigm: Voters should ensure that there are members on the board whom they trust that they represent their interests. Expert knowledge is more likely to indicate a conflict of interest than being a requirement.

I subscribe to the trust paradigm:

  • Keep the trust: The board's communication is only open enough if the community has no doubts left.
  • The experts are at working groups: The board will not override the (recent and conscious) decisions of active working groups. Beside working groups, reaching out for experts for ad hoc topics on the OSMF communication channels makes sense as well.
  • Sustainable funding: Assure that OSM will remain here and stay independent for many years ahead.

I'm confident that I can speak up for developers in the OSM ecosystem and for many of the subgroups of mappers, but I'm aware that interests are diverse enough that conciliation like in the iD case may also be required. I'm happy to help data consumers to understand mapper's needs and OSM intrinsics.

I do on purpose refrain from stating strategic goals. The active board of this year has started quite a number of initiatives. It is an act of good teamwork to let existing ideas flourish and getting things done within the trust paradigm instead of throwing in further ideas and completing none.

Manifestos: Guillaume Rischard | Michal Migurski | Amanda McCann | Mikel Maron | Roland Olbricht | Bryan Housel

Bryan Housel

Hello, I’m Bryan Housel, and I hope you will vote for me in this election.

OpenStreetMap has been important to me since around 2013, when I learned that editing a map was a thing that I - or anyone else - could do.

I switched careers to work full time on improving OpenStreetMap. I mapped all the things, and contributed to the iD editor as its primary maintainer from around 2014-2019. I told everyone who would listen that building a free and open map could improve the world. I served on the OSM-US board of directors in 2018-2019. I attended and helped plan conferences, meetups, and hackathons. I drove a car with Minh around Three Rivers, Michigan for 2 days to capture Mapillary imagery of the entire town. I worked with teams of people from other companies to ship a validator in iD.

People said and wrote awful things about me and I burnt out. I was fired from my job and tossed off the iD project last year, just as the pandemic started. I got a new job.

I’m still here, and I’m not leaving.

OpenStreetMap is really 2 things:
1. A tech project to build a database of geographic data that people can use to make maps.
2. A community of people who build and maintain that database.

In my opinion, the OpenStreetMap foundation has lost its focus on these two primary core functions.

The technical aspects of the project are - not ok. We experience issues with server downtime, lack of maintenance of core software, gaps in generation of core project outputs like planet files and replication diffs, and a lack of movement on initiatives like vector tiles. I’m not the only developer who has burnt out. Getting a pull request merged can take months, if it happens at all.

The community aspects of the project are - also not ok. Rudeness has become endemic in project spaces, people have lost their enthusiasm and drifted away from OSM, and we struggle to recruit volunteers and retain mappers. It’s become taxing to participate in changeset discussions, mailing lists, forums, and working groups.

Last year’s “Call to take Action and Confront Systemic Offensive Behavior” was circulated among the OpenStreetMap community and it marked a turning point for me, in that I felt for the first time in a while that hundreds of other people felt the way I did. We love this project, but it’s time for sensible reforms.

I worry that the project I fell in love with back in 2013 doesn’t exist anymore. But I’m willing to fight for it, and I hope to earn your vote.

OSM Foundation's board election 2021: official questions

All board candidates' manifestos

OSM Foundation's board election 2021 - OSM Foundation's Annual General Meeting 2021: information and agenda