Heather Leson's Diary

Recent diary entries

Evolving Governance at HOT

Posted by Heather Leson on 31 August 2023 in English.

How do we better organize to support the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team organization, staff, membership, and community? We have been on a journey to open up and consider what is the best way forward for HOT’s Governance. Now that we have the HOT Living Strategy, we have more incentive to imagine how we might evolve. We are taking stock of our governance and investigating how we might be able to encourage more people to engage in the governance of HOT.

The HOT Governance Working Group (GWG) started the process of research and engagement with the HOT membership in January 2023. We’ve documented this process in the GWG meeting minutes. Together we designed a terms of reference to hire support to help us research some initial bylaw adjustments and wider organizational needs and structures.

Our first big research is exploring how we govern with the board and to better support the membership chair. There will be future steps and research to consider the role of the membership and how we collaborate with the Open Mapping Hubs.

The board and membership asked us to consider the following topics: the possibility of appointed board members, board member stipends, and membership chair term. See the current HOT bylaws

Why the proposed changes

The HOT voting members have a wide range of skills, and have brought much insight and change to the organization. Currently, HOT’s board is elected from and by the voting membership. Over the past years, HOT board and organization have identified gaps in key expertise for the board, including legal, finance and large-scale fundraising. This has been documented in various OSM diary posts, the HOT board election discussions, and the Board and GWG meeting minutes.

HOT has evolved with many staff members and open mapping hubs. To sustain growth, we identified these skills as essential. Add to this, the HOT board members advised that their roles and responsibilities lead to stress and burnout. Driven by feedback from current and past board members and the HOT organization, we consider it an opportunity to ask - how can we adjust for our global network and keep the momentum of the Audacious funding?

Some background posts on the experiences, activities and recommendations about the HOT board:

Research Recommendations

Members of the HOT governance working group met frequently with the research team, Natalia Norori and Denisse Albornez, to learn about the desktop research, coordinate interviews and have the two engagement meetings. The research team activities included a desktop review, interviews with members and the wider open source network, a membership survey, and two HOT membership engagement meetings. Then, the preliminary report was shared with the members for further comments and then incorporated into the final report’s recommendations. Overall, the activity garnered many insights and provoked many conversations.

We are sharing the research report and slides beyond the HOT membership to extend the review with the wider HOT community, other OpenStreetMap communities, OpenStreetMap Foundation, and other open organizations. The research team also prepared a bylaw explorer to learn how other open organizations function. The resources:

Next steps and opportunities for research

The Governance Working Group received the final report from Natalia and Denisse and agreed with the recommendations for a membership chair term of 2 years and the potential of some appointed board members.

After talking with legal counsel, we deemed a multi-stage approach was necessary. We will have a ballot proposal on the bylaw about the membership chair term for the upcoming HOT elections and the annual general meeting (September/October 2023). We will also update some of our existing bylaws to match the current HOT elections and board practices and procedures.

The draft bylaw proposals will be discussed within the HOT membership. Here is a quick summary:

  • 3.6 Election of the membership chair for a two-year term
  • 4.3 Election procedures updated
  • 4.4 Election nomination process updated
  • 5.8 Update to board processes
  • 5.10 Update to election ballot validation process

The HOT Governance Working Group, with the membership’s guidance, will continue to research and prepare procedures for the potentially appointed board members. We know from membership input that there is an interest in exploring a hybrid board with a majority of voting members and a few appointed board positions. These types of changes need firm procedures to support the organization. We look forward to learning about other organizations on this path.

The overall report has many research questions and opportunities for HOT and other open communities to consider as we become more global. We’d be happy to talk with researchers who are interested in open governance and would be interested in studying this as part of their academic work. Our goal is to continue to build on the HOT Evolving Governance research.

Thank you!

Thanks to Natalia and Denisse for their thorough and engaged research. Thanks also to Allen Gunn, Tobie Langel, and Silona Bonewald for their guidance. Thanks to the 60+ members and a few guests for giving us input. And, lastly, thanks to the Governance Working Group members and HOT staff who have been helping us throughout this process


Chair, HOT Governance Working Group

Location: Kemptville, North Grenville, Leeds and Grenville Counties, Eastern Ontario, Ontario, K0G 1J0, Canada

Getting Started - Türkiye Syrian Earthquake and OSM

Posted by Heather Leson on 11 February 2023 in English. Last updated on 16 February 2023.

Editor note: Written by Heather Leson, Dinar Adiatma, and Can Unen

Having the most up-to-date and accurate map data is crucial for emergency response. The OpenStreetMap community and partners create this to support humanitarians. The OSM data is shared on the Humanitarian Data Exchange and is used to develop information management (IM) products for decision-makers responding to emergencies.

This short note is to help new mappers get started and to encourage data quality. The local Turkish community, Yer Çizenler, and HOTOSM coordinate this activation. For Syria, mapping is more complex as it is a conflict zone. HOT is working closely with OSM colleagues and partners to assess any HOT tasks in Syria carefully. As it is a conflict zone, we will collaborate to ensure that HOTOSM Task Manager OSM contributions cause no harm. We are here to help the helpers. We know that many want to help. We ask that you talk with other mappers to learn and help the responders while respecting the local guidance.

Data quality is important in OpenStreetMap (OSM) because it directly affects the accuracy and usefulness of the map. All data should be fit for purpose, and to make it fit purpose, it requires a minimum gap. Poor data quality can lead to incorrect or outdated information, negatively impacting the people relying on OSM for navigation, planning, and decision-making. Learn more here.

Contacts - The HOT Activation Coordinator contacts can be found on the OSM wiki

New Mappers

Are you new to OSM? This is a complex emergency, and we are glad to help you get started:

  1. See basic videos on how to map via MapGive
  2. Review Learn OSM and see the OSM wiki guidance for this emergency
  3. Observe the daily live stream and join a mapathon
  4. Use the MapRoulette challenges of Yer Çizenlerto tag the collapsed buildings from verified datasets.
  5. Join the HOTOSM slack channels for #disastermapping and #mappersupport
  6. Ask for help - the community is here to support your OSM journey

Intermediate and Expert Mappers

Welcome! Here’s how to get started:

  1. Here are the tasks on HOT Task Manager - UPDATED
  2. Small tasks on MapRoulette via Yer Çizenler and the MapRoulette main page
  3. Due to the large project areas, AI-assisted mapping is encouraged using RapiD Editor
  4. Join the mapathons
  5. Monitor the HOT slack channels
  6. Read all the guidance on the wiki
  7. Help new mappers, give kind feedback, and support the data validation /data quality teams.


Location: Cité, Geneva, 1204, Switzerland

Opening up HOT Governance (help wanted)

Posted by Heather Leson on 27 February 2022 in English. Last updated on 2 March 2022.

Like many open projects/communities/organizations, we are asking questions about how we better organize and engage. We are asking how to get more people involved in our efforts. This post is about seeking help from the community as we shift governance models in Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT). (There is also an update about the Etiquette/Moderation guidelines (see below).)

The “Call to Action” in December 2021 noted the need across OSM’s communities to 1. shift etiquette/moderation (codes of conduct) and 2. adjust governance. In 2021, I participated in a effort to update etiquette and moderation in OSM/OSMF. This year I am leading efforts, as chair of the HOT’s Governance Working Group, to focus on revising HOT governance. As much as I have questions about OSMF and OSM organizational and membership work, this post and my diary entries on governance (going forward) will focus on HOT’s governance.

Both HOT and OMSF have board of directors. There are contributors, supporters, members, partners, and allies across both organizations and the wider community of communities. Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) has a Board of Directors and a Governance Working Group. Overall, getting involved as a volunteer in the organization change and leadership can be daunting. We want to open up and help be more diverse, equitable and inclusive in our governance - the people, the models and the overall way we work.

How you can help

The HOT Governance Working Group (GWG) is exploring how we can be more open, what changes do we need to our governance models and membership engagement. Our goal is to help more people shape our future and potentially be board members or take up other governance roles in the future. For example, the HOT GWG used to be a membership only group. We changed that. The HOT community and allies are most welcome to join us. This year we have some goals:

  • Demystify and socialize why governance in HOT is important
  • Get more people engaged in governance/membership of HOT
  • Collaborate with the HOT (organization, staff, community and membership) shifts that tie to strategy and governance / membership models

We put together these slides to help you get acquainted: Getting involved in HOT Governance -. Comments welcome.

We’d love to have your input as a HOT community supporter or HOT member. (see about getting involved)

Also, perhaps asking to join a Governance Working Group might be a big ask. So here’s a few quick questions:

  • What tips do you have on improving engagement in governance?
  • What guidance do you have for anyone who wants to learn and shape governance?

Update on the Call to action

I co-lead the “Call to Action in December 2020 “. We had asked for OSM/OSMF to make Immediate changes:

  • “The existing “Code of Etiquette” needs to be replaced by a strong and enforceable Code of Conduct for the OpenStreetMap and OpenStreetMap Foundation community and all OSM community channels/spheres (mailing lists, social media, communication channels including Weekly OSM, local and regional chat groups, events, and chapter coordination). This needs a strong implementation approach.”

  • “Restructure governance to be more equitable: an example of this is committing to Board Seat allocation for OSMF members who are women and non-cis males, and who are citizens of Low and Middle Income Countries.”

Update on OSMF and OSM Etiquette and Moderation

After the Call to Action, in January 2021 the OSMF board and Local Chapters and Community Working Group Sub-committee on Etiquette took up the charge to update the OSM etiquette guidelines and suggest a process for moderation. Maggie Crawley, ED of OSM US, our fearless leader, adeptly convened a team of us to write procedures, processes, carry out recruitment, socialization, and conduct consultations. It was one of the most rewarding experiences in my 12 years engaged in OSM. (Special thanks to LCCWG Mod SubCommittee telegam allies - Maggie, Arnalie, Rob, Michal, Steve and a few others. I learned so much.)

You can read about the Etiquette and Moderation items on the wiki.

Status - The LCCWG Sub-Committee on Etiquette delivered this in December 2021. The moderation team was been nominated. You can see the OSMF minutes on the OSMF wiki. I look forward to that being implemented. OSM and OSMF communities deserve these changes.

Onward with thanks,

Location: Cité, Geneva, 1204, Switzerland

We seek your community input - please help us by sharing the Etiquette guidelines and giving input on the OSM wiki by September 8, 2021. We also have some upcoming consultation meetings to hear your views. ## Announcement

The LCCWG moderation subcommittee is holding two online public meetings about the revisions to the current Etiquette Guidelines, which are now open for public comment.

The draft guidelines are found here, with comments open to Sept 8:

Both public online meetings will be held via Big Blue Button in this room:

Two timeslots to accommodate a global audience.

Meeting #1: Thursday September 2; 1400 UTC (your time zone)

7 AM Pacific Time (US) 10 AM Eastern Time (US) 2 PM UTC 4 PM Central European Time

Meeting #2: Saturday, September 4; 06:00 UTC (your time zone)

11:00 PM Pacific Time (US; evening of Sept 3) 02:00 AM Eastern Time (US) 06:00 AM UTC 08:00 AM Central European Time 09:00 Nairobi 11:45 Kathmandu 1300 Jakarta 1400 Manila 1600 Sydney

Give input on the OSM wiki by September 8, 2021

See full details for the Etiquette and moderation process on the wiki -. The draft guidelines are found here, with comments open to Sept 8th, 2021

With thanks on behalf of the subcommittee

Location: Plainpalais, Geneva, 1205, Switzerland

Now is the time - OSM and OSMF Moderation Guidance - your input requested

Posted by Heather Leson on 25 July 2021 in English. Last updated on 26 July 2021.

Over 6 months ago, OpenStreetMap (OSM) and OpenStreetMap Foundation (OSMF) members, community supporters, organizations, and allies called for change in how OSM and OSMF conduct themselves.

We asked:

“The OpenStreetMap Foundation (OSMF) and OpenStreetMap (OSM) need to prioritize diversity and inclusion in positions of power and governance. We recommend a renewal and implementation of an OSM Code of Conduct and deliver on the next recommended stages for a diverse and inclusive OSM and OSMF. We want the OSMF to ask itself: who does it exist to serve? How can we be more open?”

Resource: A Call to Take Action and Confront Systemic Offensive Behaviour in the OSM Community »>The original document»>

The Result:

The OSMF board asked the Local Chapters and Community Working Group (LCCWG) to form a subcommittee on “Moderation”. This group has been meeting and coordinating since January 2021 (lead by Maggie Cawley, OSM US).

“In December 2020, the OpenStreetMap Foundation (OSMF) Board set out to “find partners to help instate a moderator team for the OSMF-talk and talk mailing lists” and in their December 2020 meeting requested that the LCCWG take the lead on this initiative. Subsequently, this group has been formed as a subcommittee of LCCWG. The Moderation Subcommittee is a temporary group of OSM community members working on this Scope of Work via this Implementation Plan. Learn more about participants and find links to any draft documents on the Subcommittee’s page. “

The Ask - Give feedback by August 18, 2021:

The LCCWG Moderation Subcommittee solicits community input on its DRAFT Process for Moderation, which would apply to the osm- and osmf-talk mailing lists. Hosted in the OSM wiki, the Discussion page is open for comments until August 18, 2021.

We know that many OSM users/supporters and OSMF members, do not use the mailing lists (for many reasons). Thus, we ask for your help - please share in your OSM and OSMF networks, including any other mailing lists, telegram channels, slack channels, facebook and/or other spaces. While this moderation work is currently for OSM-talk and OSMF-Talk mailing lists, we can only hope that the culture and community we all aim for can be more safe, healthy, and inclusive.

If you do not feel comfortable giving feedback on the OSM wiki (you can post ‘anonymously’ on the discussion page), I am happy to help.

Thank you in advance and hats off to my fellow LCCWG Sub-Committte on Moderation allies. You are my teachers,


Location: Plainpalais, Geneva, 1205, Switzerland

Here we are again - OSMF election season. A comment on our OSMF-talk governance mailing list caused many OSM communities and individuals to join up for the purpose of the following statement .Signatories and translations are most welcome. See the full document with footnotes and signatories here Let’s do better as a community, project and network.


The OSMF and OSM need to prioritize diversity and inclusion in positions of power and governance. We recommend a renewal and implementation of an OSM Code of Conduct and deliver on the next recommended stages for a diverse and inclusive OSM and OSMF. We want the OSMF to ask itself: who does it exist to serve? How can we be more open? If you would like to sign this statement, you can do so here and your name will be added to the document:

sign the statement here


We write this statement as OSM community groups, contributors and members, in response to systemic aggressive behaviour that demotivates and excludes participation by women and minority groups in OSM, as well as some men and non-binary genders. This behaviour degrades the spirit of open community culture, and damages the OpenStreetMap reputation. The catalyst for statement was the offensive message sent to the OSM-talk list [], but the systemic behaviours described span many years and many people.”

Power dynamics in OSM are controlled by a dominant contributor profile: white, western and male. This power dynamic leads to a communication style which includes misogynistic, hostile, targeting, doxing, unfriendly, competitive, intimidating, patronising messaging, which is offensive to us and forces many of us to remain as observers and without the confidence to participate actively. As a result, many OSM spaces are characterised by white male superiority and toxic meritocracy. Often, we are nervous to engage and participate for fear of retributive comments/behaviour or ‘trial by mailing list’ from this dominant profile. We feel no ‘openness’ to new ways of communicating and participating and this shapes and limits diversity and inclusion in OSM across the spectrum; from tagging to governance.

The OSMF and OSM community state that they welcome diversity (D&I special committee, blog: OpenStreetMap welcomes diversity). Yet, despite these statements, and continual reinforcement that alternate perspectives are ‘listened to’, they are clearly not heard. The OSMF does not engage in strong reflections, structured debates, activities or actions which welcome and codify diversity, inclusion, or lead to equity within OSM.

We believe it is time to reassess how OSM and OSMF are organized and governed. Some OSM-ers state that OSM is a “Do-ocracy”; an even playing field where anyone can “do”. OSM has a systemic issue; in some arenas the “doers” act as gatekeepers who proactively crowd out other voices. The “do-ocracy” prioritises people of privilege; such as those with spare time, senior positions, confidence, access to technology, and fluency in English, amongst others. This approach is actively counterproductive to the diversity and inclusion agenda, as underrepresented minorities are less able and discouraged to participate. The OSMF protects these gatekeepers, and in doing so, perpetuates obstacles which works against the diversity agenda and core principles of ‘open.’ Currently, convincing women, non-binary genders, and OSMers in Low and Middle Income Countries to apply for and engage in the dominant power structures in OSM (the Board and Working Groups) is an impossible task. It requires asking our friends and colleagues to participate in a structure which is actively aggressive and combative towards them. We need to move beyond “please invite your friends to apply” and towards addressing why so few women and members of minority groups want to, or feel able to, apply.

Some argue that Codes of Conduct counter free speech. We strongly disagree. We want to achieve a safe, equal, healthy, and inclusive OSM; an open space which encourages a wide range of opinions and an effective exchange of ideas, free from any abusive or discriminatory practices. A CoC does not stifle that, it establishes it. Right now discussion is actively limited by lack of a CoC. Efforts to instill a Community Code of Conduct have been unsuccessful to date. We encourage the OSMF and OSM to be inspired by the various safe and friendly spaces in OSM - for example, Reddit, Geochicas Telegram Groups, HOT Slack, and many other spaces where collaboration and learning is happening in a positive and respectful way.

As OSM community members and OSMF members we have, for years, cited/documented examples, held workshops, SOTM sessions, and tried to campaign for changes that would improve diversity and increase contributions. People claim to listen, but we are not heard, and the OSMF Board and Working Groups remains consistently led by white western men. Requests for a Code of Conduct, due to behaviour during OSMF Elections, were dismissed by the Board in 2017. Multiple subsequent requests for a Code of Conduct have since also been dismissed by the board.

We feel that there is a clear gap between the rhetoric of the OSMF on diversity and inclusion and the will / action to actually engender change. In light of this, we want to ask the OSMF: who does it exist to serve and how can OSM be ‘open’ in ethos and culture, and not just in data? We believe that this would require applying the values of Transparency, Inclusivity, Adaptability, Collaboration, and Community, to the OSM ecosystem as a whole.

Path Forward

We ask the OSMF to coordinate a sincere self-analysis on these limitations. We ask the OSMF to develop permanent mechanisms to address these. Signatories of this document are ready to help to achieve these:

Immediate changes:

  1. The existing “Code of Etiquette” needs to be replaced by a strong and enforceable Code of Conduct for the OpenStreetMap and OpenStreetMap Foundation community and all OSM community channels/spheres (mailing lists, social media, communication channels including Weekly OSM, local and regional chat groups, events, and chapter coordination). This needs a strong implementation approach .
  2. Restructure governance to be more equitable: an example of this is committing to Board Seat allocation for OSMF members who are women and non-cis males, and who are citizens of Low and Middle Income Countries.

Changes to form part of OSMFs agenda over the coming 1-2 years:

  1. Make Working Groups and OSM activities more equitable: the Diversity and Inclusion special committee should actively work to consult, analyze and understand the structural limitations of under-represented people to participate, though permanent consultation and communication mechanism, and improve openness in the Working Groups and OSM activities.
  2. Official governance roles should be accountable to diversity and inclusion: OSMF Board and Working Group members should take Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) training, and sign D&I statements. This should also be available to all local chapters and community members.
  3. Support Diversity and equality for Local Chapters, recognizing that constituencies have different legal frameworks and contexts.
  4. Create an Inclusive Framework for Board Members to explicitly be aware of the accountabilities regarding DEI with their roles. A non-partisan community facilitator could support with this.

We would like to build a coalition to address this, and to proactively work on the requests we have laid out together. Diversity in participation, contributions, and voice are critical to the success and health of the OSM and OSMF community. Equality in OSM is needed to make the map more inclusive, more diverse and more representative. This can happen with all our combined efforts.

Thank you

On behalf of the signatories.

Location: Cité, Geneva, 1204, Switzerland

Upcoming OMSF board elections

Posted by Heather Leson on 25 October 2020 in English.

Dear colleagues,

OpenStreetMap Foundation is holding board elections soon. You would need to be a member to run. (That deadline has long passed).

Are you thinking of running? Why and why not? Please do you homework - talk with current or past board members. Let’s talk. Feel free to post a response here or reach out directly heatherleson AT gmail DOT com.

The OSMF Board has done great work this year. It is a relief to see such teamwork from the outside. I say this because it is something that is needed to support OSM.

For a global project, we continue to have a diversity and inclusion barrier in governance. I would like to encourage women and people from other regions to run for the OSMF Board.

And when the election nominations and voting begin - please consider what a true global board could be as part of your decision-making.

Thank you for all your passion for this project.

Location: Petit-Saconnex et Servette, Geneva, 1209, Switzerland

Congratulations HOT and OSM

Posted by Heather Leson on 18 June 2020 in English.

The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) and its vision to put the most vulnerable people on the map is almost as old as OpenStreetMap (OSM) itself. Over the past 10 years HOT as an organization has focused on programmatic funding and work to accomplish this goal. We are delighted to learn that the Audacious Project is supporting HOT to continue to nourish the growing OSM community globally for humanitarian and development response. This will allow the HOT community and organization to work towards that vision on its own terms and with a longer horizon in mind.

When HOT was envisioned the community network dreamed that mapping would be very local and support humanitarian action.

“The Audacious Project is an initiative that shows what humanity can accomplish when bold ideas meet visionary, generous supporters. Now in its second year, The Audacious Project invites visionary social entrepreneurs and nonprofits to dream big — and helps to shape those dreams into multi-year plans that are both viable and sustainable. The project then invites its coalition of partners — which includes leading nonprofits and individual donors, along with the public — to pool their resources and work together in service of these ambitious ideas. The goal is to amplify the impact of the world’s change-makers and change-funders, and move forward ideas with the potential to impact lives at thrilling scale. The Audacious Project is housed at TED, the nonprofit dedicated to “Ideas Worth Spreading.” About Audicious Project

HOT and Local Communities

HOT’s Announcement


HOT will use this to invest in local mapping communities, improved data and technology and supporting the overall connection between people and their map. We are excited that HOT will be able to invest in OSM and open source community development around the world. They aim to be a good citizen of the OSM project while providing local sustainable and peer-to-peer distributive networks. HOT’s commitment to communities mapping themselves shows how we might support OSM to someday represent the whole world.

The openness to meet with and grow with the community is key to the success in realizing the goals of the Audacious Project. We are delighted to support this vision.

Congratulations to HOT and OSM. Thank you, Audacious project.

HOT Members and OSMF members * Kate Chapman, Co-Founder and Former Executive Director of HOT and previous OpenStreetMap Foundation Board Member * Heather Leson, Past Board Member and Past-President of HOT and previous OpenStreetMap Foundation Board Member

Location: Jonction, Geneva, 1200, Switzerland

Going forward - Building community in OSM

Posted by Heather Leson on 9 April 2020 in English. Last updated on 8 December 2020.

Hi! I trust that you are resting well during this difficult time.

A few of us edited at track for State of the Map all about community engagement, diversity and inclusion. With SOTM making format changes, It seems that the best way forward is to host online discussions for our community based on the following. Stay tuned.

And, again, maps connect us, let’s find ways to support the community of global mappers. Thanks!

Community and Foundation Track - SOTM 2020

Summary This series of SOTM workshops will help us plan and coordinate in person followed by online sessions. These sessions work as a companion to each other building on the who, why and how methods of community building. We aim to be as inclusive as possible across OSM - developers, mappers, technologists, community organizers and more. We want to collaborate with the community to formulate documentation and measurable indicators out of these concurrent workshops.

Co-organizers - Heather and Trudy. Others most welcome.

Key words community, contributions, diversity, gender, leadership, coordination, collaboration, documentation, support, training, governance

community, contribution, collaboration, documentation, governance

Submitted 1800 CET Sunday Feb. 23

Session 1 - Collaborating across Contributors 1 hour

In this 1 hour session, we will discuss and map out the types of contributors to OSM. We will talk about values and spaces to support all the types of contributions to the OSM project.

This interactive session will involve 3 parts and small group work: Small groups - we will learn about “why we contribute to OSM” - 10 minutes User journeys - we will divide into 3 - 4 groups to document the user journeys of the various types of contributions. - 30 minutes Discussing ways to document and make suggestions for improvements 20 minutes Report back and next steps.

Outcomes - all the content will be added to the OSM wiki and be used for future sessions during SOTM as well as other online efforts to support our beautiful community. If we can, we would very much like to have a user experience colleague join and/or an artist to show the stories and examples in a visual way.

Session 2 - Diversity Working Group Space - 1 hour

Diversity is important in a global community. For the past few SOTMs, we have hosted discussions around gender and diversity. This has included a safe place for people to reflect about their experiences. It has been very important for c ommunity members to have a space to reflect on their needs and health of the community. This space will focus on how we might enable dialogue across all the various beautiful contributors in OSM. We’ve had between 30 - 40 people join us on this journey since 2016. With the inception of the Diversity Working Group, we can use this session to build on the needs of the network to share their stories while we co-create activities to support diversity and growth of OSM.

We will link to the existing work plan of the diversity working group. During this session, we will assess priorities and provide next step guidance from this session. In a globally diverse community, it is complex to capture input via all the diverse community channels. Often people prefer to talk in person.

Format We will start with 3-4 quick interventions/stories to frame ‘diversity’ - these will come from community members to help set the tone about what diversity means and why we need to focus on this in OSM.

After the interventions, we will break into small groups to talk about how we better address some of the issues and advocate for a collaborate approach. Some of the expected topics might include - gender, localization/language, and global community

[1] [2]

Session 3 - Chaoss and Healthy community metrics 1 hour

What are the ways that we can build data-driven community engagement and healthy checkpoints in OSM? An example of good community collaboration and metrics done in OSM is Weekly OSM. How can we learn from their practices to support data workflows - both qualitative and quantitative to support all the types of community contributors? In other open projects, they are embracing the practice of building out healthy metrics to support the core values of the projects. OSM is very data-driven. How can we analyze the needed metrics and ‘checkpoints’ across OSM “the map” , “the Data”, “the Working Groups,” and “the board.” What are the ways that we can ‘lightly’ enable this type of data?

Outcome: Some recommendations on how to build metrics into OSM to support healthy community activities. A detailed work plan with indicators will be put in place so that we follow this to measure our success. All these indicators will be assigned to volunteers who will be responsible for them and will be updating the wiki. OSM has many tools to support the project. As such, if there are developers who want to help us build a community metrics zone this might be a longer term goal.

Examples from FOSDEM

Location: Plainpalais, Geneva, 1205, Switzerland

Last week I joined 1000s of other open advocates for 2 full days of It was good to run into open source friends and OSM allies (Thanks OSM-be for the meetup). The event is actually bigger than 2 days if you count some of the pre-days which were very applicable (SustainOSS and Chaoss).

All the videos/slides are online, so as we consider how we might help OpenStreetMap and OpenStreetMap Foundation communities/members/working groups/board, please do consider reviewing.

Sustain OSS


Community Metrics:

Data-driven change is close to OSM’s culture. For the past years, I’ve been writing that we need a community strategy that uses data as part of our toolkit. The good news is that the Chaoss community health project is doing this. We could learn from them. This could build on the work from last year’s OSM survey, Manfred’s post on statistics, and our concerns noted in the OSM SWOT analysis. There are working groups across “open” communities on Common Metrics, Diversity and Inclusion, Evolution, Risk, and Value. I missed attending this full pre-FOSDEM day event, but all the slides are online:

Chaoss 2020

It would be good for a few of us to engage more with this network. Happy to co-work on this front.

Why do people Contribute?

The talk by James Bottomley on the Selfish Contributor was fascinating. On the one side, it was good to see a framing on the ‘ego’ of one type of contributor. My main concern about the talk is that it reinforced tropes on who contributes and why. He did not cover the heart of community responsibility or community health. We all need to be active in making this a safe, fun, inclusive, and healthy network. Overall, it was good to walk in this line of thinking.

Video: The Selfish Contributor

The legal and policy room was a full day of license, governance, and ethical considerations. Some of the items are recorded, but if you are going to watch one talk, especially the OSM License Working Group. It would be important to consider the implications for OSM:

Oracle v. Google: What are the implications for FOSS?

Community DevRoom

Honestly, just watch all the talks. I’m going to curate a “community developer track” for SOTM. If you would like to join, let Trudy and I know.

Community DevRoom

Some of my quick highlights:

The GeoSpatial room was full on Sunday am, so glad to see Ilya’s talk online. Really thankful for the FOSDEM community and organizers. I highly recommend going and actively participating.

Location: 06340, Şafaktepe Mahallesi, Mamak, Ankara, Central Anatolia Region, Turkey

Way forward on Diversity and SWOT?

Posted by Heather Leson on 26 January 2020 in English.

Over the past years, we’ve hosted sessions at State of the Map, we had some online discussions, and the diversity mailing list provided a space for some discussion and planning. The work of Geochicas has done tremendous headway on what might be possible.

Here are some of the ideas around Diversity that were collected from a small group that met between 2016 - 2018:


  • OSM Women Chapter- space, mailing list
  • Code of Conduct, guidance for OSM
  • Consultation spaces - SOTM global, SOTM Asia, Digital
  • Co-Created Draft - what is needed in it
  • Implementation - How to get there
  • Timeline between 2 - 3 years


  • Gender-sensitivity training for men / coaching & mentoring for male allies
  • Focus on recognition / celebration of women’s accomplishments (versus just opening up positions that have “duties” associated for example)
  • Review and revise historical narrative of how OSM / HOT came to be to be sure to include the contributions of women who helped pioneer it but have been overlooked (OSM wiki page?)
  • More mapping campaigns around issues of women & girls
  • Talking points, recipes for diversity to assist supporters
  • Ambassadors to help guide the tone to positive and inclusive [HOT resolution process(
  • Promote more leadership by women and individuals from underrepresented places


  • Tone of the mailing list
  • Backlash
  • History of the community / momentum
  • Bureaucracy of OSM, Working Groups
  • Vote approved?
  • Enforced how?
  • Cultural differences / communication, language
  • Lack of familiarity with gender and inclusion best practices
  • Timezones
  • To keep evolving as the challenges that OSM faces continuously change, along with the challenges that women face change too


Discussions of late shine the light on ways forward and gaps:

The SWOT analysis highlights the need for professional, dedicated research and consultation planning to support OSM and OSMF to prioritize, gain more evidence, plus aid the community to build a plan and way forward. I stated this previously, but want to reiterate that while an open conversation is an excellent start, there needs to be a plan to build trust and not just ‘talk about it’. This onus is not only on the board.

What will this community do to move from talking to next stages?

Location: Plainpalais, Geneva, 1205, Switzerland

OSMF elects all Male, Northern Board

Posted by Heather Leson on 16 December 2019 in English. Last updated on 26 January 2020.

Here we are on the cusp of 2020. OSMF has elected a new board. Congratulations. But, now we have an all male, all northern/western board for a global open map, open source, and open data community & project.

Over the past years, I have stated quietly (posts, events, face-to-face conversations) that there is a power imbalance. Change happens in governance, I thought, so I ran and lead on both the HOT and OSMF boards to try to address some of this. Passive responses to the issues of gender imbalance, inclusion and diversity of governance have received the following types of responses:

  1. It is up to the ‘community.’
  2. It is up to the working groups.
  3. Prove that there are issues. I don’t see any issues.

Leading up to this last election, I talked with many people to ask them to run. Women would not do so due to toxic environment, power imbalances, reputation targeting, and emotionally draining conversations. This was also the same case cited by leaders from the global majority (sometimes called the global south). People from Asia and Africa told me - the culture of governance in OSM/OSMF is not professional and would not be productive. Simply put - communication is hard in OSM and we need to recognize this.

The gender diversity of the membership a few years ago is about 10 - 12% (I reviewed and hand coded/searched this data from the Membership working group.) Kate Chapman and I wrote about OSM community to cite these gap and outline the ‘community of communities.’ [1] We tried on the volunteer board to talk about this in the sea of all the other priorities. With allies on the diversity mailing list, we’ve hosted sessions about experiences and needs at State of the Map.

What is an open organization?

Being “open” is more than the code or the data. It is about the community around it.

“While every organization is different—and therefore every example of an open organization is unique—we believe these five characteristics serve as the basic conditions for openness in most contexts[2]:

  • Transparency
  • Inclusivity
  • Adaptability
  • Collaboration
  • Community”


So here are my recommendations to shift OSMF:


  1. Codify it - The Articles of Association need to state that women and global regional members are on the board.
  2. Codify it - The Working Groups need to have women and global regional members.

Community engagement

  1. Hire- a community manager to do a proper community strategy and implement it. [2] If you don’t want OSMF to hire staff, ask one of the companies to ‘second’ / hire one for us.
  2. Research - procure a research team (pay) to do an inclusive and through assessment on gender, inclusion, and diversity. This person reports to the diversity mailing list and local chapters.
  3. Change the OSM sign up to have optional gender identification when people sign up. Or, reverse engineer and allow us to self-identify. For a data project, we are surely not data driven on community engagement.

We can no longer wait for a volunteer board and overworked working groups. This continues to be bigger than the current membership and community. It is a large, beautiful open project that needs to be a leader in a global space. It needs to be inclusive as a map, as a project, in its governance, and in its community.

Thank you to all those who champion for OSM to be a better place.




Location: Saint-Jean et Charmilles, Geneva, Switzerland

Reflections on OSMF

Posted by Heather Leson on 19 November 2019 in English.

Thank you for the opportunity to be your OSMF board member these past two years. The experience has been full of teaching moments while I attempted to support this beautiful project and community. It has been an honour to meet people from around the world in this community of communities. I am thankful for all the support and efforts to make OSM a healthy, global open project. It is a testament to the passion for the project. With that, I am sharing some reflections:

Board Dynamics

Boards are often a convergence of different skills, opinions, and ‘constituencies’. As with any board and/or team, there are differences in work style, time/effort, and opinion. One thing I have learned is to try to see the ‘middle ground’ or ‘middle way’. How can we meet each other half-way? Yet, the ‘my way or the highway’ mentality is no stranger to technical communities and OSMF has it in spades. [1] It is evident that each of my fellow board members (past and present) truly care about OSM. There were times when we really managed to collaborate with each other. There were other times that things went awry. Some of the conversations/debates left me completely exhausted and unable to dig in more due to the sheer volume and tone of the back/forth. In some circles, this is called ‘win by wearing down the others’. We need to find ways to negotiate more, not just in the board, but in the whole community. It is not a productive or healthy use of our time and mandate.

Being a board member is a volunteer contribution. It is time that this board and the OSMF community considers how to better equip themselves to be ‘fit for the future?’ Some of my fellow board members have done ‘hero’ efforts this year to ‘keep the lights on’. The reasons for this includes personality, passion for the project, and the need to fill sheer organizational gaps. There are some blurred lines between ‘role of board’ and ‘role of board members who are on working groups’ and ‘role of the community.’ [2] This is expected as we evolve. The adhoc and stressful approach of being a sometimes ‘operational board’ vs, as some would have it, ‘a board that just keeps the lights on’, is no longer sufficient to support the project. We need the board, working groups, advisory group, and the community to prioritize OSM in a more cohesive and coordinated way. The board should be a ‘strategic board’ rather than ‘operational’. In order to do this, we need to adjust.

Governance and leadership can be helpful

Organizations are in place to provide governance, leadership[3], planning and strategy. OSMF, as a culture, finds these concepts often wrought with opinion which fray action. For two years, I brought up the topic of OSMF building a strategy for the community and the project. This was not welcomed due to a multitude of reasons. The main argument against this was that ‘OSMF and OSM are organic and should only act like this’. The argument continues that “OSMF is governed by the working groups.” Yet, the working groups do not often meet, collaborate, and plan across the whole project. There are no overarching OSM and OSMF project maps, product(s) map and/or community strategy. As such, some of the complex issues and root causes of problems fester and are not addressed. I’ve been involved in open organization governance for well over a decade. In other open organizations, they have made the switch to be more ‘proactive’ rather than ‘reactive’. Being “open” means considering how to be transparent, inclusive, adaptable, collaborative and community-oriented.[4] These organizations have done this shift because it was time and because the health of the project precipitated it. I thought that the Board was the best place to work on this. This was not feasible yet given the culture and/or opinion of the board or some vocal community members.

I’ve been left with more questions than answers: How can OSM and OSMF really safeguard/improve/grow the project while being more healthy? What if the OSMF board actually functioned like a board of a large open project? What if staff were encouraged to support the large project? If the membership does not want OSMF to have staff, could we have ‘seconded’ help via the local chapters and/or corporate helpers that report to the working groups? What if we actually learned and listened to how other open projects worked to support the diversity and the strategic needs? [5]

Working Groups and governance

The working group members are amazing. But why aren’t more people joining the working groups? Why do people despise the mailing lists? Why do people state that they would never get involved in the governance of the project? If the governance of OSMF is to be ‘strategic’ and the working groups are to be ‘operational,’ why are we not talking about the need for ‘hero efforts’ to solve issues? Why are some items never addressed? Why are we not growing working groups and local chapters to truly support the project, product set, and community? If there was a product/technical project plan/group, would it help us negotiate the various tool sets that support OSM? I’m not sure another working group is the issue here. The suggestion that OSM needs a Director of Technology is also exciting, but again, how are we planning for this type of change?[6] It is the ‘organic’ nature that is causing us to not be coordinated and collaborative. I was super shocked at the pushback on having a community strategy and engagement plan. If there are governance and working group fires, it is because we have not been structured to truly have open governance and we have not built a healthy ecosystem to have new ideas/people engaged. Again, the people in leadership roles in board, working groups, local chapters, and events, are doing amazing efforts. But, while other open organizations are planning and supporting, OSMF is somewhat stuck.

When I asked people at SOTM if they would run for OSMF board and/or get involved in working groups, the responses were familiar: don’t want to deal with the toxic masculinity[7], toxic meritocracy, [insert name dynamics], gender imbalance, targeting of leaders, drama, games, ‘us vs them’ mentality, and time suck.

Community Engagement and Etiquette

For the past week, I’ve been delighted by social media posts from around the world hosting OSM events. All the while, I’ve been pondering what to write here about my time as your OSMF Board member. This week the Community Map of ‘channels’ was published. This is a fantastic example of why and how OSM must shift to be more collaborative and open. There is still an unhelpful perception that the community is the ‘mailing lists’ and that decisions from the ‘community’ stem from free and open dialogue on the mailing lists. It is clear that the power centers, governance, and planning/decision-making mechanisms needs to shift to reflect how we might be a true open, global community. What do we want from the OSM community?[8]

Healthy and Inclusive conversations

During the 2017 election, I filed a complaint about how I was treated. I found out that while there is a ‘etiquette guidance’, there was no recourse for me. How does this make for a healthy, inclusive environment if there are issues and no way to address them? People told me that they would never get involved in OSM/OSMF governance (board, working groups or local chapters) because this ‘implicit acceptance’ of bad and toxic behaviour. After an attempt to lobby the board for a ‘code of conduct’, I gave up this initial change request due to the lack of support. It is shocking considering how OSM/OSMF does not change yet other open organizations are working to improve community health and reduce toxic masculinity. So, instead of continuing to champion a code of conduct, I joined up with others to build the ‘example base’ and ‘dialogue’ to improve spaces for people to talk. I’ve joined up with colleagues via the Diversity mailing list and at State of the Map(s) to host conversations around inclusion, diversity and gender in OSM. This is something I will continue. [9]

If we want OSM and OSMF to change, then we have to find a way to broach needs together. The OSM global communities are doing amazing things, but many are not keen to get involved in governance (board, working groups, chapters) are also acqueancing (accepting the status quo). I knew that being on the board would be hard, but I tried. The OSM community of communities is incredibly inspiring. The only way to shift these dynamics is if we, collectively, help make that happen.





[5] And


[7] and

[8] community management research


Location: Jonction, Geneva, 1200, Switzerland

Diversity and Inclusion in OSM

Posted by Heather Leson on 15 September 2019 in English.

We’re hosting an open discussion about “Diversity and Inclusion” in OSM at State of the Map.

“How can OSM be more diverse and inclusive? What can we do to improve this across all the various OSM spaces, including OSM governance? Diversity is the range of human differences, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social class, physical ability or attributes, religious or ethical values system, national origin, and political beliefs. Join us to share your lessons and ideas on how we might grow and support a Diversity and Inclusive approach in OSM. There are Diversity and Inclusion groups across other ‘open’ communities. OSM has a diversity talk mailing list. This will be the place where the community can continue to connect after SOTM.” full session details

The goal of the session is to give space for the OSM community to talk about their needs and to plan a way forward to supporting OSM on this journey. We will do this with small group discussions to support shared dialogue.

Details: Sunday, September 22, 2019 1400 - 1500 CEST Kleiner Hörsaal

You can learn more about our planning here

This session is being co-hosted by the Diversity mailing list colleagues.

