Mapper in residence

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The project "Mapper in Residence" reproduces the experience "The Wikipedian in Residence".

The purpose it to host a volunteer collaborator of OpenStreetMap, in an organization that collects spatial data, in order to create a relationship between the free map of the world and the institution itself through data.

The interest around OpenStreetMap is increasingly growing and, very often, the desire to create a collaborative relationship arises from the institutions. The most frequent request is to see the data of the body present inside OpenStreetMap in order to use maps produced by the project that are always updated and distributed to be reused.

A more than legitimate request dictated by the convergence of energies towards the creation of a common good. Another request of some administrations is to monitor changes in data entered in OpenStreetMap, or data already present, to have an indication of the likely change in some territorial elements. This would be a practical application of the sensor citizen paradigm that some large bodies have already expressed. A variant of this is the initiation of mapping projects that somehow involve the OpenStreetMap community.

Tasks of the Mapper in Residence

know the active mappers in the area

OpenStreetMap contributors often work in isolation, and participate occasionally in coordination activities through mailing lists, wikis, chats, etc. The mapper in residence can play the role of trying to make contact with the people present in the area who have given at least one contribution compare the institution's data with those of OSM often institutions want to know how data is used once opened. Data entered into OpenStreetMap may change over time. The mutations are not only due to the addition, removal or modification of attributes but also to the geometry itself which, very often, from one point is transformed to become a multipolygon. These features also make sure that the comparison becomes almost impossible.

Along with knowing mappers in the region, it would be increasingly beneficial to know OpenStreeetMap organisations and work closely with them, such as the OSMF, it's local chapters, or similar entities.

train the staff of the body in order to be autonomous

the purpose of the mapper must be to not become indispensable at the end of the mandate

import respecting the rules

import rules are boring, tiring and expensive and often they lose enthusiasm. The mapper in residence must have clear how they work and be able to resolve the issue.

suggest support technologies based on OpenStreetMap

OSM is the basis of many online (and offline) services that can be reused by anyone. The task of the mapper in residence is also to suggest its reuse legal support

respect for the licenses

a mapper in residence must have the minimum legal skills to understand license and privacy violations in the publication of data


The mapper in residence is selected by the organization that wants to have this figure.

As pre-requisites it is suggested to have people who:

  • are contributors in OpenStreetMap
  • have the bases of GIS
  • have teaching skills (in order to transfer the knowledge to the hosting institution).

If the proposal of the mapper in residence is collected by several entities, the following scenarios are possible:

assignment of a tutor

it is a senior person who will help, remotely, one or more mappers in residence

training courses

training courses will be organized where the basic requirements of the mappers will be given in residence

Who can host a Mapper in Residence

The mapper in residence can be hosted by any institution in a period to be agreed. It is also possible to imagine scenarios for which a mapper in residence can operate on several entities working for short periods. Institutions are not necessarily cartographic offices or public administration offices.

Any legal entity that has georeferenced (or geo-referenced) data files and / or maps and wants to create a dialogue with the OpenStreetMap community can apply as host.


The activity of the mapper in residence should be remunerated by identifying a specific form of financing. For the italian people a suggestion is to use the voluntary civil service.