Google Summer of Code/2019/Organisation application

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This page contains the details submitted for Google Summer of Code 2019 as our organization application.


Public Profile


Website URL

Creating and distributing free geographic data for the world.

(Current logo, with "OpenStreetMap" text to the right)

Primary Open Source License
GNU General Public License version 2.0 (GPL-2.0)

Organization Category
Data and Databases

Technology Tags
javascript, ruby, java, c/c++

Topic Tags
gis, geoinformatics, maps, crowdsourcing, open data

Ideas List


Short Description
OpenStreetMap was started because most maps you think of as free have restrictions on their use, holding back people from using them in creative, productive, or unexpected ways.

Long Description
OpenStreetMap is a crowdsourcing project that creates and distributes free geographic data for the world. Our data is collected by volunteers around the globe largely from scratch and released with an open-content license. We allow free access not only to our map images, but all the underlying map data, which powers websites and apps used by billions of people worldwide.

OSM data can be freely used in both open and closed source software, and has attracted many commercial users. Still, the success of OSM wouldn't be possible without open source software and volunteer developers. The database, website and api running on our own servers, the editing tools used by contributors to improve the map, and many of the most popular libraries and end-user applications within the OSM software ecosystem are all open source software, and developed through a community-driven process.

As our Google Summer of Code participation spans this diverse set of software projects, most of which are maintained as independent efforts under the OSM umbrella, students will encounter a diverse range of programming languages, paradigms and use cases. We hope that we have interesting challenges to offer for any developer, no matter their background!


Application Instructions
We have made good experiences with students who introduced themselves to our community and their respective mentor in advance. It helps to get the student and mentor know to each other, to know if they can work together and to elaborate on the details expected for a specific project. This also improves the timeline that has to be provided by our students. Depending on the project or mentor, we might request a software prototype or to solve a small exercise to estimate the student's experience level and their ambition to work with us. We will publish an application template and instructions on [our GSoC 2019 wiki page](

Proposal Tags
api, josm, id, 3d/indoor, other

Contact Methods

IRC Channel

Mailing List

General Email


Twitter URL

Blog URL

Organization Application

Why does your org want to participate in Google Summer of Code?

We strongly believe that free-to-use geographical data is important for organizations as well as for individuals who want to use the data in creative ways. In many parts of the world, we have a healthy community of map data contributors by now, but at the same time, we're facing a relative shortage of programmers who are willing to experiment and implement many of the ideas that are floating around. As a result, a lot of the wealth of OpenStreetMap's data is hard to access for end users, and our contributors aren't working as efficiently as they could with better tools at their disposal. By getting motivated students involved in the project we hope to decrease this shortage and encourage them to become long time contributors to OpenStreetMap.

How many potential mentors have agreed to mentor this year?


How will you keep mentors engaged with their students?

Our plan is to choose mentors who are well known in our community, who are highly active and known for their reliability. Many members of our mentoring teams have successfully participated in GSoC as mentors or students before. We also try to balance the workload among our mentors, and tend to assign secondary mentors for each project, in order to avoid burdening mentors with too high a workload. In the past, this approach has worked well for us and there was no need for emergency measures. However, if there's still an unplanned occurrence or the student feels the mentor is not responsive enough the admins will try to provide the student with replacement mentor (which shouldn't be a problem as our community is big and we should have enough possible mentors).

How will you help your students stay on schedule to complete their projects?

We expect students to report to their mentor(s) at least weekly. These reports allow mentors to spot issues with scheduling, tech or student motivation at an early stage. In addition to direct communication with mentors, also for updates on public community channels (e.g. blogs or mailing lists). These updates are primarily intended to help with community involvement and to make sure students doesn't work in isolation, but they double as an additional means to keep track of student progress.

If a student misses a scheduled check-in, or if major issues are spotted, a mentor will try to get the student focused on the project again and understand what is distracting them. Typically, the student has become distracted with unplanned non-GSoC activities and we'll work with the student to refocus and come up with a new plan for a successful GSoC project. If we can't reach the student or if the student is unable to continue, we have no choice but to fail them at the next GSoC evaluation.

How will you get your students involved in your community during GSoC?

OpenStreetMap is a large community with several different communication channels. As people tend to stick to their preferred way of communication, we'll encourage any form of interaction, be it forum, blog, mailing lists, wiki, jabber or IRC. We'll require the student to report about their progress and experiences during the program at least weekly, in whatever way that suits them. As a team of mentors and admins, we'll also introduce the students to the community. Where possible, we also give preference to students that already have a connection with OSM in some way, even if it's usually as a data contributor ("mapper") rather than programmer.

How will you keep students involved with your community after GSoC?

As we try to incorporate the software into OpenStreetMap, the student will be rewarded with their software being in daily use. We hope this encourages the student to improve the project and maintain it for a long time. However, as there are enough open tasks and OpenStreetMap is a great project as a whole, we're also happy if they pick another task to work on, be it further software development or plain mapping.

Has your org been accepted as a mentor org in Google Summer of Code before?


Which years did your org participate in GSoC?

  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008

For each year your organization has participated, counts of successful and total students:

2018: 5/7, 
2017: 5/5, 
2016: 4/6, 
2015: 7/8, 
2014: 1/1 (via OSGeo), 
2013: 1/1 (via OSGeo), 
2012: 4/6, 
2011: 3/3, 
2010: 4/6, 
2009: ?/6, 
2008: ?/2 (the oldest stats have been lost)

If your org has applied for GSoC before but not been accepted, select the years:


If you are a new organization to GSoC, is there a Google employee or previously participating organization who will vouch for you? If so, please enter their name, contact email, and relationship to your organization. (optional)


What year was your project started?


Where does your source code live?

Anything else we should know (optional)?