OpenStreetMap

Local Community Building at OSM

Yesterday, November 8, the event Local Community Building at OSM: Tips, Tricks and Challenges was held, organized by the Hotosm Community Working Group for Spanish-speaking OpenStreetMap communities.

As in any event worth its salt, there is a Document -in Spanish- with the notes on the presentations, conversations and chats, in addition to the video, of course (the video is -again- in Spanish).

I used the aforementioned document to make a live tweeting of the event from the @esopenstreetmap Twitter account, and then it occurred to me to make a thematic summary of the event based on the same notes, in order to facilitate the generation of future actions by the leaders of the communities. That summary is what I present in this post.

Topic Brief: Building Local Community in OSM

I identified five thematic axes around which the participants of the event made the most contributions. In some cases I put together very similar contributions into one. In some other cases where the notes taken did not make the central idea of the contribution very clear, I tried to interpret what the participant meant. In a few cases I added some reinforcement phrase to the idea of the contribution.

I have not put the names of those who contributed each tip or comment, since that appears in the Document, but it could be added if considered necessary.

And well, let’s go with the thematic axes:

  • Community.

  • Maintain a good collaborativeenvironment.
  • Establish a Code of conduct.
  • Reflect before writing to avoid misunderstandings.
  • Personalized communication.
  • Get to know each other among peers and take care of each other among members.
  • Form a core group with like-minded people.
  • Decentralize leadership.
  • Rescue lonely or uncontacted mappers, doing zone monitoring with available tools.
  • Modernize communication channels.

  • Volunteering.

  • Think about the conditions in which it can be given. The realities of each country or city can vary greatly.
  • Get minimal resources to compensate in some way for the time spent.
  • Motivation: stay enthusiastic.
  • Find new volunteers, not just mappers. Always.

  • Projects.

  • Determine the real need for project data.
  • See your political and socioeconomic side. Who do you serve the most, people or companies?
  • Look for projects that make visible groups that are normally marginalized.
  • Focus on only one project at a time, especially for new or small communities.
  • Find specific resources for the project.

  • Outreach.

  • Integrate mapping activities into university curricular programs.
  • Generate networks of contacts to get involved with young people.
  • Collaboration with local governments and organizations.
  • Territorial use, social research, make contact with these actors.

  • Training.

  • Develop and maintain documentation, tutorials, guides, permanently adapting them.
  • Update the community about new tools, apps, etc.
  • Local adaptation of labeling. But share it with the rest of the communities.
  • Take into account linguistic diversity.
  • More strategic documentation, do not duplicate efforts.
  • Centralize existing resources.
  • Translate documentation that is not in Spanish.
  • Try new formats, more friendly -video / Tiktok-, more inviting, interactive, not endless texts.
  • Introductory OSM workshops are much needed.

Event participants

Although the axes of Community and Volunteering could have been one, I preferred to separate them not only because the concept of community is broader, and in some communities not all will be volunteers, but also because the management (and administration) of the volunteers requires some specific skills and knowledge.

On the other hand, when you talk about volunteers, you usually think of mappers, but there may be volunteers in other areas of the community, such as translation, software development, project management specialists, etc. Having volunteers in these areas will enrich our community.

Within the Training axis is Documentation and Translation, which in this case -in my opinion- are quite related at least in the current context of OSM.

Finally, I’d like to say that I hope that this summary helps both the OSM community leaders in our countries and the representatives of the OSM Foundation and Hotosm, to make the best decisions for the future of the community.

Location: Unidad Vecinal del Rimac, Rímac, Province of Lima, Lima Metropolitan Area, Lima, 1, Peru

Comment from pedrito1414 on 9 November 2021 at 14:09

@Cyberjuan, thanks so much for this summary! I wanted to attend but, for personal reasons, couldn’t and this has motivated me to watch the video once it is published :D

Comment from pedrito1414 on 9 November 2021 at 14:11

  • thanks for the live tweets (which I did follow). You do a great job on the @esopenstreetmap twitter account!

Comment from Cyberjuan on 9 November 2021 at 15:34

@pedrito1414 YW! Thanks for reading!

Comment from arnalielsewhere on 14 November 2021 at 21:03

Thank you so much @cyberjuan! Very great point on community and volunteers! :)


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