User:Imagico/Unofficial OSMF Advisory Board Minutes

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This is an unofficial report on the activities of the OSMF advisory board meant to supplement the official minutes - which are somewhat sparse and selective and IMO do not fully satisfy the needs of the OSM community for transparency on the advise the board of directors receives from the advisory board.

Since the communication of the advisory board is meant to be private i will try to not go beyond what is reported in the board meeting minutes in depth, i will just try to make it more complete in breadth including any commentary on the matters discussed as any communication sent to, or received from, the Advisory Board. I will leave out any basic communicative context like thanks, acknowledgements etc. as well as welcoming of new members which cannot be considered to constitute advise. Naturally my own contributions are somewhat over-emphasized in that since for those i don't have to worry about privacy and separating between internal communication and advise given to the board.

For the moment i will anonymize the corporate members but will mention the local chapter representatives by name. Any request to change that from the people involved is welcome.

Likewise i welcome any contributions to this log from AB members - feel free to add your updates or elaborate on advise you have given on the AB mailing list but respect the privacy of the communication that does not constitute advise to the board w.r.t. the other members.

I start the log after mid 2018 (that is after SotM) - I joined in March 2018 and in between there was mainly only the Welcome Mat matter and most of this is already public on github.


2018-08-16: Rob (osmuk) informs about an UK government consultation on a National Geospatial Strategy

2018-09-20: Request from Mikel on input for the Microgrant program - based on https://wiki.osmfoundation.org/wiki/Microgrants_Consultation_document

  • Rob (osmuk) provides a Google Doc with input mainly from osmuk (non-public)
  • Mikel thanks for input received and posts a structured list of ideas (see osmf-talk for the same list).
  • Christoph (FOSSGIS) expressing confusion about the meaning of that list and the consultation document and expressing doubts about the sensibility of planning specifics without first contemplating the fundamental purpose of the whole program. Advise that: (a) handing out money can also create a lot of damage in the community and (b) getting qualified people to actually develop interest in the program is likely going to be a significant hurdle as well as pointing out the importance of the first impression. Suggestion to clearly sepatate any private consultation from the AB input. Expressing opinion that developing OSMF policy and operational rules should always be done transparently and be open for all community members to participate in.


2018-10-25: Request from corporate member to the OSMF for receiving funds for regional conference sponsorships on behalf of local events.

  • Support from Rob (osmuk) but expressing worries about additional bank fees this generates
  • Response from corporate member that such additional costs would of course be covered
  • Support from other corporate member expressing similar interest and mentioning the difficulty of sponsoring due to the lack of a contractible entity.
  • Later (2018-11-14): Input from Christoph (FOSSGIS) expressing concerns about liability issues, work volume involved, compatibility with the currently defined scope of the OSMF. Expressing that the decentralized nature of the OSM community also in financial matters is important. Suggesting to consider the OSMF brokering direct sponsorship deals instead, enabling local communities to get in direct contact with money sources without the OSMF as middle man.
  • Clarification from corporate member that this is meant to supplement existing mechanisms of financing, not replace them.
  • Christoph (FOSSGIS) pointing out that some of the problems corporations have with local community event sponsoring like the lack of legal entities to contract with would similarly be faced by the OSMF.
  • 2018-11-28: Mikel informs the AB that a board circular on the matter has passed.


2018-11-19: Rob (osmuk) informs about a UK Government crowdsourcing funding competition

2018-11-27: Mikel informs about launch of the Welcome Mat.

2018-12-17: Rob (osmuk) asks about opinions on interpretation of the OdBL w.r.t. OSM based neural networks

  • Opinion from Christian (OSM France) that these would be produced works
  • Jóhannes (OSM Iceland) agrees
  • Christoph (FOSSGIS) suggesting that the concept of a produced work does not seem suited for algorithms or components of an algorithm like a neural network. Suggestion to ask on legal-talk.



After introducing this log the official board meeting minutes have started to be more verbose on the Advisory Board activities with the January minutes. The below i had written independently of the official minutes and i publish it here - despite being somewhat redundant - because it is a good demonstration that summarizing and paraphrasing statements is inherently subjective.

2019-01-08: Mikel forwards information about this log from osmf-talk, asks for opinions and suggests a change in role of the AB more towards that of an intermediary between the OSM community and the OSMF supplying the board with more reliable information.

  • Opinion from Frederik that the role of the AB should be kept as is to provide advise only and suggests that other roles could not be served sufficiently in the current composition of the AB.
  • Christoph (FOSSGIS) clarifies that his suggestion was not towards a change in role but only for a change in procedure in how advise is provided and suggests that dedicated participation of the AB in discussion of changes in its own role might not be appropriate.
  • Mikel expresses interest in opinions of other AB members, states the lack of suitability of osmf-talk to get representative input from OSMF members and expresses being against either making AB conversation completely public or closing it to the board of directors.
  • Rob (osmuk) expresses interest in input from corporate members and envisions the AB mailing list as a better and more constructive place for discussions than public OSM channels. Suggests Chatham House Rules regarding privacy/transparency of conversations.
  • Heather invites input from other AB members on the matter.