Foundation/Local Chapters

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For contacting locals, see Press Contacts.
For contacting local teams, see OSM User Groups.
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Local Chapters are country-level or region-level not-for-profit legal entities representing the area's map and mappers when dealing with local government, business, and media, established with the OpenStreetMap Foundation (OSMF), giving them a link to the legal and copyright governing body.

Description

Local chapters are normally based on geographic area, usually a country, but it could be for several countries together or a part of a country if appropriate. The chapter is encouraged to form as an official legal entity within their country's jurisdiction: a non-profit; a charity; a Community Interest Company. This can provide legitimacy, an entity to handle money matters, and longevity. This is more easily done in some countries than others. Local chapters can be existing organisations or they can be new organisations specifically established as a Local Chapter of the OSMF.

The OSMF Wiki Local Chapters page contains information from the OSMF on established chapters and how to become one. This is best place to visit for that purpose for up-to-date information.

There are a number of unaffiliated local groups to which you are free to add to.

Legal

Local chapters are separate legal entities from the OSMF. The clear separation of local chapters from OSMF makes legal matters simpler:

  • Changes to bylaws etc. can be done independently
  • Nobody can sue a Local Chapter for something on the openstreetmap.org website, because this website is owned by OSMF.

Financial

Local chapters and the OSMF are separate legal entities with their own sources of income like membership fees and donations and decide on their own what to do with their money. There is no flow of money from local chapters to OSMF or vice versa. This is important because of legal rules governing non-profits in different countries.

Generally local chapters are required to stand on their own financially. Of course the OSMF can pay money to local chapters if the board of directors decides to do so. In some countries it is rather expensive to incorporate an organisation (legal fees for lawyers, public notaries, etc.). It might be difficult to get the money together. Please contact the Local Chapters and Communities Working Group if this is the case.

In specific cases local chapters can pay money to OSMF to help with funding servers etc. Because this might be difficult due of tax laws (especially if the local chapter is formally recognised as non-profit), other ways of helping out can be found, such as buying and running a server locally.

History

The original proposal for regional chapters was made in late 2008. Since then the idea has been developed by the Foundation by the Local Chapters Working Group.

There was an ad hoc meeting at State Of The Map 2009 to discuss the issue of local chapters further. About 20 people from many different countries attended this meeting. Several issues were raised with the draft agreement leading to a rough consensus that a more open association would be easier to achieve because of legal problems with close ties between organisations in different countries. Instead of going on from the existing draft agreement, we should first reach consensus on the important issues on this wiki page and later draft the legal agreement.

Local Chapters and Communities Working Group

The Local Chapters and Communities Working Group (LCCWG) was formed in November 2019. It is the successor to the Local Chapters Working Group. Visit the Local Chapters and Communities Working Group on the OpenStreetMap Foundation website for more information on this working group.

You may subscribe to the "local-chapters" mailing list.

Meetings

The LCCWG regularly meets every month and is held remotely via Mumble unless otherwise specified within the meeting announcement. Anybody is free to join the meeting! See the Mumble page on the OSM Wiki for instructions on how to connect. By default, the working group uses the OSMF/LCWG channel of the HOT Mumble server.

2020
20 January minutes
2019
12 November minutes
09 October minutes
03 September minutes
2018
30 Jul. OSM local chapters and OSM Foundation meet up during SotM 2018 (related post)
2017
20 Aug. Congress during SotM 2017
2016
17 Apr. Congress during SotM 2016
2014
03 Aug. Minutes (draft)
2013
27 Nov. Minutes
20 Sep. Minutes
21 Mar. Minutes
2011
19 Apr. Minutes
06 Apr. Minutes
16 Mar. Minutes
2010
12 Feb. Notes (draft)
29 Jan. Notes
2009
17 Dec. Notes
10 Dec. Notes
04 Sep. Minutes
24 Aug. Agenda
17 Aug. Minutes

Annual Local Chapters Congress

Now a regular feature of the international State of the Map conference, the local chapters meet at a "Local Chapters Congress" session. An overview of past congresses can be found here. There was no congress during the 2020 State of the Map, but it is being organized separately

Why establish with the OSMF?