See you there!

Location: Cité, Geneva, 1204, Switzerland

Opening up about Gender in OSM

Posted by Heather Leson on 16 July 2018 in English.

Thanks for the ongoing discussions about gender in OSM. At SOTM, we will build on our shared efforts to make improvements. Your support and participation is most welcome. At SOTM we will host the Open Gender Monologues. Our allies, GeoChicas, are also running a session on diversity.

Three ways you can become involved in the Open Gender Monologues:

  1. Submit your experiences (optional to be anonymous) for us to read at SOTM on July 28th. We want to be sure that your voice is heard, even if you can’t join us in person. add your experiences here

  2. Join us in person on July 28th to share your experiences. Just let Heather and Kate know so that we can add you to the agenda of speakers. SOTM - Open Gender Monologues session

  3. Be an ally - share this diary entry on your local/topical mailing lists and social media. We want to reach as many people as possible.

Thank you and see you soon

Location: Saint-Jean et Charmilles, Geneva, Switzerland

Sharing our experiences can help us shape where we want to go. Over the past months, I have been approached by many people wanting to talk about the ‘community gaps’ or the ‘diversity’ issues in OSM. On the Diversity-talk mailing list, we’ve touched on the topics and aim to support each other. How can we become more welcoming in OSM? What are the steps we can take to be more ‘open’ with each other, and to new people?

Experiences in OSM

Open Gender Monologues is a way to share our collective stories. We want to raise awareness on gender issues in OSM. We’d love to hear your story, your experiences. You can share anonymously or with your name. We also welcome anyone who would like to share in person at the SOTM Open Gender Monologues session. And, if you want to have your story read, we can help. Here is a 3 minute survey to contribute and details on the session:

There are amazing, generous people doing fantastic things in OSM. This is what I would love to hear people consistently say about OSM. And, often, they do. But, the other side of the feedback/experience, is sometimes less helpful for OSM’s mission. There are issues with how OSM collectively manages diversity, inclusion, and community engagement. To what extent are we “open”? It is not simply about the license, the open data, or FOSS. It is a mentality and a culture of “openness”. Only by fully understanding and talking about the problems, can we productively move beyond it.

It might seem that there is just one or two stories. That has not been my understanding. The under current statements follow a pattern: “oh, ignore the tone on OSM mailing lists”, “it is not you, this is how the community has always talked with each other”, “cold response”, or “mailing lists are sometimes hard” or “it is just one or two people. Ignore them.” Honestly, if people’s experiences in OSM less than kind and welcoming, then we are not doing as well as we could.

Be an ally

Can you share the survey across the OSM community? It would be helpful for supporters and allies of OSM to also share their experiences with OSM.

Share Open Gender experiences

OSM in the Open

What are the experiences in the wider ‘open communities’ around OSM? Last week I read this article OSM should be the priority of the open source community. Yes, and, on the flip side how can OSM learn from those communities?

About Open Gender Monologues @ SOTM

We’ll host a session at the State of Map - Milan (July 28 - 30, 2018) This session will not be like any usual panel. We want to raise awareness of the struggles and successes of women and LGBTQ in the OpenStreetMap community - using their own words and experiences. Open Heroines is a global community supporting diversity in open communities. We share voices of women in open government, open data and civic tech.

The session is being co-hosted by Kate Chapman and Heather Leson.

Location: Cité, Geneva, 1204, Switzerland

GDPR Primer for OSMF

Posted by Heather Leson on 27 April 2018 in English.

There are new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), sometimes coined the “Eu Data Protection Regulations,” come into effect on May 25, 2018. All organizations, companies, and entities operating in the EU will be required to adhere or, at minimum, have preparedness plans. The GDPR is considered a “gold standard” which other countries outside the EU may adopt. The OSMF License Working Group prepared a detailed white paper about GDPR. This post is a compilation of resources to support the ongoing OSMF conversation.

Give me a Quick summary about GDPR Preparedness

This 2 -page checklist explains some of the considerations.

Surely, someone has made summaries for NGOs and not-for-profits? Yes!

Responsible Data Forum: top 5 considerations: 1. Responsibility and rights are foundational to the GDPR 2. The scope of the GDPR is broad, going beyond Europe 3. The GDPR broadens the definition of ‘personal data’ 4. Prepare for data audits now 5. The GDPR strengthens the rights of data subjects 6. For organisations, this is operational

Digital Impact (Stanford) Digital Impact is an initiative of the Digital Civil Society Lab at the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (Stanford PACS). Their summary of key articles:

Got it, Show me a legal analysis

Access Now has a great article:

What are some Data Hygiene considerations

Are you tracking:

  • Basic identity information such as name, address and ID numbers
  • Web data such as location, IP address, cookie data and RFID tags
  • Health and genetic data
  • Biometric data
  • Racial or ethnic data
  • Political opinions
  • Sexual orientation

Ok, how can I prepare?

The FutureLearn GDPR Online course suggests:

  • Try to think about who deals with personal data in your company or organisation.
  • Try to identify the nature of the data and the purposes for which they are collected or processed.
  • Try to think about which processes are mandatorily followed in your company or organisation when handling the data.
  • How are data safeguarded?
  • What is the red tape that is likely to arise when changing the ways how people work and how can it be addressed?
  • Do you need structural changes? Do you need to appoint a Data Protection Officer? Which competences should he or she have in your organisation and how could he or she best be placed in the organigram?
  • Go even further. Identify your weak and strong points. Now, you know the obligations that the GDPR introduces for data controllers and processors. Step into action ensuring that you, your company or organisation complies with these obligations and avoid potential liabilities or sanctions.

Give me some key definitions:

  • Consent: Explain why collecting the data, what will be done with it. Ask for permission Anonymization encompasses techniques that can be used to ensure that data sets containing Personal Data are fully and irreversibly anonymized so that they do not relate to an identified or identifiable natural person, or that the Data Subject is not or no longer identifiable.
  • Data Subject means a natural person (i.e. an individual) who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to Personal Data *Personal Data means any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person. (eg. Name, religion, address, bank information, etc)
  • Processing means any operation or set of operations which is performed on Personal Data or sets of Personal Data, whether or not by automated means, such as collection, recording, organization, structuring, storage, adaptation or alteration, retrieval, consultation, use, disclosure by transmission, dissemination or otherwise making available, alignment, combination or erasure.
  • Data Controller means the person or organization who alone or jointly with others determines the purposes and means of the Processing of Personal Data. A Data Controller is the person who alone or jointly with others determines the purposes and means of the Processing of Personal Data, while a Data Processor is the person who processes Personal Data on behalf of the Data Controller. Finally, a Third Party is any natural or legal person, public authority, agency or any other body other than the Data Subject, the Data Controller, or the Data Processor. source: ICRC Handbook on Data Protection in Humanitarian Action
  • Data Processor means the person or organization who processes Personal Data on behalf of the Data Controller.
  • Right to privacy Tell people how their data will be used/processed

Other resources or edit suggestions welcome

Location: Innenstadt-West Westlicher Teil, Innenstadt-West, Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg, 76133, Germany

Building an inclusive map - OSM and gender discussion

Posted by Heather Leson on 8 March 2018 in English. Last updated on 9 March 2018.

Today is International Women’s Day. It is timely that I share notes from our recent OSM and Gender discussion. About 20 women and allies joined to talk about gender issues in OSM. Some of the topics we touched on were: research on gender in OSM, gender experiences, code of conduct and next steps.

Some quotes on why having an OSM and Gender dialogue matters:

“I believe the map represents the world and the contributors to that map should all be representative. “ “Discuss/Learn what to avoid and what to do on regular basis to improve diversity.” “I joined because the tone on the mailing lists is not right.” “I’m part of Geochicas and we work towards having more participation of women in the community. We encourage women to create and be part of mapping projects lead by them.”

Over all, we aim to support a safe and inclusive OSM. This means collaborating with each other and you, the OSM community and the OSM supporters.

What does the data tell us?

Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team performed a community survey. Of the 267 people who responded, 27% were women. In addition, HOT microgrants/device grants went to 40-45% women.

The YouthMappers community data - We estimate that about 40% of our 5,000 students are female from annual chapter reports. We also see that 25% of our 113 chapters in 35 countries have more than 50% female participation.

It is complex to give accurate and representative quantity of data on gender balance in OSM. For a community that focuses on tagging information to improve the ‘dataset’, it is very clear that there low focus on the baseline data in the demographic makeup of the contributor community. There is a misunderstanding on the need to achieve gender equality in OSM. In fact, there are some people are offended and challenged by this. The GeoChicas community is trying to obtain gender representation and relations data via a survey. Other research efforts continue to explore this topic. Participants on the call discussed how to get more data on the community to help support change and more equality.

How does the data differ (tagging, pathways by gender) and is it in the taxonomy?

At State of the Map Brussels 2016, there was a great talk about [gender and tagging/mapping] ( in OSM. On the call, we reflected on the progress of this discussion and the need to support efforts to ensure that the data of OSM is more inclusive.

The video of the talk Another good resource on tagging and gender

How the can the community improve on mailing lists - tone, attitudes?

Reflecting on the state of the OSM community, participants cited a sick culture, hostile, not welcoming for women and other genders. There have been frequent examples of this over the years. We cited some personal stories and then moved on to the question about: “how can we improve this?” We agreed that mailing lists need to moderated and that we all need to encourage a healthy experience on any OSM list. Some colleagues suggested that we move discussions to other places where there is moderation and where good etiquette is encouraged and supported. Perhaps we need to encourage moderation training and reminders for each list to support a culture of discussion without attacks. One person suggested that moderators could have a telegram private group in case of not being able to have a private list.

Code of Conduct

OSM has an [etiquette guidance}(, but it is not enforced and sometimes not regarded. Participants of the OSM and Gender dialogue talked about reinforcing this with a Code of Conduct. In our discussion, we highlighted that there have been multiple conversations on the mailing list about this idea both ‘for’ and ‘against’. Colleagues from Public Lab shared their code of conduct as an example. Here is more about Public Lab’s code. There are many examples of community management tactics plus codes across open communities. here is a list of resources

It is very clear that there are ongoing issues in terms of tone and inclusive in OSM. Even though it was not a question posed by the HOT survey, a participant reported back that people cited it as an issue. “some participants mentioned they uncomfortable on mailing lists and OSMF mailing list.”

Another participant mentioned: “There isn’t a baseline of acceptable and non-acceptable speech. All the things that a code of conduct needs to describe.”

Next Steps

  1. Help wanted - can someone help lead an OSM and Gender discussion in a West coast Americas and Asia-friendly timezone? Just contact Heather or Kate to let us know. Or, leave a comment below.
  2. We will keep in touch in various places, including the Diversity-talk mailing list. Join us.
  3. Be an ally and help support positive interactions on all OSM community spaces.
  4. Join working groups and mailing lists. Encourage each other to support a positive OSM.
  5. Encourage all genders to map and consider how women and other genders can be represented by the big and wonderful OSM (the map and the global community).
  6. Help the GeoChicas community survey outreach (Twitter handle: @GeochicasOSM - Telegram Channel @Geochicasosm - Feel free to join, is mostly Spanish speaking women, but you are more than welcome to share your opinions with us!) Gender representation and relations survey: German: Spanish: French: English: Portuguese:

On a final note, Kate and I wrote an article for the Open Organization Workbook about OSM and the community. In the piece, we reflected on some ideas on how OSM could be more inclusive. These OSM and Gender discussions build on this - we can all improve OSM and support each other.

Thanks to all the participants in the discussion. And, to all the allies in this ongoing conversation. Happy International Women’s Day.

Heather and Kate

Location: Kilimani Estate, Kilimani division, Westlands, Nairobi, Nairobi County, Nairobi, Kenya

How can we improve the gender balance in participation and in map content? There are some amazing leaders and best practices across the global OSM community.

Before the holidays, we had a vibrant conversation on the OMSF mailing list about gender in OSM. Some great examples of inclusive participation include GeoChicas, YouthMappers, and Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team. It would be great to hear from women and other genders that are often rare voices. With such a large community, we know that there are more people doing great activities to improve engagement.

Kate Chapman and I would like to invite OSM to join us for an online discussion about OSM and Gender. Given that women and other genders are a often a smaller group in OSM, we ask that this conversation start with us. Then, we will be sure to include the wider community.

Some of the potential topics could be: opportunities and challenges to be more inclusive, program ideas to support diversity in OSM. We will define the agenda and next steps in the call. Then, we will report back via OSM diary entries.

Here is a Doodle to be filled out by Thursday, February 22nd at 1700 CET.

Once we collect the best times, I will announce by Friday Feb. 23rd. The first meeting will be held in the Europe, Africa and Americas Time zone.

[Doodle] (

The second meeting will be hosted in a timezone friendly for Asia (morning) and Western North/South America. (evening) The call will be hosted on mumble

The OSMF community cited some resources which reflect participation inquiries. Other resources are most welcome. Just add them into the comments.

Thanks and looking forward,

Location: Petit-Saconnex et Servette, Geneva, 1209, Switzerland

Thank you, now on with the next steps

Posted by Heather Leson on 10 December 2017 in English.

Thank you to all the OSMF members, fellow candidates, board, and outgoing board members. It has been a privilege to consider your priorities for OSMF via questions, notes, and conversations.

We are the community, the map, and the project. The lovely people who make OSM part of their daily flows count on all of us at OSMF to meet the full mandate and the full potential. This means considering, then building on how we might balance the growing, changing needs of the open, global, diverse community.

Over the past few weeks, the questions on the wiki and the conversations on this mailing list have pointed to some potential actions. Converting those requests and ideas into productive working documents for consultation is the next step. There are many people on this list and in the wider community that will contribute if there are healthy spaces and a clear ask. It is up to us in the membership, in the working groups, and on the board to make this possible.

Thank you again,