Talk:Foundation/AGM16/Election to Board

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Questions to OSMF board candidates

Here are a number of questions to the candidates for the OSMF board elections. In advance thanks to all candidates for standing for election and for answering questions. Please view these questions as a possibility to articulate your views on matters that might be important for OSM community members. And please state freely if you have not formed an opinion on a question or are unable to answer it based on your current knowledge. Please also feel encouraged to state if your position on a question is a firm conviction or if what you say is just an opinion. Also if English is not your native language and you feel you cannot properly express your ideas on a certain question in English feel free to answer in your native language.

It is probably best if you give your answers inline in a wiki discussion style but you are of course also free to integrate your answers into a general manifesto.

A request to those asking questions: Please be respectful in your tone and try to phrase questions in an open way without already implying a certain answer or trick questions which are superficially about something else than what you want to know. Also you should give enough context to your questions, possibly with links, so they can be understood by any interested community member and not just insiders familiar with the specific subject and by any candidate so both long term active members and newcomers have an equal chance of giving you an accurate and honest answer.

Your Activities as Mapper/Developer?

Please give me a short list of your contributions to OSM (both editing and programming). Have you edited using multiple OSM accounts which are not listed at Foundation/AGM15/Election_to_Board? Which OSM related software and websites do/did you develop? Please give me a short list and/or a link to your Github profile. --Nakaner (talk) 09:55, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

There are many ways to contribute to OSM outside of mapping and programming, for example holding talks, organizing meetups, participating in OSMF working groups, or writing books, blog entries or articles about OSM, all of which I've done at one point or another in the past. I've edited OSM mainly with my "woodpeck" account but I have a few others that I won't disclose for privacy reasons. I've hacked on various OSM things over the years - for example I have written the fantastic Perl re-implementation of Osmarender which I'm sure everyone still uses today. --Frederik Ramm (talk) 10:11, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

I'm in agreement with Frederik that there are many different ways to contribute to OSM other than mapping and programming. For example I've spoken about OSM at a variety of conferences, meet-ups, etc over the years. The most recent was I talked about OSM at the Royal Geographical Society in London and also spoke at State of the Map Asia. Other items I've done: I wrote the original specs for the HOT Tasking Manager, I contributed to LearnOSM, I've taught OSM at Universities in multiple countries (primarily the US and Indonesia), I've had calls with people interested in using OSM in their business and I've mentored for GSoC. I've also served on the Board of the OSMF for the past 3 years, which seems to have cut down on my actual mapping time. --Kate Chapman --Wonderchook (talk) 09:32, 24 November 2016 (UTC)

As mapper, I mapped (almost) all the forests in Belarus from Landsat, several cities in Belarus from aerial imagery. Coordinated clean-up and remapping of license-incompatible import in Babruisk. As developer, invented vector tiles for Kothic JS ( that later inspired Mapbox Vector Tiles, after lots of browser bugs were reported and fixed, unblocking technologies that we have now ( Created twms caching tile server that allowed landsat layer live a couple more years as part of ( Worked on MapCSS, the standard for map styling used by, Galileo, JOSM, Kothic/komap, pgmapcss and handful of other renderers. --Komяpa (talk) 22:38, 26 November 2016 (UTC)

It is dangerous that some current board members don't bother editing at all, or use anonymous accounts. How can they know what's best for the map if they don't help create the map, and how dedicated are they really to OSM? How can they be accountable if their edits are anonymous? It is important that board members should be mappers, and that their edits should be public.
I am first and foremost one of the mappers, mostly locally here in Luxembourg, but also in places around the world that I love and know. My github profile shows that I like to make small contributions to various projects. I have one OSM account, and plan on creating only one, non-anonymous, linked one to import open data in Luxembourg. --Stereo (talk) 13:45, 29 November 2016 (UTC)

Your Personal Business Involvement

Do you use OSM at work for business purposes? Do you earn money by developing OSM-related software/websites? Do you earn money by editing at OSM (also known as paid mapping)? --Nakaner (talk) 09:55, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

I am one of the founders and one of the current directors of Geofabrik, where I mostly sell tile, data extract, or server setup services and provide OSM consulting. Geofabrik hasn't ever done paid mapping but we might consider it if an interesting opportunity came up. --Frederik Ramm (talk) 10:14, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

I work for a non-profit called [Cadasta]( We use OSM as a basemap and they pay me a salary for working there, but I don't receive any specific profits for the success or failure of OSM. I do not earn money by editing OSM. --Wonderchook (talk) 09:34, 24 November 2016 (UTC)--Wonderchook (talk) 09:34, 24 November 2016 (UTC)

