User:Oli-Wan/Mentoring program

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First of all: sorry

So far, there is no mentoring program in OpenStreetMap. This page constitutes an attempt to create such a program.

In fact, this is only a draft on my private user space right now, to be moved to the regular wiki later on.


The idea of installing a mentoring system has come up time and again in various discussions, but has never been realized. Beginners often find it difficult getting started with OSM, using OSM's editing tools, finding information in the wiki, using the proper tags for objects and the like. Of course, the forum and mailing lists, or local communities (if such exists in the newbie's region) can offer support, but some newbies would like a personal "mentor" to ask for help when they have questions or problems.

Some mappers get frustrated after awhile and resign from OSM. A mentoring program, along with other means of improving support for beginners, might help in reducing these losses.

The mentoring program is intended to offer a list of possible mentors, ideally from nearby, but at least speaking the same language as the newbie seeking help. The mentoring program is meant to be strictly voluntary; no new user is required to pick a mentor - and no experienced user is required to besome one.

The plan

The intention of this page is to set up a mentoring program for OpenStreetMap in the following steps:

  1. Promote the mentoring program among active mappers, gather some critical mass of volunteers (current stage)
  2. Turn this page into a "find a mentor" page (that is, replace these remarks and focus on the list of volunteers)
  3. Start of actual mentoring program. Link here from the beginner's pages, offering help to newbies
  4. If successful, ultimately integrate the whole thing with the sign-up procedure (optional, long-term)

Should you be a mentor?

Uncle Sam (pointing finger).jpg

There are no strict criteria for becoming a mentor. If you are a top-100 contributor, have written ten tagging proposals and a JOSM plugin, know about all of Mapnik's internal details and can operate your GPS receiver blindly using only your toes, you certainly qualify; but a few months with OSM and some experience with both outdoor and home mapping will also do. You should, however,

  • be fluent with OSM's basic concepts (nodes, ways, relations, tags) and their uses
  • be familiar (i.e., able to handle all day-to-day editing tasks) with at least one major editor (plus some basics in Potlatch, if you prefer another tool, since that is what most beginners use at first)
  • know where to find the information you need on the wiki
  • be able and willing to answer questions asked via mail usually within, say, a day or two
  • be patient with "your" newbie

(It will also help if you are familiar with some of OSM's Quality Assurance tools.) If you think that you qualify, please sign up in the list below.


To volunteer as a mentor, just add your name and location to the following list.

Username Location Regions of interest Language(s) remarks
Oli-Wan Aachen, DE Southwestern NRW, Eastern BE de, en