Foundation/Local Chapters/Requirements

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These requirements were inspired from the Wikimedia Foundation's requirements and guidelines for future Wikimedia chapters.


The mission of the organisation must be in line with the mission of the OpenStreetMap Foundation.

Whichever form an organisation wishing to be a chapter takes, it must have goals that echo those of the OpenStreetMap Foundation, and its activities should not stray from these tenets.

Geographical base

The chapter is geographically based/anchored in a legal jurisdiction.

Local chapters are entities which need a legal base. This implies that they must be anchored in a country/jurisdiction which offers them the base for their legal structure. This base should be in the region in which they wish to serve.

The preference is that local chapters should as much as possible be on a country-wide basis. But there may be exceptions granted for sub-national local chapters.


The chapter must have a legal structure/corporation that is legally independent from the OpenStreetMap Foundation.

Chapters are meant to give a real-life structure to projects that might arise from contributors or external parties in line with the goals of the OpenStreetMap Foundation. It is necessary that the legal structure chosen for the creation of a chapter is clearly independent from the OpenStreetMap Foundation.

Contributor involvement

The chapter must involve contributors to OpenStreetMap.

While chapters should welcome the input of people who are not active contributors to OpenStreetMap, they should not stay too far from the community. The active involvement of contributors to OpenStreetMap is necessary for a chapter to be able to bring real-life initiatives tied to OpenStreetMap to life.

However, it is crucial that each chapter remains an entity separate from the OpenStreetMap community. Chapters are independent organisations that group users of OpenStreetMap, regardless of their number of edits or roles within OpenStreetMap, as well as friends and supporters.

Founding a chapter with "only active contributors" is the wrong way to go. It is possible that people who are not active contributors will be interested in the real life commitment to OpenStreetMap that local chapters enable, while others who are active contributors will not see the necessity for a chapter. Make sure the balance is kept between who is part of the local chapter and who is not.

The OpenStreetMap project itself or a geographical subset of it will not be under the local chapter's remit. For example, OpenStreetMap Country X cannot control contribution or edits to OpenStreetMap project in country X.

Critical mass

The chapter must involve a critical mass of participants.

A chapter is usually a group of users getting together. For a chapter to be taken seriously, it needs a critical mass of people ready to involve themselves. One or two persons is definitely not enough. Ten to twenty active participants is more like it.

Membership organization

The chapter, when possible, should be a membership organization.

While not all legal systems and cultures allow for a membership organisation to be created, we strongly recommend that this model is at least investigated. Membership organisations usually include a board elected by the members, ensuring change and scalability (if a member of the board is not active any more, they can be replaced, for example). We are open to all other forms of association which might arise, but participative structures should be favored.

Non-profit status

The chapter, when possible, should be a non-profit organisation, or aim to become one.

Legal requirements to become a non-profit organization may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Some will be able to form a non-profit organisation to start with, others will have to go through a certain number of steps to acquire this status. The legal structure chosen should allow for non-profit status.