Recent diary entries
When sitting down to write the Chairperson’s Report for this Annual General Meeting of the OpenStreetMap Foundation I have to confess I was having a difficult time. Not because OpenStreetMap hasn’t continued to make great strides over the past year and continue to become further THE free map of the entire world. No, it was because my heart once again was heavy. This year's election has been even more hostile than others. Some of the debate has surrounded around if OpenStreetMap is currently a welcoming place for all and if we ever make people not feel welcome due to the actions of some of our members.
Procrastinating on writing this I was scrolling through Twitter and I happened across a quote from the CEO of Creative Commons, Ryan Merkley.
"Pick big fights with your enemies, not small fights with your friends.”
Stop and think about that for a moment.
When OpenStreetMap started we picked a huge fight with proprietary map provides. For a long time we were just some little upstart, but then they began to take us seriously. Today we continue to be used in more prominent and more important ways all over the world. Just in the past 2 weeks OpenStreetMap became used in Ingress and Pokemon Go, applications of millions of users. New editors are coming in because they can update the map themselves. How exciting is it that all our work continues to be used in more and more ways?
What is our next big fight to continue to be the best free map of the entire world? Let’s all think about those challenges and how we are going to surmount them.
How can we lay aside differences and be welcoming to people who are different from us? It is certainly not from fighting amongst ourselves. That just makes people want to check out, myself included, hence the difficulty in writing this report.
We were not without accomplishments this year though. We’ve increased all types of membership with the OSMF membership standing at almost 900 people now. That is more than we’ve ever had. We’ve increased the Corporate Membership to 24 and created an Advisory Board currently consisting of representatives from Corporate Members and Local Chapters.
Going forward things I’d like the OSMF Board to focus on in the next year include increasing the overall diversity of all our memberships. From encouraging different individuals to become OSMF Members, recruiting different types of corporate members and adding more local chapters. To do that I think we are going to have to show more value as the Foundation. By supporting local chapters more and tech community initiatives. To be able to do this we are going to have to explore ways to have additional funding avenues. I hope we can finish creating a micro-grants program to all groups to apply for this support.
I hope after the election I can be hopeful for the next year. I hope we all can be, let’s come together and stop picking the small fights.
Since the 2015 Annual General Meeting of the OpenStreetMap Foundation is taking place virtually this year I'm writing up this diary entry to serve as the Chairperson's person.
Firstly I'd like to thank everyone to contributed to the Foundation this year. Specifically I'd like to thank:
- Working Groups: Without you the OSMF couldn't run. Thank you for all that you've done over the past year, including some sometimes thankless tasks. Let's all work together in 2016 to recruit more people to our working groups.
- Members: Thank you for being a part of the OSMF. I look forward to seeing the results of your voting and many discussions in the future on where the Foundation should go.
- Corporate Members: Your support helps us staying in good financial footing. Please continue participating in the community and thank you again.
- Board members: It has been a pleasure to serve with you. Henk, Kathleen, Dermot and Oliver your service is most appreciated. I look forward to working with you in other aspects of the OSM community.
- The OpenStreetMap community: we need you most of all! Without our community there would be no reason for the OSMF and we'd have nothing to support. Please reach out if there is anything I can do to assist.
The OSMF Board was able to meet in person in February this year. Having not met in quite a while it allowed us to get to know each other better and begin to further work on strategy. One of the major things we learned is though it might seem at first as if our opinions are so far apart that a compromise isn't possible, once we talk through it really there is much agreement. Many of these items we haven't moved from draft form, but plan to take up with the next board in 2016. One such item is hiring of administrative help.
The board would like to move to a more strategic role in the OSMF. One component of this is contracting assistance to help with general administrative tasks. These include things such as invoices, publishing of minutes, scheduling meetings and other items that tend to get procrastinated on. Initially the role will assist the board, but we will see how it can be utilized to assist working groups as well over the year.
We also worked to better define Board roles and responsibilities. Currently still in the minutes I look forward to reviewing and revising them with the new board so they can serve as a guidelines for our next year.
Looking forward to 2016 I hope the incoming board can agree to meet again to continue our momentum and accomplish even more in the coming year.
You can see from the Membership Statistic page that our membership continues to grow. I thought it was interesting that there are almost an equal quantity of Normal and Associate Members now. The difference being that Associate Members can't vote on Special Resolutions. We have a total of 701 human members and 18 corporate members.
A regional breakdown of membership by region is as follows (thank you Henk for gathering the numbers!).
- 70% Europe & Central Asia
- 23% USA & Canada
- 1.5% Latin America
- 0.5% Middle East and North Africa
- 4.5 % Asia Pacific
- 0.5% West, East, Middle and South Africa
It can be seen we have quite a ways to go in membership for some regions. I hope this is something the incoming board can consider.
I'm excited to see future growth of both the OSMF and the OSM community.
I continued mapping footways and POI of interest to pedestrians in Sterling, Virginia. I have mapped roughly 15 miles worth of paths on foot in the past couple weeks. Eventually I hope to create a walking map of the area.
Yesterday was the SIlver Spring Mapping party. In addition to people on the MappingDC mailing list a couple members of the community showed up as well. We added a bunch of POI's and corrected a couple Tiger Street mistakes.