State of the Map/Planning/Website

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The State of the Map website uses Jekyll as a static site generator and is hosted using GitHub Pages. The content is deliberately limited to just the essentials: key event details, program and links for sponsorship and the varies calls to action (e.g. call for scholars, call for session proposals). The site includes a form to sign up to the newsletter - we use this plus the OpenStreetMap Foundation blog for our announcements.

Skills required

For initial set-up it we require at least one person with good knowledge of HTML, CSS, Markdown and GitHub. It is also useful to have the support of someone experienced in creating good visual design (colour palettes, font selection, etc.).

On an ongoing basis it is worth retaining at least one person with HTML, Markdown, GitHub and basic CCS skills. For minor updates it is recommended to have an additional person capacble of making text updates using GitHub and the Markdown files (this is fairly easy to teach someone).

Choice of content

Prior to 2016 the State of the Map website was large: it included a "Latest News" style blog and a number of dedicated pages for content such as the program. RSS feeds were picked up by the OpenStreetMap feed aggregator ( and key information was replicated on the wiki, where the community could add their own content.

To reflect the changing nature in which people consume data a number of changes were implemented in 2016:

  • The website was scaled back to just key content. This reduces the pressure to maintain an active blog and makes the site look cleaner and more professional.
  • An email newsletter was established as a replacement to the blog/RSS feeds.
  • Major announcements are now made via the email newsletter and the main OpenStreetMap blog.

Choice of platform

State of the Map events up to and including 2012 used WordPress to host the website. For 2013 we switched to concrete5. Both these tools provided a platform for the blog-like content we were providing at the time.

Since 2016 we have used Jekyll as a static site generator with GitHub Pages to create and host the State of the Map website. This provides a number of advantages and disadvantages:


  • Free cost.
  • Free license (Jekyll uses the MIT License).
  • Allows for anyone to contribute.
  • Flexible (theming, content).
  • Same solution as State of the Map US uses.
  • Free HTTPS support for GitHub pages (Let’s Encrypt).


  • Requires more skill than a simple WYSIWYG platform like Wordpress.
  • Although edits can be made via GitHub online, in order to preview them you need to install Jekyll.