I earn money being GIS Engineer at [Juno]( I'm not forced to use OSM but do it as I like OSM more than other map providers. Lots of people around are fond of Google/TomTom, in fact, so I have to advocate for the OSM usage. I'm editing OSM when I see errors in it that break some of my workflows, but I'm not paid for this specifically. --Komяpa (talk) 22:43, 26 November 2016 (UTC)

In my work as a freelance IT consultant, I have sometimes earned money by making use of OSM. For example, in a recent project as the lead developer of the Open Data Portal for Luxembourg, I have created some reuses that showcase how easy it was to mix OSM and open data. One current client is using and editing OSM to map their transit routes, and I've developed custom OSM solutions for them. I've also offered to do QA mapping for them. All of these contracts have made OSM more visible, and improved the map. I see this as interests that are not in conflict: being personally invested in the success of OSM is a very good thing for a board member.

Being Paid By HOT or a Similar Organization

Please answer either question 1 or 2.

1. If you are paid by HOT or another organization from the field of humanitarian response and development aid, how can you ensure that you are independent from employer? --Nakaner (talk) 09:55, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

Personally I don't think I'd separate working for a humanitarian org vs a company. Though I suppose there can be some differences between the for-profit/non-profit world. I do work for [Cadasta]( which is a development organization. We build software to help communities document their land rights and use OSM as a basemap. The best anyone can do is try to recognize when they have a conflict. Though I think it is also important the board have its own checks and balances, since it really shouldn't be up to just the individual to determine if they have a conflict of interest. --Wonderchook (talk) 09:36, 24 November 2016 (UTC)

2. If you are paid by a company which uses OSM very much and is very interested in OSM, how can you ensure that you are independent from your employer's opinion? --Nakaner (talk) 09:55, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

I can't really be independent from my own opinion but I believe I have enough clarity of mind to recognize a conflict of interest when I see it, and then keep out of discussions/decisions on that matter. One example is the policy that OSMF has about the use of its tile servers, which could affect my business (if OSM forbids any commercial use of their servers, more people will have to buy tile services commercially; OTOH if OSM offers a paid tile plan, many customers would want to buy the "original" product instead of a third-party one) - I've completely kept out of these discussions. --Frederik Ramm (talk) 10:17, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

Our company can pull the switch and stop using OSM (and any other map provider) anytime without major impact on service. This allows me to separate myself from my employer. In fact I've changed a lot of workplaces (and discarded juicy offers) for the sake of it: OSM is my hobby, my job is about making spatial algorithms work, I use OSM in it because it is my choice, not my employer's. --Komяpa (talk) 22:47, 26 November 2016 (UTC)

You are asking whether I would have a conflict of interest, and, if yes, how I would mitigate it. As I wrote in your previous question, I have sometimes used OSM in my freelance consulting projects.
I will pledge four things that I think will help avoid and lessen any conflicts. I encourage my fellow candidates to join me in that pledge, and will encourage the OSMF board to adopt a code of ethics that would make this an obligation for all board members.
1. If a conflict of interest so important that it would be incompatible with a board position were to appear, I would remove that conflict.
I do not believe that I, of any board member candidates today, have such a fundamental conflict.
2. If I do any OSM-related work while on the OSMF board, even if not for profit, I will disclose my potential or actual conflicts of interests on the osmf-talk mailing list.
3. I will recuse myself from any OSMF board discussion or decision where such a conflict would exist.
4. If any situation appears where I could have benefited from an OSMF board decision, I would collaborate with auditors so that they can make sure that any decision that we took was, in fact, fair to the OSMF and to myself.
I welcome the "volunteer audit" that Frederik wants to introduce, and would like their potential role to be extended to making sure that conflicts of interests did not cause the board to take unfair decisions.

--Stereo (talk) 14:36, 29 November 2016 (UTC)

State of the Map

Aim of SotM

What should the aim of SotM conference be? SotM is the main conference and the only one directly organized by OSMF. What should the talks be about? Should SotM WG/program comittee give preference for one special range of topics or should they deal all topics equally? --Nakaner (talk) 09:55, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

Personally I want SotM to be a community conference where those who "heart" OSM meet and exchange ideas, views, best practices, and stories of their lives. I abhor the "bigger better faster more" metrics applied by some people who seem to think that a conference's "success" can be measured by how many people come. I think that 300 visitors is a manageable size but aiming for more runs a danger of actually degrading the value that the individual gets out of the conference; I'd rather have more regional conferences or more targeted ones in order to keep the size down. Especially as our community has a high proportion of geeks for whom it can already be a challenge to mingle with people at all. I like the "international exchange" aspect of SotM but if this leads to an ever bigger and more glamourous event then maybe it is time to re-think the "one big international conference" idea. --Frederik Ramm (talk) 16:56, 10 November 2016 (UTC)

I think SotM should be the "big" annual conference also supported by regional conferences. Many other communities like ours have their annual conference that many people plan around every year. I know it is impossible to meet everyone, but I think this allows for some cross cultural sharing. It is also possible to do this without degrading the conference. For example I attend []( most years which is around 800-1000 people and doesn't feel too overwhelming or too glamorous to be affordable. Many people plan it into their yearly travel schedule. Regarding talks I think they should cover a broad range of topics and the OSMF shouldn't necessarily dictate what those are. --Wonderchook (talk) 09:40, 24 November 2016 (UTC)

I think SotM is a glitter and isn't core of what OSMF is about, "It is dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free geospatial data and to providing geospatial data for anyone to use and share." (c) If someone wants to make it happen - fine. I'm not going to focus on it. --Komяpa (talk) 22:50, 26 November 2016 (UTC)

The SotM is a fantastic conference - I always come away from it with an inspiring sense of community, full of motivation and new ideas. The SotM should do what we can't do together through online communication or regional conferences : it's the perfect place to meet mappers from very different places, build the worldwide OSM community, and challenge our imaginations with the experience of mappers everywhere. Komяpa dismissing something a basic community building block that volunteers invest so much time in as "glitter" shows a sad lack of understanding. Try attending it once, you won't be disappointed :).

There is definitely a place for targeted and local conferences, and the OSMF should support any communities that want to come together. We have to be careful however not to segment our community: if, say, the HOT or the editors people have their own conference, we run the risk of losing the enormous value of an informal chat between them over a cup of coffee, or randomly attending a talk on a topic you're not familiar with.

Some people felt that this year's SotM was too humanitarian-centric, others welcomed it; some felt two tracks was too little, I thought that on the other hand it also encouraged exposure to unfamiliar topics and chatting outside of talks. It is hard to create a conference where every mapper feels represented. We should, in striking a balance, not loose focus of what's good for the map and the community. We must indeed allocate our weekend of time to maximise those first.

Sponsors are essential in running a conference, however I felt that future sponsor talks should be clearly indicated as such in the programme, and that talks by sponsors who don't do anything osm-related, or blatantly disrespect our licence, should not be accepted.

--Stereo (talk) 15:25, 29 November 2016 (UTC)

Scholarships – Source of Money

Who should pay the scholarships OSMF grants for SotM conference? --Nakaner (talk) 09:55, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

I'm a bit skeptical about the scholarships in general. With scholarships, the privileged people in power decide which lesser-privileged people to invite, and the selection mechanisms are not necessarily transparent. As someone who depends on a scholarship to be able to travel to SOTM, can you afford to speak out against OSMF or HOT, or should you rather keep quiet if something bothers you because that would diminish your chances of being considered? Is it possible that even though your application has merit, someone else will be preferred because he's from a "more interesting" country that increases diversity on paper? I don't have good answers to this problem but I think one key element is trying to keep SOTM participation affordable (i.e. keep ticket prices down) and try and arrange for ways for the community to help each other - so that people who don't want to stay in a hotel can sleep on a local community member's sofa, or in affordable temporary accommodation set up locally. This doesn't eliminate the need for travel grants altogether, but it would increase the chance of people being able to come to SOTM without having to apply for help (and ticking the conformity boxes that might be needed to be considered for a grant). --Frederik Ramm (talk) 17:24, 10 November 2016 (UTC)
I think scholarships are a great way for the community to cross-mingle. I've never received a scholarship myself for SotM, but I think it would be worth following up with previous participants to ask them how it has helped them contribute to OSM. Ideally the selection committee would have more transparent processes. One thing I've learned over the year with various scholarships I've been involved in is it is important to provide scholarships to current contributors rather than aspirational ones. I wonder about in the future if instead of overall scholarships we could give money to local chapters to determine how they would like to spend the money. Some have mentioned they would rather do something the entire community could enjoy instead of send one person to a conference, I don't think all agree. As someone who is privileged to be able to travel the world I am not so sure it is up to me to decide. --Wonderchook (talk) 09:43, 24 November 2016 (UTC)
The person willing to maintain scholarships should provide source of money for it. Otherwise there is no scholarships. If the proposed way is trickier than "here are the money" ("let's add 'buy two tickets at cost of one' option") it should be agreed with everyone involved into the trick. --Komяpa (talk) 22:54, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
The funding is provided by the OSMF, but the process for allocating scholarships is, I think, more important. The criteria for selection must be more transparent to guarantee fairness and inclusiveness — I couldn't even find them, or identify who took the decisions. A scholarship process like this can discourage talented applicants. We should measure outcome, not output: How many scholarships we gave out is important, but I care a lot more about what difference it made to the recipients, their projects and their communities.

Scholarships – Expenses per Recipient

How much money should each recipient get? --Nakaner (talk) 09:55, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

I think that needs to depend on where the conference is and the needs of the recipient. The cost for people to attend can really vary depending on distance away, if they need a visa, etc. --Wonderchook (talk) 09:44, 24 November 2016 (UTC)
I agree with Wonderchook and propose to vote for her because of that --Komяpa (talk) 22:55, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
We must look at the big picture: what are we trying to achieve? We want to spend our money to maximise benefits to the map and the community. If we spend that money on scholarships, we lose the opportunity to spend it on other things. Whether we pay pittances or kings' ransoms must depend on that, and making it depend on visa costs is putting the carriage before the horse. --Stereo (talk) 15:43, 29 November 2016 (UTC)

Schloarships – What to Do If Money Runs Out?

What would you do if you have only money to grant five scholarships but you have eight applicants who are worth to get a scholarship? --Nakaner (talk) 09:55, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

Rank the applicants best we could and give 5 scholarships. It is also important to ask people what they need to be able to attend. Sometimes it is just a free ticket, other times a flight or other costs. Dividing up the scholarship for 5 people among 8 can actually end up making it so nobody can go which isn't really the point. Other than that I might try to fund-raise for greater scholarship funds. --Wonderchook (talk) 09:46, 24 November 2016 (UTC)
I agree with Wonderchook and propose to vote for her --Komяpa (talk) 22:56, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
In addition to what Kate said, we could also consider sponsored scholarships. --Stereo (talk) 15:45, 29 November 2016 (UTC)

Trademark OpenStreetMap

Do you have any plans how to protect the trademark "OpenStreetMap"? What should OSMF do if a company uses a name starting with "OpenStreet", e.g. "OpenStreetView"? --Nakaner (talk) 09:55, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

The license working group is drafting a trademark policy which sounds good to me so far. I think the most important bit is protecting our name where confusion could arise, for example when someone releases a mobile app called "OpenStreetMap" and everyone then thinks it must be the "official" OSM software. Wherever possible I would like to ensure that the community can use the name without having to ask first. --Frederik Ramm (talk) 11:56, 9 November 2016 (UTC)
It is going to be difficult for us to protect our trademark for items that are only similar to us rather than directly our trademark. This is why you see lots of "without borders" or "sans frontieres" organizations. MSF can't protect that, but if someone started a similar humanitarian org providing medical relief they could do something. --Wonderchook (talk) 09:48, 24 November 2016 (UTC)
I plan to focus on infrastructure issues. I trust LWG on their judgement. --Komяpa (talk) 22:59, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
Trademark issues are a bit long for this section, and it is good that the LWG is considering them carefully. Our goal as OSMF should be to protect the map and the community by preventing a third party with dissimilar goals from using a name that looks too similar. --Stereo (talk) 15:51, 29 November 2016 (UTC)

Trademark State of the Map

OSMF has successfully registered "State of the Map" as a trademark. Should this right just be used to ensure that nobody uses "State of the Map" for non OSM-purposes? --Nakaner (talk) 09:55, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

In the long run, I would like to see any conference branding itself "State of the Map" to follow certain minimum standards set forth by OSMF, and perhaps also to contribute financially to OSMF. If someone runs their own private State of the Map conference and thereby reduces sponsorship income that OSMF could have generated for the OSMF conference, I think it's only fair that they hand over a part of their profit if they make any. At the same time I would like to see OSMF in a financially strong enough position to support such conferences by buffering some of the risk. But maybe this is a bit theoretical; anyone can still run their own private OSM conference and call it the "Crowd Mapping Days" or whatnot. --Frederik Ramm (talk) 12:02, 9 November 2016 (UTC)
Are people using "State of the Map" for non-OSM purposes? I agree with Frederik that there should be a minimum standard. For example everyone should be able to attend, one shouldn't have an "invite only" SotM or one that isn't primarily about OSM. --Wonderchook (talk) 09:49, 24 November 2016 (UTC)
I plan to focus on infrastructure issues. I think the above answers are good enough. --Komяpa (talk) 23:03, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
We must support local communities by allowing them to organise licensed SotMs, but be careful not to impose heavy-handed standards. I have seen communities shoot themselves in the foot by providing too little value, demanding too much money, demanding travel fees, and imposing standards that were not locally relevant. --Stereo (talk) 15:55, 29 November 2016 (UTC)

Third-Party Editor Policy

MAPS.ME has introduced an OSM editor into its maps application. This caused a lot of newbies editing OSM. That's not really a problem at all but MAPS.ME showed that a single bug or a wrong design decision can cause hundreds of changesets which have to be corrected or reverted.

Should OSM have a Third-Party Editor Policy which describes what we expect from developers of OSM editors? Editors which are hosted at or still used very much (this means Potlatch 1/2, iD, JOSM and Merkatoor) are excepted from this guideline because OSM community is already involved very much into their developement. --Nakaner (talk) 09:55, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

I think this is a good idea but I would perhaps not word it as a "policy" but rather as a recommendation. Most editor writers would probably be grateful if they received some tips from the community! Simon Poole had a nice talk at SOTM about common pitfalls in writing an "easy editor", or any editor at all. --Frederik Ramm (talk) 12:17, 9 November 2016 (UTC)
I think having guidelines makes sense, but perhaps not as strong as a policy. I think we want there to be new editors, iD wasn't always on for example. --Wonderchook (talk) 09:51, 24 November 2016 (UTC)
There are API usage guidelines and editing guidelines. How exactly editor is presenting it to users is up to editor - there are text-based level0, for instance. There were major bugs in JOSM (swapping lon/lat on upload) that led to some of its versions banned on OSM API. We should act not in a restrictive way but in a way that embraces better OpenStreetMap. So, we'd better prepare tools to fix the bad things that might happen (mass tag fixing if translation on UI was wrong, mass messaging to users asking to clarify what they meant if there's ambiguity in UI and ensuring they get and read the message, etc.) than just make "NO NEWBIES" quick judgement guidelines. --Komяpa (talk) 23:11, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
Simon's SotM talk was indeed very interesting. I think something more like a spec than a policy would help us support a better map through diversity in editors. --Stereo (talk) 15:59, 29 November 2016 (UTC)

"Editors which are hosted at or still used very much (this means Potlatch 1/2, iD, JOSM and Merkatoor);. JOSM is not hosted on, and only has a quarter the users of (Let's not even talk about Merkatoor or Potlatch 1!) --Rorym (talk) 16:46, 5 December 2016 (UTC) (not a candidate)

You Missed Your Connection

Imagine a train journey through a European country (e.g. Germany, Italy, France, UK, …) and at a station you missed the connection due to a delay of the first train. You have to wait two hours. The station has a station building which is open to the public and equipped with a waiting room, a café, a newspaper agent and a ticket shop. All these facilities are not closed. What will you do during the next two hours? --Nakaner (talk) 09:55, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

I will frantically search for alternatives that take me through small places on regional trains, arriving no earlier than if I had waited, but at least I would feel in control of my fate! If that fails then I'll buy a cup of tea and read a dead-tree-based book that I hopefully brought with me because all the opening times and whether or not the kiosk sells vegan milk have already been mapped in OSM. --Frederik Ramm (talk) 12:05, 9 November 2016 (UTC)
Depends on if I was traveling for work or pleasure. If I was traveling for work I would probably use the time to do some work, which is likely what I was planning to do on the train in the first place. If I was traveling for pleasure I would likely read a book. --Wonderchook (talk) 09:52, 24 November 2016 (UTC)
Will go outside. Will have a look at - if surroundings aren't well mapped, will map POIs. After that 15 minutes, will open my laptop, and, depending on presence of internet connection, will read some internet/papers/work-and-osm chats (there's by the way) or just writing up new thoughts I have. --Komяpa (talk) 23:19, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
A city I'm not familiar with? How lucky I am to have missed my connection. I will spend the two hours exploring the city, visiting the sights and monuments, try to find a nice cafe and chat with local people. I might miss my next train… --Stereo (talk) 16:02, 29 November 2016 (UTC)

Community involvement in OSMF matters

This is a variation of the question with the same title i asked in last year's elections.

During the last year OSMF membership numbers have decreased quite a bit and are generally on a very low level compared to the size of the OSM community. Also apart from that participation of of the OSM community in OSMF matters, for example in the working groups, is small. During previous board elections this has frequently been a subject but ideas of candidates to change this rarely had much effect.

What do you think of this matter? Do you have any specific ideas how improve this situation? What do you consider to be the role of the OSMF board in that regard?

--Imagico (talk) 19:47, 18 November 2016 (UTC)

Everyone on the current board, myself included, would like to see more involvement of the community in OSMF, and more involvement of OSMF members in overall matters of the organisation. My activities towards reaching that goal are, however, rather limited. I try to talk people into joining when I discuss OSMF, and in my DWG work I keep my eyes open for potential new members of the working group whom we then invite to join us. But I don't have a master plan. I myself joined the OSMF because I wanted to, not because someone "recruited" me. I hope we can make the OSMF a welcoming enough place so that many others will join because they want to. --Frederik Ramm (talk) 01:25, 24 November 2016 (UTC)

I try to recruit people to the board. In every talk I give about OSM these days I ask who in the audience is an OSMF member. At SotM-Asia this year I accepted cash for people to join the OSMF and then paypal'd the money for people. Most people who I ask about joining the OSMF that aren't interested feel like the org doesn't do much and there aren't that many benefits. I know we talked previously about doing a community survey, maybe it is time to try to get that going again. --Wonderchook (talk) 09:54, 24 November 2016 (UTC)

Currently OSMF isn't focused at their main goal ("It is dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free geospatial data and to providing geospatial data for anyone to use and share.") moving to attitude "you need tiles? go away!", and "you need vector? go to XAPI (~2008), JXAPI (~2011), Overpass (~2013), oh overpass stopped processing the /map queries? just get a large machine and chop the planet, oh no, don't even try to download planet in more than 4 threads per IP". We've failed to keep a lot of developers focused at OSMF future - they continued as Mapbox, Mapzen, Klokan and many other small mapping companies employees, having conflict of interests with OSMF - if OSMF is successful they will fail, so they don't _really_ want cool They have the veins (software/infrastructure), they need the blood (data). We need to change that to make OSMF membership more involved. --Komяpa (talk) 23:29, 26 November 2016 (UTC)

There has been little interaction between the OSMF and the mappers, which explains why the community cares little about it. Please see User:Stereo/2016_OSMF_Board_Elections_Manifesto#Representing_the_Mapper_Community my manifesto for my proposals. -- Stereo (talk) 05:15, 3 December 2016 (UTC)

Robot-, Armchair and Craft-Mapping + imports

The subject of robot mapping and its role in OSM has been a matter of quite some discussion in the past year (see here, here and here for example) and Armchair mapping and Imports are likewise subjects of conflict occasionally.

Please tell us about your personal experience with these different forms of mapping - as a mapper and map user. What do you think of these methods yourself and their role in the OSM project? What role do you think the OSMF should play in these matters?

--Imagico (talk) 19:47, 18 November 2016 (UTC)

I've done quite a few imports in the past, and armchair-mapped half a post-soviet country and all buildings in a medium-sized city in the US. But today I would actually prefer if everyone mapped only the area in which they live, or failing that, at least an area they know well or are visiting in person. I think that mapping in countries far away from your physical and cultural home bears many risks and should, with the potential exception of immediate emergencies, not be encouraged. The role of the OSMF in this is limited to defining a coarse enevlope for mapping activity (the "mission statement"). Personally I think that mapping by individuals who know what they're doing is the mainstay of OSM and while these individuals can use a broad array of tools when contributing to OSM (e.g. a tracer plugin in an editr), admitting fully machine-generated data is firmly outside that envelope. It simply doesn't give us an advantage over other map providers. If you can generate a map automatically for OSM, then Google can do the same 10 times faster. The unique selling point of OSM will always be its individual knowledgeable mappers, and if you degrade them to mechanical turks fixing the bits your image recognition has got wrong, they'll certainly not stay for long. --Frederik Ramm (talk) 01:42, 24 November 2016 (UTC)

I've done imports, done mapping and been places there imports take place. My home city Portland, Oregon had all the buildings imported last year. Personally I think it made the map much more usable and I was never going to get to digitizing all those buildings on my own. I think the OSMF shouldn't take a strong role in this other than supporting the policies which should be directed by community input. I think if people living in an area want an import to happen it should happen, though it shouldn't be forced on them. --Wonderchook (talk) 09:56, 24 November 2016 (UTC)

"Если не можешь остановить, возглавь". I think OSM project needs automated mapping to keep up with pace, and saying "we've got local knowledge Google haven't" is flawed - Google Maps already asks you a lot of questions about surroundings, having even better tag coverage per POI. Facebook asks you facts about places you've visited. OSM is no longer a single source of local knowledge - but it can become the home for joined open mapping initiatives, be they automated, mass-question-based or whatever the inventor of the way thinks is appropriate. Otherwise we'll end up separated into multiple independent uncorrelated datasets, doing the same job over and over. Personally I used to run a script (within bounds of Belarus) that fixed standard overlooks ("4КЖ" digitized as house number from a city plan when in fact it means "4-levels, concrete, residential", all-caps names and wrong order of words in street names, and similar things). --Komяpa (talk) 23:42, 26 November 2016 (UTC)

I understand the fears that imports hurt the community. In my experience, it's not the import that does that, it's a complete map. I'm lucky to live in a place where the map is pretty complete, and the effects on the community, and on the generations of mappers, have been very visible: the age of the explorers, who were tracing unknown motorways with their exotic GPS receivers, is long gone. The age of the builders, who traced rooflines from imagery, is coming to an end. The gardeners, planting small details with, have arrived, but it's a lot less fun.
So imports aren't necessarily a bad thing, but they're hard. We should showcase examples of good imports, and have better tools for conflation and import reviews. -- Stereo (talk) 05:26, 3 December 2016 (UTC)

Scope of the OSM database

How should OSM decide what objects and attributes are suitable or unsuitable to include in the database? Is it ever right to include or exclude anything by a top-down decision?--Andrew (talk) 20:17, 20 November 2016 (UTC)

Personally, have a lot of concrete ideas about what is suitable and what not: Anything not verifiable on the ground needs exceptional reasons for being included; and anything that is not "sustainable", i.e. where the average life time of the thing is likely to be much shorter than the time required for another mapper to pass by and notice the change, should also be avoided. But these are not necessarily things the OSMF should attempt to enforce ("support not control"). If one person adds stuff that another person wants removed, then the role of the OSMF should be to facilitate a consensus in the community, not decide the issue. --Frederik Ramm (talk) 01:50, 24 November 2016 (UTC)
Once again I agree with Frederik. Perhaps boundaries are an exception to this, though personally my work at Cadasta is meant to be a repository for boundary information so I'm a bit biased. --Wonderchook (talk) 09:58, 24 November 2016 (UTC)
Planet dump has a lifetime of a week, so as a rule of a thumb - if it lives for more than 2 dumps it's worth including into OSM. Some things like reference traffic speeds should probably not be mapped into tags but have their own live API developed. Pure fantasies shouldn't be mapped too. --Komяpa (talk) 23:49, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
It certainly isn't the OSMF's job to decide what's included, but once there is a wide consensus, the OSMF should support it. The current consensus seems to be things that can be verified on the ground and boundaries. We also tend to only map objects bigger than about 30cm. --Stereo (talk) 05:33, 3 December 2016 (UTC)

Diversity in the OSMF

In the last board elections there has for the first time been a fairly wide mix of candidates from all continents except Australia and Antarctica. The current OSMF board however consists exclusively of members from Europe and North America and so far in this election all candidates come from central Europe and the US.

What do you think of this situation and the potential reversal of the previous trend? Why, in your eyes, is the OSMF - in addition to being relatively unattractive to potential members in general apparently - even less attractive to people from outside Europe and North America?

--Imagico (talk) 12:31, 24 November 2016 (UTC)

I think geographic diversity is just one aspect of diversity. If I had to venture a guess as to why so far there isn't a wide mix of candidates, I'd suggest because only people from North America and Europe were elected last time. So it might not seem worth it to run. Recently I was doing some research on the board for a presentation and I found [this table]( If you notice there are only 2 people who have not been elected in a board election and then rerun. Most people either are elected or try one and then that is it. Regarding the diversity of the membership? I have ideas about why membership is mostly focused in North America and Europe, but I'd prefer to have this backed by data. I'd guess that one aspect is it is difficult to follow the on goings of the OSMF in English for many people, I also know of other people that are turned off by heated mailing list discussions, still others probably do not have an easy way to transfer money to join. These are just hunches.
Related to this topic of diversity I would also question: Why am I the only woman who has ever served an entire board term for the OSMF? Or generally why aren't more women involved in OSM or the OSMF? How can we increase this? If we look towards some communities in OSM such as Missing Maps they have often more women than men participating. Though some members of the community are disparaging of this type of contribution. This doesn't necessarily make people feel welcome and want to join the OSMF. --Wonderchook (talk) 12:55, 24 November 2016 (UTC)
Small correction: According to the table there have been four candidates who have re-run after a non-successful run: Simone, you, Marek and Peter. --Imagico (talk) 13:23, 24 November 2016 (UTC)
Is the following therefore true: "If you stand again after an unsuccesful run, you have a 75% chance of success"? --Frederik Ramm (talk) 00:23, 25 November 2016 (UTC)
Think you would have to consider my multiple times running and losing to get a fair statistic. Thanks for the correction, I was remembering people who have run and lost multiple times. --Wonderchook (talk) 07:55, 25 November 2016 (UTC)
I'm from Belarus. I was lately contacted by someone from Iran working on in-car navigation who needed my assistance. They can't have financial relations with the rest of the world, it was kind of true for Belarus too. You just can't PayPal, because you've got your own closed ecosystem. English isn't that popular outside EU&NA. So you either start reinventing the wheel (there's Board of OSM Russia that isn't legal entity but was made as a contact point, that I'm part of), or wait until your English becomes good enough you can understand those native British on IRC without having to recheck everything including typos on Google Translate twice. Only lately there started to be a translation of WeeklyOSM into Russian, thanks to translation team - until you've got those bridges built, there's a gap between communities. --Komяpa (talk) 00:00, 27 November 2016 (UTC)

