User:Stereo/2016 OSMF Board Elections Manifesto

From OpenStreetMap Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Who are you?

Questions or comments? Email me at

I'm Guillaume Rischard, a "heavy mapper" from Luxembourg. Since 2011, I have made many edits to the map and raised the quality of OSM in much of Luxembourg, and also internationally.

I organised the first Luxembourg community meetup in 2011, and most new local mappers get a welcome message from me. I do my best to help other mappers, and encourage good interaction so that our real local mapper group builds the highest quality map together, and maintains it in a true local community fashion. It has been a success: from newspapers to public transport to rescue helicopters, OSM is everywhere in Luxembourg.

OpenStreetMap lacked credibility when I started mapping. Beyond my many mapping edits, I am in active contact with local authorities to encourage open data and collaboration with osm. Because of my active contact to raise our reputation, authorities have used OpenStreetMap themselves to improve their data, and embraced the open data movement. I have reused open data to improve our road network (with maproulette) and administrative boundaries, and am working on an address import.

Contact with other communities is important: I have traveled to OSM events and conferences, given talks, and met and worked on OSM projects with mappers in the UK, Ireland, Belgium, France and Germany. I speak fluent English, French, German and Luxembourgish, so most board members will be able to shout at me in their native tongue :).

In my professional life, I work as a freelance IT consultant. I was recently the lead developer and helped drive strategy on the Luxembourg Open Data Portal, where one success was getting the addresses, orthoimagery and official map data of Luxembourg released.

I have founded or been on the board of many non-profits, including Code Club Luxembourg, and the Luxembourg hackerspace syn2cat. I am also a member of the City of Luxembourg's mobility commission, nominated by the city council.

In my free time, I enjoy cycling, good coffee, and classical music.

Towards an Ever Better Map

Making the best map of the world is the first core value of the OSMF. All our other goals must serve that first goal, and it should be kept in mind in all our targets and decisions. The OSMF doesn't create it, but it can do a lot more to support building the map in many ways, by dealing with administrative, policy-making or financial issues.

Switching to HTTPS by default is a policy decision that the Operations Working Group is (wisely) deciding not to take by itself. Private discussions about it were going nowhere until I started a public conversation on the topic. In policy-making matters, the OSMF needs to lead the conversation on policy to focus on the solving of problems, and achieve consensus. Together, we can encourage the board to explore and publicly discuss new ways that our policies could be improved to make an even better map.

The OpenStreetMap community has always had ambitious ideas for its infrastructure: our API data model, our messaging system, and our website have attracted many good ideas, but seen little change. The OSM community is exceptionally good at delivering solutions to its problems, but it sometimes gets stuck on issues that are intractable in free time. Simon Poole has made the case for spending money on projects. Funding projects is already working. It took until Zverik, Mikel Maron and I pledged €300 to get diary subscriptions. The successful Summer of Code projects were in fact Google sponsorships. The OSMF must deliver this kind of projects to support the map. It must create a Projects Working Group whose mission will be to select, fund and administer such projects in tight co-operation with the community.

I regret that my fellow candidates' statements barely mention the goal of making the best map - it is important to both keep track of the big picture and suggest new ideas. Kate offers vague wishes, and no concrete policy ideas except "hackathons, swag, printing, travel". The map deserves better than gimmicks.

Representing the Mapper Community

There has been little dialogue between the OSMF and the mappers, which is why the community cares little about it. The OSMF, if it wants to serve the community, must better interact with it.

The only time the OSMF contacts members is for elections and membership fees. The SotM is inspiring and informative, but only a few hundred mappers attend. The OSMF is wasting the goodwill of its members.

The OSMF would receive a lot of support from improving the experience of the average mapper, often and in small ways. This shouldn't be limited to improving the mapping experience directly through the future Projects Working Group.

The OSMF would increase its membership if it sought out regular communication with its members. The Weekly OSM team does an outstanding job at this. The OSMF should increase the collaboration with the Weekly OSM to inform the community of its activities. It should be easy to find ways of getting involved in more ways than mapping. We're very lucky to have Peda, one of the editors of the Weekly, on the OSMF board. The Weekly should be officially supported, and included prominently on

The OSMF board and working groups must regularly involve its members and take advice from them. Better publicising the agendas and minutes, and making it easy for members to participate in the discussion around them, would not only lead to better decisions but also create a sense of involvement and ownership.

Working as a community can create friction, and it is easy to forget the other humans on the other side of the screen. The OSMF should offer to mediate conflict between mappers, complementing the crucial policing role of the Data Working Group and its blocking powers. Communication working group procedures should support better communication between mappers and help find solutions to conflicts. They would make us stronger as a community, and help prevent problems before they have to be resolved.

Diversity has often been discussed as an end in themselves, not something that serves our primary mapping goal. We must be a community that is more inclusive, more respectful, and less conflictual, not only because these are good things, but because it is how we will build a community that is wide enough and rich enough in its diversity to see all potential facets of the map.

Finding New Sources of Funding

Funding remains an important limiting factor for OpenStreetMap; unfortunately, Frederik is the only other candidate whose manifesto offers any solution. That Kate, after three years on the board, needs to "determin[e] what other things people need funding for", should cause consternation.

Many of the big commercial OSM users like Apple, Facebook, Craigslist or MapQuest aren't sponsors, and the OSMF shouldn't be afraid of fundraising with them.

The corporate memberships and increased community interest in OSMF membership may not be enough to fund big projects. The previous server fundraising drives were successes. Gathering behind important projects will drive the interest of mappers and members, and attract crowdfunders and sponsors.

Our generous existing corporate members seem to have donated out of social duty, but sponsorships could also go towards specific issues, e.g. fees for the Licensing Working Group.