OSMF wants to support the OpenStreetMap project (and other free mapping projects, where applicable) in the whole world. But it cannot be everywhere and reach everybody, especially people speaking languages other than English. Local chapters can extend the reach of OSMF, foster local communities, help with legal and financial matters in their respective countries and generally promote OSM in their local areas.

Some of these goals (such as handling financial matters or providing a point of contact for government or media) can also be handled by totally independent organisations supporting OSM but not associated with OSMF in any way. But working together helps OSM and makes it clear that we are all part of the same community.

Benefits to local chapters

As an OSMF Local Chapter an organisation can:

  • Use the name and logo of the OSM Foundation to promote themselves on their website, through the media and on promotional material.
  • Receive donations, funding or other resources based on their affiliation to OSM

An OSMF Local Chapter cannot:

  • Represent itself as an official legal representative of the OSMF
  • Expect any resources, such as servers, domain names from the OSMF (except by special agreement)

Benefits to OSM Foundation

The goal of the OpenStreetMap Foundation is to encourage the growth, development and distribution of free geospatial data and to provide geospatial data for anybody to use and share. OSMF Local Chapters help the Foundation achieve this goal amongst a far greater number of people.

  • OSMF Local Chapters heighten the visibility of OSM and OSMF in their countries.
  • OSMF has a legal entity that they can delegate local issues to (by mutual agreement).

Advisory board

Each OSMF Local Chapter can have a representative on the Advisory Board, that the OSMF board of directors can consult.

Established Local Chapters

The OSMF Wiki Local Chapters page contains the information from the OSMF about Local Chapters.

Country/Region Status Website(s)
& Wiki page
# of members Contact person(s) Comments
Africa
Asia and Oceania
Europe
Belgium Working Group openstreetmap.be
(en, fr, nl)
20 Ben Abelshausen Working group within the local Open Knowledge Belgium chapter, but with separate bylaws, membership and board.
Czech Republic Incorporated openstreetmap.cz
Cs:spolek OSMCZ
~20 Tomáš Kašpárek
spolek, “ат”openstreetmap.cz
An NGO founded in 2018 and accepted as a local chapter in 2020.
France Incorporated openstreetmap.fr
WikiProject France/OSM-FR
~150 Christian Quest A non-profit membership association was founded on 2011-08-10, and its name is "Association OpenStreetMap France". Local Chapter region of interest: France (including Corsica, and overseas departments and collectivities).
Germany Incorporated openstreetmap.de,
fossgis.de (wiki),
FOSSGIS
>200 Frederik Ramm (board),
Michael Reichert (OSM coordinator at FOSSGIS),
Christoph Hormann (advisory board representative)
The FOSSGIS e.V. (Verein zur Förderung Freier (und) Open Source Software (für) Geoinformationssysteme e.V.) supports both Free and Open Source GIS Software and Open Geodata in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and is now an official local chapter of the OSMF for Germany.
Iceland Incorporated hlidskjalf.is Jóhannes Birgir Jensson A non-governmental organization was founded on 2013-10-24 as "Hliðskjálf, félag um opin og frjáls landupplýsingagögn". The name chosen for referencing the chapter is "OpenStreetMap á Íslandi".
Ireland Incorporated openstreetmap.ie ~30 Anne-Karoline Distel
Ciarán Staunton
Dermot McNally
Donal Hunt
Heikki Vesanto
Richard Cantwell
Tadeus Cantwell

board-AT-openstreetmap.ie
OSM Ireland covers the whole of the island of Ireland. Northern Ireland is included in OSM IRL & OSM UK.
Italy Incorporated wikimedia.it
Local chapter/OpenStreetMap Italia
450 Lorenzo Losa, Alessandro Sarretta Wikimedia Italia / OpenStreetMap Italia is a chapter of both Wikimedia Foundation and OpenStreetMap Foundation.
Switzerland Incorporated sosm.ch
Swiss OSM Association
44 Simon Poole The organisation is a Swiss association. Formal registration with a trade registry is not necessary at this point in time, we will probably delay that till we see how much interest there is in the organisation. Bylaws etc are on the association website.
United Kingdom Incorporated osmuk.org
OSMUK
83 Rob Nickerson OpenStreetMap United Kingdom is a Community Interest Company. Local Chapter region of interest: United Kingdom, and the British Crown dependencies (the Isle of Man, and the former Channel Islands: Jersey and Guernsey). Northern Ireland is included in OSM IRL & OSM UK.
North America
United States Incorporated openstreetmap.us
OSMUS
Maggie Cawley OpenStreetMap U.S. is a 501(c)(3) organization serving the United States. OSMUS was founded in 2010 and gained recognition as a local chapter in 2020.
South America

Unaffiliated local groups

The groups on this list are not (yet?) established with the OSMF.

Country/Region Status Website(s) # of members Contact person(s) Comments
Africa
Congo-Kinshasa (DRC) Forming a legal entity openstreetmap.cd Claire Halleux Registration process started in 2017 with the financial support of a HOT microgrant.
Ethiopia Early discussion openstreetmap.org.et Alexm Alexm made openstreetmap.org.et and tries community building - but no legal local-chapter-efforts are undertaken yet (and the OSM community in Ethiopia is still way to small...). Maybe a sub-sahara-local-chapter?
Ghana osmghana.org
Asia and Oceania
Oceania Incorporated https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Oceania 99 User:Aharvey Application to OSMF in progress https://wiki.osmfoundation.org/wiki/Local_Chapters/Applications/Oceania
Japan Incorporated openstreetmap.jp,
osmf.jp
19 User:Miurahr The Japanese OSM community has incorporated (2010-12-24) an association "一般社団法人" (ippan-shadan-hōjin), named "OpenStreetMap Foundation Japan". In Japanese this is written as "一般社団法人オープンストリートマップ・ファウンデーション・ジャパン".
Philippines Incorporated openstreetmap.org.ph 5 Eugene Alvin Villar (seav) OpenStreetMap Philippines Inc. is now a duly-recognized non-profit membership-based organization registered with the SEC.
Taiwan (Rep. of China) Early discussion openstreetmap.tw 250 Dongpo Deng OpenStreetMap Taiwan is trying to be a registered group in Taiwan. So far, there are only some discussions for how and what should to do be a non profit organization..
Europe
Austria Incorporated openstreetmap.at /ScubbX Non-profit organisation (Verein "OpenStreetMap Austria") registered 21-Oct-2010, ZVR # 982950065
Estonia Incorporated openstreetmap.ee 10 Jaak Laineste Jaak Laineste is the contact. Local non-profit organization MTÜ Avatud Maakaardi Selts founded in 27.08.2009
Poland Incorporated openstreetmap.org.pl 55 Andrew Zaborowski An non-profit membership association was registered in May 2011 as "Stowarzyszenie OpenStreetMap Polska".
Russia Old discussion 14 (proposal) RU:Совет Российского OSM was active during 2012
Slovakia NGO freemap.sk 15 User:MichalP NGO Freemap Slovakia focused on OSM activities in Slovakia since 2011.
Spain Incorporated openstreetmap.es 9 Ivansanchez A non-for-profit entity has been incorporated as "Asociación OpenStreetMap España".
North America
Canada Discussion to be incorporated osmcanada.ca Matthew Darwin Planning to create a non profit corporation.
Cuba Early discussion Jorge L. Batista (PB) Foundation/Local Chapters/Cuba
South America
Argentina Incorporated geolibres.org.ar Gonzalo Perez Geolibres was formed in 2019 for the legal representation of the local OSM, GeoChicas

and Geoinquietos (OSGeo chapter) communities

Chile Incorporated openstreetmap.cl Julio Costa Zambelli The "Fundación OpenStreetMap Chile" is a non-profit organization registered in Santiago in June 2013.
Peru Early discussion 15 Jorge Canal

Other organisations with local chapters

Some other worldwide organisations are in similar situations as OSM and it might be instructive to see how they have gone about the forming of local chapters: