Talk:Foundation/Local Chapters/United States

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OpenStreetMap US is not a local chapter of the OSMF and has never been one, how on earth did the obviously completely false statement ever got put on the page? SimonPoole (talk) 11:29, 4 January 2019 (UTC)

Why is this page named Foundation/Local Chapters/United States. This is misleading. --Tigerfell This user is member of the wiki team of OSM (Let's talk) 21:49, 20 August 2019 (UTC)
I don't remember the exact history, but I imagine the page was created following convention from other fledgling local chapters like Australia (which seems to be original copy/pasted source of the US page) and Cuba. As the years went on, no one really seemed to mind the page sitting here. Do you have a suggestion for a new name? Yellowbkpk (talk)
Also, I should note that OpenStreetMap US is presently in the process of becoming an OSM Foundation Local Chapter. Yellowbkpk (talk) 14:54, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
I would have suggested OpenStreetMap U.S., but if they are going to become a member anyway I do not see a point in moving the page. --Tigerfell This user is member of the wiki team of OSM (Let's talk) 18:24, 22 August 2019 (UTC)

Mission Statement Discussion

This is copied from the Talk-US mailing list:

from Serge Wroclawski <[EMAIL REDACTED]>

As many of you know, we're working on forming a US chapter of OSM.

To that end, we've been having conference calls Monday evenings:

And one open issue has been the mission statement.

We'd like to have an open ended discussion of what people feel the mission statement should be.

I'm sure people have thoughts on this issue, so let em rip.

- Serge


Well, since no one has made a stab at this yet, I went ahead and did some research on mission statements in general, and OSMF's mission statement.

Mission Statement: [US OSMF] is dedicated to improving the availability, quantity and accuracy of open-sourced cartographic information in the United States, its territories, protectorates and possessions.

Vision Statement: To achieve this goal, [US OSMF] seeks to:

   * Promote public awareness of the Open Street Map.
   * Locate and secure freely-available public access to useful mapping data.
   * Function as a US Not-for-profit Corporation to handle any copyright and liability issues that may arise.
   * Serve as a point of contact with individuals, corporations, and government entities for securing data, equipment and funding for OSM-related activities.
   * Interact with the international Open Street Map Foundation to promote the issues and concerns of OSM users in the United States.

Anyone else have ideas? DiverCTH [REDACTED]

Sam Vekemans

Actually, i was wondering with the context of the mission statement. (but thats fine, if thats needed to define that the US is) OSM's job is to map it all, and list what local people call it.

Might i recommend adding a mandate to: Maintain & ensure quality with the USA community specific standards, and render the default map to be stylized to US-standards ie. All labels to be english, a custom map key to list the way you understand the meaning of 'freeway' and 'forest' ...etc.

As well as design and maintain & develope the page layout to the way that the US chapter likes it to be.

Imo, the OSMF decides the page layout and what default map (and what other maps) to display on is/are. So thats something tangable :-)

cheers, Sam

Serge Wroclawski to talk-us Nov 28

Chris, great start!

My .02 on the issue of territories, protectorates, etc.issue is that we don't need to limit the organization's mapping mandate to the US. I'd say the goal of US OSM is the same as the goal of OSM in general, which is to map the entire world.

One other bullet point would be (in my mind) to work with local groups to help them with their local mapping activity.

For example, in DC we've running mapping events about once a month, and it would be nice if a national organization could help us with procuring resources to help in the effort (GPSes, for example).

This is one of the key differences in my mind between US OSM and some of the other OSM groups around the world. The US is both geographically large and has a relatively high population. The number of participants in OSM from any one city that's heavily involved in mapping could constitute an OSM chapter elsewhere- so the US OSM chapter structure needs to work in service to these local groups.

The DC folks briefly considered becoming an OSM chapter on our own before deciding to push for the national chapter. I'm hoping that through this process we can create an organizational structure that can give the local groups the benefits we were looking for without the same level of formal paperwork that a non-profit demands.

