User:SimonPoole/2012 OSMF Board Elections Manifesto

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I'm Simon Poole and I am running for a seat on the OSMF board in the 2012 elections. An Australian citizen by birth, I have lived the majority of my adult life in Switzerland. I speak fluent English, German and Swiss-German, my French is rather rusty.

I started rather late with OSM, my first edit was in January 2010, I am however a moderately active mapper. During the build up to the licence change I have participated in the LWG and provided a number of tools and service to support remapping and contacting mappers that had not accepted the new contributor terms. I have a reasonably good working knowledge of some of the nuts and bolts of the OSM tool chains, but am far from being an expert.

The following are a few selected thoughts on some of the issues that have regularly turned up in discussion.

Dealing with Growth

OSM is becoming a sizeable project with constant growth in members, amount of data we provide and people and organisations that use our data day in, day out. This creates challenges not only with our infrastructure and operations, but on all fronts.

How do we adapt to this constant change without loosing the endearing qualities of OSM, the ultra light weight organisation, the do-o-cracy and the small number of rules? I don't have the definite answer to the issues facing us, however I do believe that we must remain open to change and navigate carefully between the extremes of dogmatic “everything is good as it is” and “big OSMF”.

Supporting the Community

Our core responsibility is to support out mapper community in creating geographic data that is free from technical and legal restrictions outside of those imposed by the community itself. I would further add that the data should be maintainable, easily edited and as up to date as possible.

To support the above, I believe we (we as in the whole community), should implement the following measures:

  • focus on supporting the collection of independently gathered, mapper surveyed data
  • enforce the community import guidelines, including putting a system in place to track and administer imports
  • discourage imports of more data than can be reasonably maintained by the community in question
  • only support imports that have terms that do not compromise the freedom of future mappers
  • support research into methods of splitting our data in to separate databases/layers or similar concepts without giving up the principal of everybody can edit everything.

I further believe that a healthy and thriving environment of non-commercial and commercial services that provide useful and interesting applications of OSM data is important to the project.

To facilitate this we should be clear and explicit about what we offer as core services and what kind of usages levels we can and cannot support. Short term we need to have technical and operational redundancy in every service we determine as core. Long term I believe we need to evolve our financial situation to such a point that we could, at least in principle “stand on our own”.


I believe that OSM has never thought of itself as a software project even though a great deal of software has been developed around and in conjunction with OSM. While we don't want to restrict developers from constantly reinventing the wheel, as a whole we have wasted a lot of developer man power over the years. The OSMF should investigate ways of making our developer community more cohesive and effective, for example this could include

  • supporting more hack days or other developer events
  • more prominently acknowledging the authors of the core tools, applications and web interfaces
  • supporting a more structured software development model

Disclosure of Interests

I currently have no interest, financial of other in any OSM related commercial operation. However I consider a healthy commercial ecosystem of importance to the project. Should I take such an interest in the future I would naturally declare it.

I am a founding member of the Swiss OpenStreetMap Association and am at this point in time its president.

More information

A short bio can be found on the SOSM website: