One year at the Foundation.. an incredible book series by Isaac Asimov

Posted by Doro8ea on 8 December 2017 in English (English)

Hi all :)

My name is Dorothea. I’ve been helping the OpenStreetMap Foundation board and some of the Working Groups in the past year, as an Administrative Assistant (one of two independent contractors that the Foundation has - the other one being the accountant). So, for transparency reasons I would like to give you a better idea of what I do and also my view of what being at the Board encompasses - based on my experiences from the previous year.

What I do

Basically I am helping the board (and some of the Working Groups, if there is time and they want to) with administrative tasks, so they can have more time to focus elsewhere. So far I am mainly involved with:

Some non-regular tasks:

  • Administrative support during Local Chapter applications
  • Adding Advisory Board members to the AB mailing list and updating the wiki
  • Providing membership lists


  • Documenting Local Chapter Congresses (2016, 2017)
  • Documenting the Face-to-Face meeting (2016 # on the board wiki)
  • Implementing the new Corporate Membership Payment system on CiviCRM (2016)
  • Running the Election to Board (2017)

Two Working Groups have asked for administrative support from the board

  • Licensing Working Group: Documenting online meetings
  • State of the Map Working Group:
    • SotM2017 - Supporting scholars
    • SotM2018 - (Plan for) Supporting scholars (if there is going to be a scholarship program) and sponsorship

Time allocation

This can vary from month to month, with a cap of 65 hours per month. This was surpassed at least once before State of the Map 2017, as one of the scholars required extra support in order to get his visa (there was no Embassy of Japan in his country).

An overview of the time allocation is supplied monthly to the board. I also have a monthly meeting with the Secretary.

An inside view of the Board’s work

From the past year I can say that board members have to do a lot of “ground” work: writing documents, collaborating or providing feedback on documents writen by other board members or Working Groups, liaising with Working Groups, working on getting their ideas approved by other board members and the community. It requires even more energy and time if you become one of the officers (Chairperson, Treasurer, Secretary). I think Frederik describes it better than I do in his post. Regarding visionary ideas & tasks, well my experience was that the board does very pragmatic work - the only exception I can think of was a discussion about the future that took place during the Face-to-Face meeting in May. Related to the F2F meetings: All board members are very passionate about OpenStreetMap, even if they have different views on some areas. The F2F meeting in May 2016 gave me the impression that it was easier for board members with different views to find common ground. I am not sure if it was related to non-verbal communication, but I had the impression that these meetings really helped the board members work together.

Working Groups

The people at the Working Groups do some amazing work. And you can make a real difference in the Foundation by participating in one of them. Just find the Working Group you would like to get involved with. If you don’t have much time to join a Working Group, perhaps you can help in other ways. As a CWG volunteer I can suggest some related tasks: you can translate your favorite OSMF blog post in your language (perhaps the PokemonGo one, as we have a new influx of mappers?), or send us your favorite OSM-related CC BY photos.

Finally, I would like to nudge people who are not very vocal to share your thoughts on osmf-talk@, talk@ or your diary - particularly if your views are different from the ones already expressed. Throughout the year :)

Some personal info:

I love OpenStreetMap :) I’ve been mapping for the past ~4 years, mostly outdoors. Currently I am mapping Athens (Greece), so if you ever visit, feel free to send me a message to meet at the local hackerspace.

GPG key ID: 0x1EF42A022575038A

Comment from imagico on 8 December 2017 at 23:20

Let me take the opportunity to thank you for your work. From what is visible from the outside you contributed quite a lot to a better transparency of the OSMF work during the past years which - independent of the help you provide within the the OSMF - is of direct benefit for the whole OSM community.

I imagine being the first person in the role of an administrative assistant on the OSMF can be both a blessing and a curse and for sure is not always easy and pleasant.

Comment from nebulon42 on 10 December 2017 at 20:21

Thanks from me too!

Comment from Stereo on 11 December 2017 at 11:05

Adding to the thanks!

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