I know OpenStreetMap not so long ago in 2012. As part of a uni course assignment, my task was to make at least one contribution in OSM. So that is what I did, add one node in OpenStreetMap using Potlatch editor. I quickly dislike it. The editor was so slow in a relatively fast internet connection. And the interface itself is quite a challenge for me with little background in GIS or mapping. While I got the job done, my motivation at that time simply to fulfil the assignment.
Things changed a bit a year later, when I work for Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) on how we use OpenStreetMap for disaster preparedness in Indonesia. In my early days, I need to re-learn OSM again. And OSM editing is part of my to-do list. So I start editing again, this time using iD editor. It took less than 5 minutes for me to really enjoy OSM editing. How easy it is to map my neighbourhood and how I feel good that someday my contribution can help someone navigate my neighbourhood. Having more than 6 years of experiences in disaster also makes me realize the importance of these data in humanitarian context. Backed up by a good data, you can plan, respond and recover better. In results, saving more lives.
Yet, it is the idea of OSM that makes me fall in love with. Mapping the whole world is surely an ambitious goal, but the way the achieve it is very simple. Sign up for an account, start sharing your knowledge about a place. You can contribute as simple as a node, a line or a polygon. But that seemingly simple contribution is one tiny step close to the goal. And the data is guaranteed always free, always open. Everyone’s invited.
Couple of months later, I am a proud member of OSM Foundation. I am proud that by being a member, I can also contribute a bit more to the cause which I care about. And now, I stand to contribute my time, my thought further by being member of the board.