I love OpenStreetMap. I joined in early 2008 because I wanted to map the village I grew up in. Since then I've mapped around the world, both from knowledge of places I've visited and from the wonders of aerial imagery. OpenStreetMap was small when I started to contribute - it was a hobby for people who liked computers and geography - but it has since grown into a leading example of Open Data and online collaboration. I am standing for the OSMF Board because I would like to see OpenStreetMap grow further; I believe that the database behind our osm.org homepage can soon become the basis of the default map that people view online.
If the world is going to move to defaulting to OpenStreetMap for its map data the OSMF is going to have to facilitate the process. I see two elements to this: Increasing the quantity and quality of data entering the database, and encouraging data consumers to take these contributions and use them as the basis for their mapping.
The OSMF should be encouraging worldwide participation in mapping via the strengthening of local chapters and the empowerment of traditionally under-represented or marginalised groups. The OSMF should be working to increase the power of international stakeholders who contribute to OpenStreetMap for their own niche interests, as long as these interests improve the map for everyone.
At the same time the OSMF should be promoting the data we have and making it more readily available to organisations, for profit or otherwise, who wish to build products and services from our data. Our data - the thing we all work to improve - is an incredible resource and the OSMF needs to be doing everything it can to foster and promote it.
The OSMF needs to work effectively with the resources available to it. The current working of the OSMF, I argue, could be improved to not only produce better results, but also do so with more accountability and transparency. For example, if required, the OSMF should employ staff or contractors for work that is needed to be undertaken. This is just one pragmatic decision that could be made to improve the map for everyone. The OSMF needs to move away from the hobby attitude that kick-started OpenStreetMap in the first place; at this stage of the organisation’s development we don’t need individual egos and personal histories, we need effective leadership and representation.
I am putting myself forward for this position in the hope that you will agree with my sentiments and choose me as one of the next Board members. I have previously served as a member of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team Board and learnt a great deal from what was a challenging position. This experience ensures that I know that serving on the OSMF Board would also be a challenge and, at numerous points, presumably not an enjoyable role to undertake. I am sure, however, that by working on the Board I could, with my fellow members, develop the OSMF for all.
I love OpenStreetMap as it is an incredible patchwork of niche interests and groups that collaborate towards an ecosystem that benefits everybody. This amazing spirit of cooperation not only needs to be encouraged further within the wider OSM community, but embraced tighter within the OSMF itself. If we work with this goal in mind we can create the best technical output, the best working environment, and the best community for everyone.