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Individual Comments from participants about Diversity and Inclusion committee - 2021 OSMF community survey

Posted by PierZen on 22 February 2021 in English (English). Last updated on 28 February 2021.

The OSM Foundation started publication of the results of the The 2021 OSMF Community Survey where we can download a spreadsheet with the Comments received in the survey.

In the second section, you will find extracts of individual comments that I interpret as being related to the Question F1 about Diversity and Inclusion Special Committee and complaints about Systematic Offensive behavior in the OSM Community.

But first, if we look at all comments listed, my perception from the comments is that many participants to the survey are looking at the various actors and politics that are played and want to insist on various challenges facing OSM and often concern about the dynamic with the various actors and the various agendas. Note that this is anonymous data, and that comments below are my interpretation reading these.

The participants comment on the various actors and their actions, plus the impact on OSM. We can observe how they are seing political actions and the various actors and they perceive actions including from volunteers, Data Working Group (DWG), Influencers on Tagging discussion, paid and Corporate contributors, local communities and the usage of AI tools, Tagging of Disputed territories, Mechanical edits and Imports and even Non-OSM-Attribution by dominant Corporate actors. The OSM ecosystem creates great possibilities of collaboration and innovation for various products and answers to various needs.But with such dynamics, there are actors that are more in position of power like the Corporate actors, Software developpers or even small groups that control tagging schemes. Contributors like «tagkeepers» using mechanical edit tools have important capacity of action. Democratic play inside OSM means informations, discussions, and way to progress to concensus. But like any other political play, it is not easy to simply establish the facts, and accept to find solution, share powers with others, or accept that others have power they dont want to share.

While the various actors have their own priorities contributing to the map, Monitoring mapping and quality by territotries is a challenge. Various comments did ask for more attention to this and talked about the burden of monitoring for local communities.

Various responders to the survey perceived the implementation of the COC as political agenda often pushed by corporate actors. Below, you can make your own judgement going more specificcaly through to Diversity and Inclusion Comments.

The comments below are extracts from the 2021 OSMF Community Survey that I identified as being related to Diversity and Inclusion and CoC.

We dont know the context, and accusations are often not substantiated, not motivated. We are not sure if they are related to Coc problems, but they surely express tensions in an organization with so many actors, various problems to look at and various power dynamics with actors who do not all want to go in the same direction. The question, could these comments help us find solutions to address the various diversity problems expressed ?.

Diversity and Inclusion committee seemed like a knee-jerk “we want to be seen as doing something” reaction. I see a danger of the topic being occupied by people who want to increase their own power through championing diversity. I feel that a more robust and assertive response is needed. Not “Oh my god you’re right OSM is bad and needs to change.” but “Is OSM really bad? Let’s gather some facts.” Because any change you make will put some people off and you need to have a clear picture instead of blindly submitting to US American values.

Fair, considerate and polite behavior are very important to me. My impression is that the OSM community is quite friendly. However, I strongly reject a code of conduct or similar. There are enough bad examples of how activists not coming from the community have taken control of projects in this way, implemented their ideology and marginalized or driven away the original activists altogether. I will definitely not submit to such an ideological machination. My more than ten years of collaboration would be over.

Fully support the work on Diversity and Inclusion, infrastructure, and especially the iD developer. Best of luck to you all!

Given all the challenges in 2020 I feel as if the OSM community is becoming more diverse and beginning to work together. Many of the historical issues within OSM are being address and a strong emphasis and zero tolerance approach must be given to offensive behavior. It is quite sad and discouraging to see people within the community who have invested a large amount of personal time and energy act unprofessionally. As the community grows more diverse I feel this type of behavior will NOT BE tolerated. Of course there will be disagreements along the way, and this is healthy, but individuals blatantly being disrespectful should not be tolerated. I myself have been involved with individuals asking/demanding personal information I don’t feel comfortable disclosing. As we grow as a community these issues become more apparent and I feel OSMF did a good job in 2020 making progress on addressing them.

Great call on convening a diversity committee, the FLOSS world is still tragically behind on this.

I agree with OSMF funding development and maintenance of key mapping tools. Also agree with the board’s attitude towards diversity as a key area to work in within the OSM community.

I agree with the creation of the Committee for Inclusion and the working group but I do not support the anti-Frederick Ramm movement ( Call for action…)

I am very much in favour of an active OSMF board that moves on the issues identified here, especially the code of behaviour and infrastructure support.

I think OSMF still needs to adopt a code of conduct for all its forums, otherwise we’re still avoiding some of the key issues and problems that continue to make portions of the community toxic and to drive others away.

I believe many of these decisions made by the Board will be vital in growing the community and making OSM a better, safer and more inclusive community.

I do not think that the special inclusion and diversity commitee is really necessary. In my opinion, FOSS communities like Wikimedia, OSM and others, do tend to get too political and such boards and commitees do not really help the spread and development of these great technologies. Let’s keep politics and commons seperate, to keep the focus mainly on the development of open maps. We do need to keep the policits aside, if we do not want to let these communities become like the Chaos Computer Club, which is a mainly liberal/leftist hackerspace now, and not the nerdy, open to everybody organisation it once was in the 90s and 2000s.

I feel strongly about creating a safe, equal, healthy, and inclusive OSM, and completely agree with the Call to Take Action letter (I was too late to sign it, unfortunately).

Adding censoring is also something I am against. Of course, there are mean and stupid people in the (OSM) world. Will those people cease to exist if you censor the written word? Do not try to bring in more women, gay or coloured people into OSM, or something similar. OSM is not about gender or colour. It is about a map. Focus on getting interested people to map (or use the map). If you try to include some specific attribute, in the same way you exclude all others. With the Diversity and Inclusion Special Committee you add politics to OSM, whither it was intended or not. Keep OSM about technology. Everyone can be included in that.

I have not witnessed any discrimination but diversity and inclusion are always good goals.

I hope that diversity criteria will be adopted for the selection of funded projects.

I hope the D&I committee looks into (and ultimately recommends to the Foundation board) the development of an OSM-wide Code of Conduct. This will allow all the diverse and co-operative OSM spaces to harmonise on what behaviour is encouraged and what is considered unacceptable.

I like that there is a discussion of diversity. I think the project would only benefit from such programs and initiatives.

I originally supported the action to combat “systemic offensive behavior in the OSM community” but withdrew my support after reading the concerns that it was somewhat questionable. I’m neutral because as a white male in the US, some would say I lack the perspective to make a fully informed decision.

I still think there is insufficient understanding of the reality on the ground of the conditions that local communities in Africa are facing. We are still a far too white, male, Eurocentric organisation and I hope that can change. I believe the board should be taking steps to accelerate that process, such as that there is representation from Africa and Women by reserving seats for them on the board.

I strongly support the diversity group and hope the board does more about a code of conduct

I think it was a good idea to create this committee regarding offensive behavior. The fact that someone actively colaborate on the OSM is not an excuse to mistreat other volunteers. The idea of a community is to help each other in this learning process which results will help to many regions of the world.

I urge the board to create mechanisms or processes for (1) monitoring the state of affairs related to systematic offensive behaviour as well as diversity, equity and inclusion in the OSM community and (2) addressing grievances related to systematic offensive behaviour in the OSM community.

I wasn’t following the board at all in 2020, but any decision to improve the technical/engineering capacity of the foundation is good. The diversity one not so much – having more diversity is a “first world problem”, OSMF isn’t so rich that it should give it too much thought. Better focus on improving the software and functionality of OSM.

I, personally, hate the creation of the Diversity and Inclusion Special Committee. It is my firm belief that there currently 0 discriminatory factors or policies against women or minorities. I also believe that Local Chapters should have a meaning to them. There isn’t much we as local organisations can do if we “sign on” with OSMF, except maybe having bragging rights.

If you have a diversity and inclusion committee, then there is no point in me using you instead of Google Maps, the latter being far more user-friendly.

If, by “inclusion” you mean to include people who are wantonly destructive of the work of others or who cause major upset to long-standing members - then NO I don’t want inclusion. Somewhere it must say that people who are antagonistic to the ethos of openstreetmap are NOT welcome in the team. There is a small step which must be resisted at all costs, between not rejecting people because of colour, faith etc, and demanding percentages in Openstreemap teams corresponding to general distribution of the poplulation. It is the death of meritocracy. Meritocracy first please.

I’m a bit torn on most of these decisions - or see at least a certain potential for negative consequences in the future. I guess that one of the first results (apart from more, potentially heated, discussions ;)) of this might be a CoC - I’m not a huge fan of these, but I’m not really against them, either (there often are coding style guidelines in software projects and we have the wiki where we write down how we map, so why shouldn’t we write down how we want to interact with each other). But I do think that it’s really hard to come up with a good CoC for a really global project like OSM that can’t be abused to silence criticism or to spawn meta discussions that detract from the actual subject - I think it’s especially hard since there are people with so many different cultural backgrounds involved, who, at least on English channels, are often not even discussing in their native language, so there is a possibly huge potential for misunderstandings - which could be abused. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to come up with a good CoC, but that we should be careful.

I’m excited to see OSM invest in fixing systemic issues starting with rooting out abusive behavior. The community and the project cannot grow unless the toxic dynamics that have been a long-time part of the community are forbidden.

I’m glad that work is being done to combat the misogynistic tone in the OSM community. I’m sure there are more work to be done in terms of inclusivity and participation of marginalized groups, but this is a good start that gives me hope.

  • It would be good to use non-sexist language In OSM communications, such as this one! Only volunteers? Or volunteers? It goes against including women and diversities In the OSM community. I personally felt assaulted by the community and this does not help.

I ranked the decision for the Diversity Committee as neutral because I think in principle it was a good idea but there is not much outcome yet and it is not clear for me if the committee still exists.

It seems obvious to me that our community is very (too) masculine, however I find it difficult to see what the barriers to women’s participation in the project are. I make the assumption that they are generally less interested in mapping. Having participated in several SotMFr, I have met quite a few women, and they seemed to have their full place in the project, including in leadership. I did not see any sexist or exclusive actions against them. Maybe some problematic situations are taking place in other parts of the world? I consider that in its concept, OSM is open to everyone, all you need is an email address and a map? Most of the time we don’t know who is hiding” behind an identifier, so I think we are all on an equal footing. In my opinion, the question of gender is a very “North American” concern and I fear that these debates will spoil our project. I would suggest that we should rather ask ourselves the question of access to OpenStreetMap according to social classes or income levels. Let’s work to make the community more open to ““non-Western””””.

Keep politics out of open-source projects. Introducing identity politics only alienates community members and does not foster unity, regardless of the intentions of people introducing the concept. In fact, such measures usually have a back-firing result and appear to appease solely those functioning within the US/Western European cultural realm, while negatively impacting others.

Kudos for starting a Diversity and Inclusion committee! I really hope the committee quickly and effectively puts in place a Code of Conduct policy, and the OSMF provides enforcement support for it. I am aware of OSM mappers who have quit OSM mapping due to the rude and hostile efforts of single individuals.

Maybe there are systemic problems in the OSM community, but if there are, that email thread linked in decision wasn’t an example of it. I think that the reaction to Fredrick’s email was a lot more problematic than his message, and if the Diversity and Inclusion Special Committee will try to promote this behavior then I’m firmly opposed to its current form. That said, I’m all for the committee trying to promote diversity without going after normal members of the OSM community.

More quality, more usability, less autocratic rulers among authors.

Much of the measures to fight “offensive” behavior is a power play to favor some groups over others.

Personally I haven’t encountered any negative issues with behaviour on OSM. I work in the Geospatial Community and I value the inputs of my female colleagues, just as equally as my male colleagues. (Disclosure - I am Male)

My response to question one is based entirely on what is written in the question. Codes of conduct and diversity and inclusion committees sound great, but can be implemented very poorly, in some cases completely failing to support the minorities which they should be supporting. I don’t mean to say that the OSM implementation of such a committee is like that — I am not involved at all closely and have no idea. I hope it’s a great implementation. But I don’t wish my response to question one to be interpreted as support for anything other than the concept in general.

Paying for iD maintenance would be less OSM-incompatible if the developer had been a volunteer. Someone who joined the project for the sake of the project. Factually, however, it turns out that the developer was already initially hired as a full-time employee, never cared much for Do-Ocracy and/or the community, and (even if not explicitly communicated) was actually blackmailing the community: “Pay me or I’m gone”. All a very bad sign for our community. The handling by the board was ok, the implementation/result mMn not.

The handling around “inclusion and diversity” was and is unacceptable. We have been creating an increasingly hostile environment in OSM for years that suppresses the open exchange of opinions and discourse in favor of a very loud and aggressive minority. “Inclusion and diversity” is an important and good goal. However, one must be allowed to ask and discuss what diversity is important. For example, it often seems to be much more important to have a quota of women instead of geographic diversity. The fact that the board e.g. directly supports the pro-CoC people but obviously does not condemn the open toxicity” towards Frederik Ramm with a single word is only one of several examples that is unacceptable for a board that stands for a cosmopolitan broad community. We seem to prefer a US-American worldview of a broad, open harmonious community, unfortunately.”

Please continue cleaning up poor conduct and make this an inclusive community. We must take this seriously and create a safe space for all folks to contribute and be heard.

Please, don’t be pressured to spend resources on Leftist propaganda like “systemic” (viz. Top-down organizational) bad behavior toward dark colored folks. In fact, it seems, if there is any systemic hatred today, it’s towards lighter colored folks! If not, it is true that “all have sinned,” so let’s remove all inequality (note: I did not say “inequity”) toward anyone; let’s just treat everyone with equal judgment, fairness, and opportunity.

Special Commission for Diversity and Inclusion is needed in my opinion. The issue is completely overrated. With respect and common sense, none of this is necessary.

strong upvote for all work done in support of code of conducts and otherwise being transparent about creating safe spaces for everyone in the OSM community

Thank you for the attention to harassment versus inclusion. More needs to be done. As we can see strong leadership is critical. The women and BIPOC mappers are the future of OSM.

The ““Diversity” and Inclusion Special Committee” comes across as incredibly toxic, racist, and misandric. The language their use is extremely off-putting.

The “open letter” mentioned in the first point has taken a hostile tone towards a great number of OSM contributors and in my opinion that’s disqualifying for a document that is supposed to promote friendly development of OSM. No significant board action should be taken on the basis of heated and aggressive argument.

The decision to combat offensive behavior in the OSM Community by promoting Diversity and Inclusion is in my opinion wrong. Diversity and Inclusion will continue to recognise and act on the differences of contributors, (human beings). To call yourself any name, race, creed, colour, gender or religion is to be violent. Because you are separating yourself from the rest of mankind. When you separate yourself by any means, it breeds violence. Can we please instead call for ABSOLUTE EQUALITY.

The Diversity and Inclusion stuff is a slow and lethal cancer for any open source project. Eject these grievance activists from the project before they destroy everything.

The diversity thing is tricky. To me it feels like virtue signalling, I don’t think it makes a systemic difference. On the other hand it’s probably better to have it than not to have it as it does force some conversations, at least. I don’t know what will make a systemic change. For me personally I don’t have an interest in serving on the board to push the change for more inclusivity, because I think the issues are too deep. I think it’s better to start a new thing, but then I feel like that re-invents the wheel.

The first question is poorly designed IMO. I agree that systematic oppression is awful, but this isn’t an OSM issue. We should be focusing on that all locations/countries get a say, it doesn’t matter what race,gender,age e.t.c. you are.

The first question on diversity and complaints about offensive behavior is hard to judge, as the link didn’t supply any background. I have no way to know if this was an over reaction or an under reaction! So I just selected “3”.

The lack of a clear Code of Conduct and an enforcement mechanism will haunt OSM and continue to make it not a safe or welcoming environment.

The Special Committee on Diversity and Inclusion is counterproductive and should be abolished again.

The way the discussion in the thread “Call to Take Action and Confront Systemic Offensive Behavior in the OSM Community” went was shameful. To me it seemed like a possible OSMF candidate took the opportunity of a personal attack on Frederic to not only avoid responding to a very legitimate question, but also to engage in the personal attack himself to avoid the question.

I support the action against abusive behavior. This is unfortunately far too common in OSM.

There is little guarantee that the Special Committee on Diversity and Inclusion will not become a censoring body in favor of some communities in favor of others. It seems to arise from the victimhood of some and the desire for censorship of others.

To question one: The Special Committee itself serves only to spread racial and gender hatred. As you can read in the links. There the picture is drawn of the white and male oppressor who is to blame for everything. The eternal white man…

We MUST ensure the continued independence of OSM and ensure there is no undue influence from other organisations, particularly very large companies with financial muscle and a desire to influence its direction at the expense of the views of the huge number of contributors (past and hopefully future).

We need more action and investment regarding diversity and inclusion. This should be first priority.

We need to do something to get more people into OSMF who are not Germans, we have a very bad disbalance.

Well done Board! I appreciate you innovating and steering OSM towards greater sustainability and inclusion.

When possible the board should take a more active role in the diversity and inclusion work.

While I (partly) agree with the sentiments outlined in “A Call to Take Action and Confront Systemic Offensive Behaviour in the OSM Community” I woudl suggest that to characterize these as “Power dynamics in OSM are controlled by a dominant contributor profile: white, Western and male. This power dynamic has led 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.” Is in and of itself discriminatory (I have been a ‘victim’ of this kind of attitude, and I myself am white-higher educated and so on.) What in my opinion is at issue here -and in other cases within the Open Source community- is that quite a few contributors themselves have issues (i.e. Asperger/Autistic spectrum would be a dominant trait I imagine) which may mean these people themselves are/feel unsafe in the “real” world and have ‘created’ a safe space for themselves and do not like/want what they perceive as intrusion in ‘their’ world. So only focusing on he perceived victims would leave out people who themselves may be victims too.

About 1st question of diversity group. I see some FUD there. Moderation and conflict resolution mechanism between people is replaced by bureaucratic norm, which development is passed back again to community. I agree that something should be done (to reduce people distress), but I disagree that such approach really works.

Adopt - Non-violent communications - as a best practice ( as a root problem of diversity ) “Diversity Training’ Doesn’t Work. This Might.”

Adopt a corporate member admission policy, which bans members (both current and aspiring) that are widely known (with published evidence) to have had problems regarding compliance with law, human rights and protection of the environment.

Be more in touch with the diverse and inclusive communities of OSM, and take actions for their participation and strengthening.

Diversity and Inclusion seems to be only talked about a lot in emails. The board should encourage those to champion it through actions not only good public relations that does virtually no good.

Diversity and providing a safe space should be the top priority, but it was not in theboptions.

Diversity of the OSMF: Global representation - Impact of the fee waiver policy: Is the board receiving a more representative voice from the community, are grantees contributing to working groups and committees, what’s the ease of joining a working group? Any barriers?

Do not bring “political” problems to project where only (basic) barriers of entry is: device (desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone) and decent internet connection.

Establish a climate of trust and caring (starting with its members towards any member of the community, no matter how aggressive they are). Change its mode of governance in this sense. Do not forget that the more sincere you are and the more you say what you do, openly and not in secret, the more you gain the trust of the community.

