Foundation/Local Chapters/United States/Working Groups/Marketing and Communication

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The Marketing and Communication Working Group will be OSM's communication channel to media and the public. Our job will be to support all of the organization's activities with public relations and marketing. This effort includes a wide range of activities where you can use your imagination and commitment to OSM to help raise its profile with media and the public.

We plan to meet formally about once a month at a time convenient for members. We'll meet more often if we have something big in the works, such as the 2011 SOTM.

Among our early activities will be:

  • Creating a list of media contacts, in the general press as well as in mapping, that we can target with press releases and invitations to OSM events.
  • Creating basic public relations materials, such as a one-sheet (a single sheet with basic facts about the organization and contacts), OSM history (mostly from the wiki) and definition of terms or an FAQ (what's a local chapter?)
  • Developing a marketing plan for the upcoming national and international events (We've got almost a year and we're going to need it!)

If you are interested in joining, please contact me or add your name to the list below. Come join us!

Charlotte Wolter
Skype: thetechlady

Yes, I'd like to join!


The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, December 15 at 12 noon Eastern Standard Time, 9 a.m. Pacific Standard Time, via Skype or phone. If you would like to participate, send your Skype user name or phone number to the chair at the email above.


  • Follow up on development of U.S. media mailing list. Ask members to obtain media names and email addresses in their areas of interest.
  • Follow up on idea of publicizing Projects of the Month and Projects of the Week. Review idea of giving feedback, technical feasibility, etc., and potential for sponsorships and/or contests.
  • Discuss potential marketing activities for State of the Map 2011 and the GeoBus project.
  • Press releases for important OSM-US events

Meeting Minutes – November 3, 2010, 12 p.m. EDT, 9 a.m. PDT Marketing and Communication Working Group

Present: Charlotte Wolter
Al Haraka
Steve Johnson

As this was the first meeting of the group, discussion centered around the organization of the group and the focus of its work.
1. There was a discussion about the structure and organization of the groups.
--the group agreed to meet twice a month on Wednesdays at the same time.
--As there are only three members at this time, the group agreed to be flexible if one member’s schedule amkes the unavailable at the regular time.
--Steve suggested the existing wiki page is best used for reporting discussions the group has had offline first and other members agreed.
--Charlotte suggested that meeting dates and times be posted on the wiki and that a copy of minutes be sent to the board, and that was agreed.
--Also the group agreed to use the Announce and US mailing lists to announce its projects as they are developed.
2. There was a discussion of how the Marketing Working Group’s activities relate to the larger OSM
–We discussed the ongoing efforts within OSM-US to refine the relationship with the larger OSM.
–Charlotte suggested that any written communication directed outside the OSM-US, such as press releases, be shown first to the board for approval.
3. The group discussed what kinds of activities the group should do.
–Steve suggested working on communication issues, such as tagging and how to do it best.
–Charlotte said that traditionally, internal practices and communication are not the province of marketing working groups. Also, issues such as how to tag would not be of interest to the general media or public. She said the group should focus on how to publicize the organization to the larger world.
–Al suggested that the abilities of the working group should be available to the larger organization to help improve the quality of communication materials.
–Steve agreed that, while outward-facing communication is the main work of the group, its resources should be available, for example, to help new users to have a better experience. To that end he would like to have Charlotte edit a handout his group in North Carolina uses for mapping parties.
–The group agreed to continue the discussion to identify and choose OSM US activities that should be publicized, such as the projects of the week and projects of the month, particularly if there is a newsworthy link, such as the Haiti project.
–The group agreed to choose two or three OSM US activities for PR outreach at its next meeting.
4. Development of media mailing list
–the group agreed to develop an OSM-US media mailing list.
–participants suggested several sources for contacts for the list, including the list used by the larger OSM and lists that members of the US chapter board may have.
–The group will create at least a beginning list at its next meeting, bringing together all the resources discussed.
5. There was a discussion of PR strategies.
--These include branding, which is designed to make the press simply more aware of the existence of OSM US and its activities. This can be accomplished with a steady, but not too frequent, stream of press releases, Charlotte said, as often as monthly.
–Another strategy is to link news about the organization to current events, such as Haiti
–A third is to promote the organization and its members as public speakers at both industry and general-public events. This often is done by setting up a speakers bureau of members who are good public speakers and able to attend events.
–All these strategies are practically cost-free.
6. The group agreed to meet again on Nov. 17

The meeting was adjourned at 9:45 a.m. PDT (12:45 p.m., EDT)

Meeting Minutes November 26, 2010 9:30 a.m.
1. Approved minutes of the Nov. 3, 2010 meeting with no changes

2. Discussion of media mailing list
–followed up on development of media mailing list.
–Steve suggested several geo media, including Directions Magazine, its editors Adena Schultzberg and Joe Francica, as well as the All Points blog
–Charlotte said she had begun a media mailing list database file and had several entries, including major newspapers (NY Times, Washington Post) and online publications that have covered OSM in the past.
--Steve suggested that the list be published on a Google Groups site, so everyone in the working group can make entries. Also, other docs could be posted there for possible editing, such as the materials for mapping parties.
–Al suggested publications, such as the Association of American Geographists’ publication and Professional Surveyor.
–Another suggestion was to approach the emergency response community through its publications
–Another possible target area is professional IT rags, such as Info Week
–There also are consumer mags for GPS and blogs in that area. There are movements toward user-created data, which is a very hot area.
–Steve, each of us has a notion or corner on different specialties. Lot of things like IRC channels, mailing lists, wikis. Could target these for other, more- routine communication.
–The group agreed to post the list on a private part of its Google Groups page and to continue to add to the list.

3. OSM Projects that should be marketed
–State of the Map (SOTM) 2011

Charlotte wrote a draft press release and sent to the board but no one replied. Charlote said the press release, and especially the “About” sections, which will be used over and over, need to get corrected and approved by someone in authority, namely the board. Steve said he would will get board members to look at it.

–GeoBus Project:

Members asked Steve what the GeoBus is. He explained that it was first conceived as an actual bus that would be equipped for mapping parties. It would tour the country, helping to set up mapping parties. It was proposed by Jim McAndrew at the US state of the Map. Steve said it was considered a good way to introduce new users to OSM, as well as ideal for rural development activity.

Since the initial proposal, the idea has changed. Considerations, such as insurance and maintenance are hurdles, as well as being where mapping parties are. The US is big. Then it was proposed to make flags and magnetic stickers that could be used by anyone organizing events. Now there is sentiment that the project work through local organizations, such as scouts, public libraries, the emergency response community, etc.

Charlotte said it seemed too early to put out a press release, because the group is still defining its activities. The marketing committee could help the GeoBus project fine-tune its documents. Steve uploaded existing documents to the working group’s Google group.

–Project of the Week and Project of the Month.

Al said Richard Weait is organizing the PoW and PoM project by himself and that his concern is whether people are checking the wiki. Charlotte said wikis are not good ways to publicize something.

Al said one issue is how to measure results. How does anyone know if someone added something because is project of the month. The group discussed how to measure results, whether or not it is possible, as something to spark interest in the PoWs and PoMs. Al said Richard has created a number of OSM tools, so we could startr with him and later ask Ian Dees. The group decided to approach Richard about helping him to publicize the projects. We could discuss giving feedback if he is interested.

The meeting was adjourned at 11 a.m.