State Of The Map U.S. 2010/About

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About OSM

What? - OpenStreetMap is a collaborative, wiki-like project to create geographic data and maps, free of copyright and other restrictions that come with other map sources.

How? - Map data is created, though on-the-ground mapping with GPS devices along with low-tech techniques, as well as tracing from public domain or suitably licensed satellite and aerial imagery, and through data imports from public domain sources (e.g. U.S. Federal government) or with proper permission (similar to Creative Commons) from other data providers.

Who? - Anyone is welcome to edit and contribute to OpenStreetMap. We encourage mapping to be done collaboratively, building a community of mappers. Local, informal groups of OpenStreetMap participants have formed, such as the MappingDC group ( They organize "mapping parties", which are OpenStreetMap versions of meetups and mapping events. MappingDC has also worked with the DC government on import of DC's GIS data into OpenStreetMap, and other data imports have been done.

MappingDC members are working with others around the U.S. towards forming a U.S. chapter of the OpenStreetMap Foundation (which is based in the U.K.). The chapter will be able to facilitate donations of equipment (e.g. GPS devices), import of data (from governments), and do education and outreach about mapping.

Why hold a conference?

Each year, there is a big, international OpenStreetMap conference (State of the Map), which has been held in Europe where the OpenStreetMap community is much larger. The MappingDC and U.S. chapter want to hold a U.S. OpenStreetMap community, for a few reasons:

  1. bring U.S. OpenStreetMap community together, and foster increased collaboration
  2. outreach to educate and raise awareness in local communities about OpenStreetMap; particular opportunities exist to involve university students in OpenStreetMap, including mapping events, where they can learn about spatial data, improve their technical and information management skills, improve collaboration and project skills, and more.
  3. we also wish to reach out to the government community in DC, and by holding a conference, following (or prior to) the Gov 2.0 Expo, we aim to draw participants from governments beyond the DC area.

With increased interest in open government, at the Federal, state and local levels, there is increased interest in making such mapping data available for the public, with fewer restrictions. OpenStreetMap is a good way for them to do that, leveraging crowdsourcing to help governments keep data updated, add details like accessibility information, improve ability to access multi-jurisdictional data, among other benefits.

When? - Our preference is to hold the conference right after the Gov 2.0 Expo, such as on May 28-29 or perhaps before the Gov 2.0 Expo. Though, if these dates are problematic for the venue, then we would be open to other options.

How many? and conference format - We expect to have 100-200 participants for the conference. Probably an auditorium size of ~160 seated would work, as if some need to stand, that's okay. Then, we would need some breakout rooms for smaller sessions. We aim to have the conference in a format that is partly an unconference (with lightning talks) along with scheduled sessions and invited speakers, like a traditional conference.