OpenStreetMap

Report on work for State of the Map 2022

Posted by Doro8ea on 7 October 2022 in English.

As the OSMF administrative assistant, I have been supporting the volunteers of the State of the Map (SotM) organizing committee with conference organisational tasks since 2017. This is a brief report on my work for State of the Map 2022.

  • 400 hours of my time were requested in 2022 by the State of the Map working group to help with the organisation of the State of the Map 2022 conference and were approved by the OSMF board.
  • I ended up working for 307 hours on SotM2022 tasks, from February 2022 until October 2022 (excluding work during the conference). Most of the work started in April.

Board decisions

I worked on the following:

SotM Sponsorships

Work included but was not limited to:

  • Communicating with sponsors about available sponsorship tiers, answering questions, sending reminders about unused voucher codes for sponsor tickets etc.
  • Tracking sponsorships on the SotM Gitlab repository and elsewhere.
  • Arranging creation of invoices and sending them.
  • Filling forms for registration on sponsors’ supplier portals and acquiring additional documents they needed.
  • Creating accounts for OSMF on sponsors’ supplier portals.

SotM Visa-application support

  • Providing invitation letters and additional support for Visa applications (to travel grantees/scholars and non-scholars)
  • Communicating with applicants and embassies when additional Visa-support was needed

SotM travel grants/scholarships

In addition to creating invitation letters for the travel grantees/scholars, work included:

  • Communicating with scholars and answering questions
  • Providing documents for Visa application (see above)
  • Organising reimbursements
  • Arranging flights in exceptional cases

Additional SotM tasks

Work included but was not limited to:

  • Arranging the creation of invoices for tickets after companies’ request
  • Confirming ticket payments via wire transfer
  • Providing help on how to cancel SotM tickets
  • Changing ticket type for people who were not able to attend
  • Cancelling tickets
  • Reimbursing cancelled/changed tickets
  • Organising invoice for social venue tickets
  • Accepting payments and arranging online registration for on-door tickets

For some of the tasks above I collaborated with the OSMF accountant (Michelle Heydon) and the dedicated volunteers of the 2022 SotM team.


Time allocation

I routinely track my work time, so I decided to share some statistics on the time I worked on SotM 2022 tasks.

Doughnut chart. Title: OSMF Administrative Assistant's work supporting State of the Map (SotM) 2022, excluding work during the conference. Data below the image.

The ~307 hours of SotM 2022 work were distributed as follows:

Percentage Hours SotM 2022 Task
42% 129 Sponsorships
29% 89 Visa-application support
14% 43 Travel grants/scholarships, excluding Visa support
15% 46 Additional tasks

On Visa-application related support
This year, in addition to the 12 OSMF travel grantees/scholars who applied for a Visa, there were requests from 41 additional people for supporting documents for their Visa applications - mainly due to grants provided by YouthMappers and Humanitarian OSM Team US Inc for participation in SotM and the HOT un-conference. For comparison, in 2019 there were requests for Visa supporting documents from 19 people in total (including OSMF scholars).


Suggestions for next State of the Map

The following suggestions were shared with the State of the Map 2022 organising committee. I am excluding

  • suggestions related to travel grants/sponsorships, for which there will probably be a separate report, and also
  • suggestions which I didn’t need to write to the team, as other team members had already mentioned them.

Visa support

Create a page with some information needed from Visa-applicants who want invitation letters by OSMF, how OSMF can help them, expected timeline etc. I would suggest creating the page on the OSMF website (so it can be easily enriched) and linking it from the SotM website.

FAQ page

We could create a FAQ page on the OSM wiki and link it from the SotM website.

Alternative payment methods for buying SotM tickets

One of the attendees mentioned to me the SSLcommerz payment gateway as something which helped and was used by FOSS4G. For context, this year some people had issues purchasing online a ticket, as PayPal was either unavailable in their country or they could not pay with a wire transfer.

Sponsorships

  • Set a date (e.g. a month before the conference) after which sponsors can still sign-up but they might not get all of the sponsorship benefits (due to things being ordered/printed) and clearly state it on the sponsors brochure.
  • Arrange early-on the person co-ordinating sponsors’ deliveries to the venue.
  • Provide early-on information on times for setting-up booths and packing up.
  • Set-up a FAQ page specifically for sponsors.

“Thanks” slides during closing

I would suggest listing the names of all the people involved in the organisation of the conference, together with the phrase “and any others” (because there were 2-3 people who became volunteers during the conference in exchange for a ticket).

On group photos: Photos of groups (e.g. volunteers/organising committee etc) don’t include team members who helped remotely, e.g. Arnalie this year, or people who could not make it to the group photo. Perhaps photos of individuals can be added to the thank slides.

Post-conference survey

Consider whether to ask people if they got Covid after their trip to SotM. It does not mean that they got Covid during the conference, it could have happened at any point during their trip, but it would be good for us to get some statistics. For context: the SotM team was considering sending a survey after the conference.

Other

Catering
  • Add labels to dishes which are vegan, if we are to keep the distinction between “vegan” and “any” meals next year, as the vegan dishes are not necessarily easy to spot. Some people do not eat meat not just for dietary preferences but for religious reasons.
Table for freebies
  • Have a small table where local OSM communities and companies/organisations which do not have a booth can leave freebies for people.
Stats from ticket registration
  • Consider whether to make mandatory the field about country during ticket registration for statistic purposes.
Name lists on registration desk
  • Ask volunteers at the registration table to add to the printed attendee lists any people who were not on the lists and attended (either by buying a ticket during the conference or as volunteers).
Microphone that captures overall sound from audience during talks
  • Some live-streams (and hence the recordings) will seem a bit strange without hearing the response of the audience (laughing/clapping).

Volunteering

The tasks in the first section were done as the OSMF administrative assistant. In addition to the time tracking and writing this report, which is done for transparency and was not requested, as a volunteer of the OSMF Communication Working Group I did the following:

  • Created a page on the OSM wiki listing the people who have helped organise and run the conference. Note: The SotM organising team has now updated their page on the OSMF website, and you can see the 2022 team members there.
  • Designed, ordered and brought to SotM2022 pin-back buttons, so that attendees in Florence could show if they wanted other people to talk to them or not. You can read more about this concept in my diary entry State of the Map 2022 “talk to me” (or not) pin-back buttons :).
  • Helped the awesome volunteers at the registration table before the start of the conference.
  • Provided community sticker packs which were distributed to OSMers in Cambodia, Brazil, Guinea, Ecuador, Indonesia, Malawi, Hungary, Ethiopia, Italy, Zimbabwe, D.R.C. Also designed and brought individual stickers and pins (e.g. for weeklyOSM , “I love OSM”, “mapping almost everything on OSM”). Please note that 1) at the OSMF table one could also find stickers brought by Amanda McCann and OSM contributor pins designed by Berrely and 2) all stickers and pins that I brought were not paid by the OSMF but by myself.
  • Analysed SotM 2022 ticket data and published an overview blog post: State of the Map 2022 – Thanks, what you can still do, statistics and upcoming regional SotMs.

Discussion

Comment from jimkats on 8 October 2022 at 02:53

Bravo for all the work you offer, and the ideas you bring. Statistics and pins/stickers are chef’s kiss, and I can understand from the posts they were pretty appreciated during the conference.

For microphone, ribbon ones may work in such case, capturing sound from both sides (as bidirectional) and also having a good quality. Dynamic ones are decent for live streaming conferences. Personal opinion that is.

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