I’m running in the upcoming election to fill an open seat on the OpenStreetMap U.S. board. I’ve been contributing to the OpenStreetMap project as a volunteer since April 2008, mostly by armchair mapping, shoe-leather mapping, and fiddling with the wiki, where I recently became an administrator. I’ve also done a bit of importing and as much evangelization as the folks around me will bear. (My day job, writing iOS software at Mapbox, also intersects with OSM to some extent.)
OSM has the potential to be profoundly more than a tech project. When we see someone lavishly micromapping their neighborhood, we can rejoice that we’ve given them and their community a voice, that OSM has broken new ground, that we’re chipping away at an ancient, one-size-fits-all, top-down approach to mapping the world. We’re incredibly lucky that many people have discovered our project and figured out how to contribute. Just imagine how many more people will discover us once we figure out how to speak to their interests.
As a board member for 2019, I’d like to work with other board members and the newly appointed executive director to:
- Stay in touch with OSMUS members. The recent town hall and virtual mappy hour felt like long-awaited reunions. I’m glad for that, but we should hold more of these meetings and get more people to show up beyond the mailing list and Slack regulars.
- Develop resources to help community members plan and execute imports of public-sector data. Besides navigating the import process, mappers need help identifying datasets and approaching data owners with confidence. Lowering these barriers can help ensure that what we end up importing is the best data available.
- Promote the use of OSMUS server resources for tools that benefit U.S. mappers and outreach efforts. What would a U.S.-centric renderer look like? What tools would be more useful in your day-to-day mapping if we had U.S.-specific versions of them?
- Forge closer relationships with other free-culture and civic groups, including Wikimedia and Code for America. These communities already have the kind of distributed infrastructure that we imagine when we talk about OSMUS doing local outreach. Local wiki and civic hacking groups are already aware of OSM but may not be aware of the ways OSM can complement their message and power their projects.
This is the first time I’ve run for a leadership position in the OSM community. I’m jumping into this election knowing that I have a lot to learn, but hopefully also some unique perspective to share with OSMUS at this special time in the organization’s history.
We’re lucky that we have too many well-qualified candidates to choose from for this one open seat. 😄 I encourage you to read all of our position statements and cast your vote by Sunday, April 7. See you on the other side!