OpenStreetMap’s web support infrastructure

OSM has various web support pages such as notes, changeset discussions, user diaries, the forum, mailing lists, the help forum, this wiki and many more. How would you make sure that these channels are maintained as a help rather than a hindrance?--Andrew (talk) 20:43, 25 November 2016 (UTC)

I don't think that it is within the powers or the mandate of the OSMF board to provide help to OSM users or mappers. This is something that the wider OSM community must do, and the various avenues you have mentioned are used by different community members who feel at home in that particular medium to provide help - or provide hindrance when hindrance is called for, because often enough people ask "how can I do X" where X is something that we wouldn't generally accept in OSM. I think the OSMF can step in when any of these media malfunction badly; most of the channels you mention actually have moderators or admins that feel responsible for keeping the peace, weeding out unsolicited advertising or other things. --Woodpeck (talk) 21:37, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
As I plan to concentrate on infrastructure, I think we need to make a fill graph on how the information goes from one's fingertips to another's eyeballs. Is it really connected? Can user without mail notifications enabled ever know he has a new comment on changeset? Can someone filling a tag in JOSM jump to wiki description of it? Will the wiki page of a city contain a list of notes in it? We've got friendships - isn't it time to make a social-network like news feed with newest notes and changesets to review in the area user is living in, with diary and forum posts mixed in? --Komяpa (talk) 00:07, 27 November 2016 (UTC)
I think these areas aren't necessarily within the mandate of the board. We can certainly support people who are interested in working on this though. If for example it would help to bring software devs together to work on adding more social to the OSM website that is a possibility. I would not be against paying people to add specific features if funding and desire was there either. Though I think these sorts of requests should come from the working groups or even members of the community with a clear plan. --Wonderchook (talk) 18:01, 27 November 2016 (UTC)

Opinions on the share-alike aspect of the OSM licence

The current OSM licence, the ODbL, has a "share alike" aspect for the derived databases. Some people want that removed. What's your opinions on the share alike part of the licence? The OSM Contributor Terms the community can change the licence with a vote of the OSMF membership (and active OSM contributors). If there was a licence change vote to remove the share alike part of the licence, how would you vote? --Rorym (talk) 16:24, 5 December 2016 (UTC)

Share Alike is not a showstopper for most of the projects, so I think there's no strict necessity for license change. Personally, I've ticked "Also consider all my contributions Public Domain" in OpenStreetMap profile. There is probably a place for compromises, where OSMF can release planet.osm dump cleaned up from all the data created by Share-Alike users the same way it was removed by redaction process on previous license change, without changing the main database. --Komяpa (talk) 16:48, 5 December 2016 (UTC)
I've seen share alike be a blocker in the United States. Since the US has a history of public domain related to much federal government data ODbL ends up being an issue. Not so much in OSM using US government data, but in government contributing to and using OSM information. This has been also an issue with some non-profits, but I think sometimes education about share alike is sufficient in those cases. Personally I think there was a time when share alike was important for the sustainability of the project, but I don't think that is the case now. However the license change was a quite painful time for OSM and I don't think that pain would be worth it simply to change the license based on a "gut feeling" I have. As an OSMF board member I would support a license change process only if the majority of the community was in favor of it, it isn't something I would push as my agenda on the board. --Wonderchook (talk) 20:05, 5 December 2016 (UTC)

Favorite thing to map?

Many of us have particular things we like mapping. Despite the name (OpenStreetMap), OSM is more than just roads. Is there anything you particularly like mapping? Even if it's not wildly popular? Or do you map mostly roads and stuff? --Rorym (talk) 16:50, 5 December 2016 (UTC)

I was one of the first adopters of Simple 3D buildings mapping (, making an isometric renderer for it (pure SQL/PostGIS/Mapnik). I'm also into low-zoom mapping - once had a two-month marathon of mapping just forests in Belarus, using then-available Yahoo. --Komяpa (talk) 08:49, 6 December 2016 (UTC)