Really awesome start!

Richard Welty to talk-us Nov 28

On 11/28/09 6:40 AM, Serge Wroclawski wrote: > Chris, great start! > > My .02 on the issue of territories, protectorates, etc.issue is that > we don't need to limit the organization's mapping mandate to the US. > I'd say the goal of US OSM is the same as the goal of OSM in general, > which is to map the entire world. > yes, that's an excellent point.

is this group to be

1) an organization of US based mappers


2) an organization devoted to mapping the US

i had thought it was to be 1), and would naturally tend to mostly be about 2), but there's no reason to write that restriction into the mission statement.


[P.S.] by which i mean there's no reason to write 2) into the mission statement.

Kate Chapman to Richard, talk-us Nov 28


I have been giving both points 1 and 2 though for a while. When we first started discussing a U.S. Chapter I was unsure about if it should be U.S. based or those interested in mapping the U.S. The only hesitance I have on "an organization of US based mappers" is I think there might be situations where people are interested in mapping the U.S. but aren't based here. Maybe that isn't the point of the Chapter, but I could see for example U.S. based people being interested in mapping international locations as the humanitarian mappers do and want to join the respective chapters of those countries.

I'm more inclined that the goal be those devoted to mapping the U.S. rather than specifically those that are U.S. based.


Kate Chapman

Frederik Ramm to Kate, Richard, talk-us Nov 28


Kate Chapman wrote: > I could see for example U.S. based people being interested in mapping > international locations as the humanitarian mappers do and want to > join the respective chapters of those countries.

I have organisational knowledge of two other international non-profits with national chapters. Both do not encourage you to become a member of two national chapters at the same time; among other thigs this could double your theoretical weight in certain internal decision making processes.

Having members from abroad is certainly always a bit of a challenge for an organisation (different address format; more expensive postage rates; other ways to make payments; other requirements for tax-exempt dontaions; etc.etc.). I think that things would be easier for everyone if people, generally, became a member of the OSM organisation in their respective country of residence, rather than becoming members in all OSM organisations in countries they want to map in!

Just my 2¢ though.

Bye Frederik

Kate Chapman to Frederik, Richard, talk-us Nov 28


That makes sense to me. I just wasn't sure if there were issues we had not though about. Americans abroad for example. Would we discourage them from becoming members of a U.S. chapter? Though I agree that those becoming members of multiple chapters could complicate internal processes. So maybe the answer is to state somewhere that an individual can only be a member of one chapter at a time. Thanks, Kate

Serge Wroclawski t0 talk-us on Nov28
Kate, I don't really understand the concern here.
I don't think we want to carve up international territories ofmapping. If someone from the UK, Brazil, Thailand or whatever want to
come to the US and map- I'm grateful for the help. If a US mapper wants to go to Italy or UK and map- I'd think that'd be okay too.As for :where a person is based- I think we're over thinking that too. Look at someone like SteveC. Is he based in the UK or in the US?
I think these issues generally sort themselves out and are orthogonalto the issue of the charter.

Kate Chapman to talk-us on Nov 28
I guess I don't really have a concern that would be part of the mission statement. The only issue I've seen come up would be handled ::outside of themission statement. There was a concern with the OSMF elections that a people had potentially became foundation members to ::vote in the election for specific individuals (I have no idea if this is true or founded or anything). Now to vote for example for the ::licensing change you have to have become a member by a certain date. The same issues could be avoided inbylaws.
So with that said the mission statement Chris Hunter put forward seems good to me.
I would add something about education:
-Educate the public in methods utilized to collect and add data to theOpenStreetMap.

Al Haraka to talk-us, Frederik, Richard Nov 28


My first instinct (although it might not be the best one) is to follow previous practice from other chapters. So I just quickly looked it up on the wiki, leading me to the Australian chapter's draft mission statement. It appears they do not mention country of residency as a criterion (after a quick scan), and membership is handled on a case by case basis anyway. I think that means that necessary exceptions (if they do end up manifesting themselves) do not cause a bureaucratic hassle.

         Membership qualifications
             * A person is qualified to be a member of the association if, but only if:
                  1.  the person is a person referred to in section 15 16(1) (a), (b) or (c) of the Act and has not ceased to be a member of the association at any time after incorporation of the association under the Act, or
                  2. the person is a natural person:
                        1. who has been nominated for membership of the association as provided by rule 3 4, and
                        2. who has been approved for membership of the association by the committee of the association.
                  3. has complied with rule 3 and disclosed any conflicts of interest.
      2. Conflict of Interest
      3. You must make the association aware of any potential conflicts of interest by declaring if:
            1. they are employed by,
            2. contracted to, or
            3. an immediate family member of a person employed or contracted with a commercial mapping organisation
      4. If your, or your immediate family members, circumstance changes that it would conflict with (1)
      5. Being employed or contracted to a mapping entity doesn't prevent a person from being a member or becoming a member but it must be disclosed to reduce or prevent conflict of interest problems.
      6. Failure to disclose may lead to sanctions of your membership or expulsion as provided by rule 12

Sorry for the rough copy and paste job. Do any of the other members of the list have contacts with other local chapters elsewhere that may have encountered this issue? The only other drafts I found after a quick search were for Belgium and Japan. My language skills do not help me there.

Best, _AJS

Richard Weait to talk-us on Nov 28

I'd hope the mission statement of any chapter would reflect the OSMFmission. In my judgment the key phrases to replicate are:

"3.1 OpenStreetMap Foundation is dedicated to encouraging the growth,development and distribution of free geospatial data and to providing geospatial data for anybody to use and share." [1] and "The OpenStreetMap Foundation is an international non-profitorganisation supporting but not controlling the project." [2]

>From these, I take that the OSMF is to remove barriers for mappers, to serve mappers and to do things for mappers that they as individuals would find more difficult than would a non-profit foundation.

So you get to serve the mappers. Yay!

Also, I think that residence / citizenship should be a completenon-issue for mappers. Even for US Chapter members I see residence / citizenship as only of passing interest. Perhaps of more interest forthe chapter-board, but I'd prefer even that to be a non-issue. The Australian conflict of interest provisions are more to the point to my mind. Perhaps membership in other OSM local chapters should be a reporting requirement as well.

This is not to say that a commercial mapping / geography interest is a drawback, or that membership in multiple local chapters should be forbidden. I think they should be discussed.

[1] [2]

Additional discussion:

2011 Elections

The page now says "The 2011-2012 Election is fast approaching", however it doesn't say anything about when elections are, or how they will take place. Can we flesh this out a bit? -- Joshdoe 18:59, 14 September 2011 (BST)

Issued to be documented

These are some things I think should be publicly documented (i.e. on this wiki):

  • Transition guide - details of how to transition from one board to the next, especially if all members are being replaced; include details on corporation "agent" (not sure what this is), and general info about bank accounts (no numbers obviously), domain registration, server administration, etc.
  • Continuity plan - what if the entire Board disappears suddenly? Are there backups of important documents accessible to perhaps OSMF? What about server credentials, bank details, etc? How would a new Board be formed?
  • "Lessons learned for organizing SOTM US" - help for new Board members or community to organize a conference (major input from Thea)
  • Board member responsibilities/liabilities - what are the roles of President, Vice-Prez, etc? Are Board members liable at all (e.g. if servers are inadvertently used for hosting warez or something crazy like that)?
  • Create public osm-us mailing list - I'm guessing some discussion goes on in the Board members-only mailing list that doesn't need to be (e.g. NOT legal matters, internal debates, etc.), but otherwise might clutter talk-us list; Openness should be a priority
  • Placeholder for more

-- Joshdoe 05:00, 17 September 2011 (BST)