Giblet's Diary

Recent diary entries

Serving as the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team’s Voting Membership Chairperson for the past year has been a privilege, a challenge, and a learning experience for me. I greatly appreciate that the Voting Membership elected me to this role last year, and I hope for the opportunity to continue serving in that role for the next year.

Serving in the role of Membership Chairperson for a second consecutive year will allow for consistency in the role in supporting the business of the Voting Membership. Starting off in the position, I faced, what I considered, a large learning curve. There was no shortage of, and I am thankful for all of the, support from Russell and Mikel (former Chairs), Board Members, Voting Members, and HOT Staff in my transition into the role. Understanding the procedural side of our organization was a larger lift than I had originally anticipated, but I have a new-found appreciation for our Bylaws and Robert’s Rules of Order.

Over the course of the last year we’ve been able to identify many strengths and opportunities for improvement within our Voting Membership. At the 2019 HOT Summit in Heidelberg, many of us had the opportunity to talk in person, setting aside time to talk through ideas for 2020. We conducted a survey of the membership, which resulted in a newly offered Voting Membership on-boarding session for new Voting Members.

There is much I would like to support the membership with this year, including identifying ways to improve our asynchronous collaboration, which in my opinion, would allow for more Voting Members to contribute. This includes identifying ways that our Voting Members can be more empowered at a local level to support HOT’s programs, including new efforts as a part of HOT’s Audacious Project.

I believe being able to maintain momentum in the role of Voting Membership Chairperson, will allow our membership of 216 members, to continue to become more active and support the organization. I am thankful for having been able to serve in this role for the past year, and appreciate your support moving forward.

Matt Gibb

2019 OSM-US Election Position Statement

Posted by Giblet on 29 March 2019 in English (English). Last updated on 2 April 2019.

Hello OSM-US!

It was great to hear the news that Maggie Cawley will be serving as the Executive Director of OSM-US, I’m excited to see what ideas and energy she brings to the role. I’ve decided to run for the Board seat that Maggie vacated for a few reasons:

  1. Under the leadership of our new ED, I want to help define the direction of OSM-US

  2. OpenStreetMap has had a temendous impact on my career, and I want to give back in a positive manner to my local OSM community.

Who am I?

In my all day and all night job, I’m a father to two wonderful kids who are sick and tired of my dad jokes. I live with my family in Northern Virginia, but we’re all New Yorkers (upstate) at heart.

In my job that helps pay the bills, I work for Radiant Solutions, focusing on data quality and validation, something which in OSM, I care deeply about. My colleagues are only slightly tired of my dad jokes.

What do I map?

Here’s my HDYC page

I joined the OSM world in 2013 (if you want to see my first edits, I embarrassingly show them off in my SOTM-US talk in Detroit), mapping for the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team’s Typhoon Haiyan response. In two years working with the American Red Cross, I supported local volunteers, all over the world, mapping their communities, leading mapping initiatives in Canaan, Haiti and Binga, Zimbabwe.

As a member of HOT, I try to make time every week for validating and giving feedback to new mappers. Sometimes life gets in the way of mapping, but I’ve grown as a mapper due to my involvement with HOT and it’s community of volunteers.

Of course, here in the US, I typically enjoy mapping places I’ve lived. I’m mostly active in upstate New York where I grew up, but map in Western NY, Central Massachusetts, and in Northern Virginia. I’ve recently increased my participation collecting street level imagery for Mapillary, which (at some point) I’ll get around to adding more detail in my local area.

My daughter has perfected her eyeroll for when a 5 minute walk turns into 30 minutes becuase I’ve decided to add opening hours for businesses in our area.

What would I bring to the board?

During my involvement in OpenStreetMap over the past several years, the community has grown to involve partnerships and collaboration between remote mappers and local communities. I enjoy working with local groups to help people make connections and to ensure that they have the resources they need to map. With the US being so large, finding local mappers to collaborate can be a difficult task, so I’d like to identify barriers to collaboration within the OSM-US community to address and make the community feel more like a community.

Working with HOT, I collaborated with my peers to write a strategic plan for the organization. With Maggie as OSM-US’s new ED, our organization is in a great position to grow, and so I would like to work with Maggie, the board, and the membership to better define our goals moving forward.

My 2018 Year in OSM

Posted by Giblet on 3 January 2019 in English (English).

It’s been quite a busy year for me, so hopefully it isn’t too tough to recall my mappy highlights for the year, but that could prove a challenge, given that I usually can’t remember if I’ve eaten on any given day.

Major Accomplishments

  • In December of 2017 Dan Joseph and myself traveled to Canaan, Haiti to collect updated drone imagery on behalf of the American Red Cross to continue to update the map of the area. Since the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, this community has grown exponentially, and updated maps are critical to the community there. In the first part of 2018, we shared the imagery on OpenAerialMap and our workflow is highlighted on the Missing Maps Blog. You can contribute to some of these projects using the imagery at the HOT Tasking Manager
  • While at the American Red Cross, I brought together a team of volunteers to focus on data quality for our Missing Maps projects in the HOT Tasking Manager. I presented at the April GeoDC meeting, highlighting some of their work, and after only a few short months, they had already contributed over 100k edits to OSM!
  • Perhaps the biggest accomplishment for me on a professional level was switching jobs! I left my position at the American Red Cross, and while I certainly miss working with all the fantastically dedicated people there, I traded in my passport for a new, more local adventure (I didn’t actually trade in my passport, that would be wildly irresponsible of me).
  • As a voting member of HOT I spent more time involved in some of the working groups. I had the privilege of working with other members of the HOT community on formulating the membership feedback to the organization’s strategic plan. It was an eye-opening and new experience for me, but it makes me all the more proud to be a part of this community!

Little wins

  • While not necessarily a “win” in the literal sense, because I certainly did not “win”, I ran for the HOT Board, which on a personal level was exciting for me…and while the votes didn’t fall my direction, I’m extremely happy for both Nathalie and Trudy on their election to the board, a board that is now majority female, a positive step for any organization!
  • I’ve continued to map my hometown in Upstate New York, this year I moved on to landuses, which is something I hadn’t ventured into before. Also, relations!, relations have always been something I steered away from in OSM, but I ventured down that road as well.
  • I presented at State of the Map - US on creating workflows for validation. I received a lot of great feedback after that talk and I think it prompted some good discussion. There’s a blog version posted on Medium - minus the dad jokes.

What’s to come in 2019?

Hard to know what I don’t know yet, but here’s a few things I hope to do with my mappy-time this year:

  • More local mapping! I still have plenty of work to do in Upstate New York, but there’s a never ending list of things to map here in Northern Virginia as well!
  • Stay involved in HOT working groups. It’s been a rewarding experience with my time spent in the Strategic Working Group this year, I’m looking forward to doing more of the same this year.
  • More daily mapping. A plan to map or validate a single task in the HOT tasking manager every day this year sounds like a good goal…but sadly, I’d have failed already. I’ll try to put a bit more time aside to map when I can, but with a toddler running around the house, you never know when a hand will grab the keyboard. But in general, more mapping is good mapping :-)
  • More street-level imagery. My wife decided to put up with the frustration of me setting up an action camera on our car windshield every time we go out for a drive, when she gifted me a new camera for Christmas. Who’s ready for pictures of me driving to the store when we’ve run out of almond milk?
  • More sharing. Hope to be more open and sharing of work that I do either professionally or on my own.

Here’s to a great 2019! Happy New Year everyone!

Matt “Giblet” Gibb

HOT Board Nomination

Posted by Giblet on 11 April 2018 in English (English).

Hello everyone, my name is Matthew Gibb and I appreciate the opportunity to be considered for the Board of Directors for the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team. For the past two and a half years I have been a member of the GIS team at the American Red Cross.

I vividly remember my first time mapping in OpenStreetMap. Typhoon Haiyan had just made landfall in the Philippines and a colleague in grad school introduced several of us to HOT and the Tasking Manager. She got us set up with JOSM, taught us how to map, and you might say the rest was history. Alas, it was not. It was probably another year before I mapped again, and then another six months before I started mapping my hometown and surrounding areas consistently on my own.

Having worked previously in disaster response domestically in the US, I was accustomed to having all the GIS data I needed, from federal to state to local level. It wasn’t until joining the American Red Cross that I was able to see first-hand the incredible impact that this community has in disaster response and engagement of local communities throughout the world. Through our work with the Missing Maps project, I’ve had the benefit of working with volunteers, literally putting their community on the map, and often times creating a perspective for their community that they did not have before.

My own adventure in joining HOT is a long way from a Pulitzer-worthy story for sure, but it has shaped how I believe I can continue to contribute to HOT as a member of the board:

  • I’ve been able to recognize that engaging mappers doesn’t have to end after a first mapathon, but through continued engagement and ensuring that everyone can see the impact of their time spent volunteering. I want to continue to share the stories of the great work community members are doing, to encourage volunteers to return and contribute.

  • As HOT continues to grow, data quality and validation will continue to play an important role in not only how we as an organization continue to support the work we do around the world but also that other organizations recognize the value of this inclusive and dedicated community. I would like to continue working on growing our validation footprint through encouraging volunteers to validate and through the use of tools created to help identify issues sooner.

  • Explore new avenues of engagement. It’s been amazing to see the variety in which new mappers come to HOT: an individual walking into a mapathon, a university, a corporation, a government agency. We all need to be advocates for engagement and growing the community and working through my own network to contribute to our growth will be point I wish to make. There are many members of our community who work tirelessly to engage volunteers, making sure they have support where needed is important to me.

  • While working with the board on strategic planning, having the previous experience of working with a large humanitarian organization I believe provides me with a good perspective on how these organizations function, especially as HOT continues to grow and have a larger impact.

Collaboration is hard. Reading through email chains, Slack, and working group conversations can sometimes be a tough pill to swallow, but what inspires me is how deeply everyone involved with HOT cares, not only about the mapping, but as members of a community. How we approach our Strategic Plan will set the tone for the future. There will need to be collaboration with private, public, and non-profit partners alike. Finding common ground with such a diverse community may not be simple, and to be frank, I hope it’s not. A community that can disagree on topics yet still treat each other respectfully and as decent humans, means we have the opportunity to share together in the longevity of HOT.

As HOT continues this process, working with the board, voting members, and staff provides a unique challenge that I am excited to collaborate on, regardless of whether or not I am elected to the HOT board, because know the people of the HOT community will continue to respect each other and expand our impact.

As this is also my last week at the American Red Cross and I look forward to continuing to work with the HOT community, because at the very least, I’ve got a lot #ValidationFriday tweets that need to be tweeted.

I thank you for your consideration.

Matt “Giblet” Gibb