Explicitly improving communications, and working on the code of conduct implementation, should be a prime goal of the OSMF

Fix the toxic accusation of US based organisations (OSM US, HOT) that OSM discussion channels are unsafe for participation. They are not.

Guard against social justice activists the same way you would guard against a third-party takeover, or they will eventually cripple openstreetmap.

i am pleased to see the OSMF board of directors taking issues of inclusion and diversity seriously, as these have long-impacted my experiences within osm

I believe a code of conduct is absolutely necessary to create a vibrant and successful OSM community. Some members are extremely territorial of certain data, and that can discourage well-meaning individuals from contributing.

I guess I already commented on why I think a CoC would be good. Perhaps planning around OHM?

I have the impression that the topic of (neo-)colonialism is discussed surprisingly little for a community around free cartography. In the end, it seems to be mainly the chapters from areas oppressed by it that deal with the topic. This is a problem, because especially with MapRoulette and the like, it is important that mappers from former colonial powers develop an awareness of how cartography is related to power. I hope that this conversation can also be part of the diversity effort. I indicated that I think the inclusion of local communities is very important. However, I would like to add to this that I myself avoid the German-speaking community because, as a queer person affected by sexism, I feel put off by some of what I see of it publicly - such as the German version of weeklyosm. While that’s not the board’s responsibility, I think it’s an important aspect of the question of inclusion, and I hope that any positive changes to the board will also encourage local communities to address their exclusions, which have been less likely to do so.

I stopped following many talk lists as I was tired of the increasingly aggressive, negative and toxic rhetoric being spread about. A code of conduct is needed on a project of this size.

I think the perpetual malaise in the OSM community (aggressively reactionary attitudes from old-timers, toxic language on the mailing list, extreme distrust of outsiders such as Facebook or Apple, a wiki that is denounced as not prescriptive but also clearly used as such) much of this stems from the absence of leadership in OSM. Unlike many other open-source communities, this “do-ocracy” is rudderless, and I think a lot of members who have devoted themselves to the map for years feel anxious not knowing where this flock is headed next, and react aggressively to protect what they love. Leadership does not have to be about giving orders or imposing rules, but it can serve to channel decisions and coordinate the community’s actions. I would not mind seeing the Board take a more active role in leading the community. I find it encouraging that this survey includes questions about AI-assisted mapping and vector tiles, for instance.

I would encourage the board to set a tone that OpenStreetMap should be an open, inclusive, collaborative, and friendly environment for mapping enthusiasts to collectively build a great map of the world. It is a wonderful project with enormous potential but unfortunately is often not a welcoming environment (e.g. talk lists), which I believe tends to discourage participation and collaboration. As a community, I’d love to see us set a great example of how a wide variety of people can work together online and in person to creatively and respectfully to build something wonderful. Let’s resolve to be better in 2021 and beyond.

Identify marginalized and under represented communities and merging Community NGO and give them approval as local chapters .Provide direct support to encourage new local communities of OSM even when they are not approved local chapters

I’m very concerned about the quality of data coming out of this survey. As someone who cares about OSM but rarely contributes due to toxicity, most of this survey was really opaque. Having to spend hours reading a documentation to even understand the questions felt exclusionary, and strongly demotivating. Some of the documentation didn’t even provide any further explanation on the items it was supposed to inform (like several items on the list of things to prioritise). Only one question had a “no opinion” choice, so people completing the survey will answer at least some of the questions at random. Having to sign up with an email probably also lost you a lot of answers from under-represented community members. That said I’m happy this survey at least made me aware there was a D&I effort started.

Improving communication channels - listening to the few same men arguing pedantically drives people off the mailing list, and away from participating in the commuity.

In cases of sovereignty disputes, OSM by default displays the labels of the major powers. For example: the Falkland Islands are Argentinean, there is a dispute recognized by the UN, but OSM shows the British name tag. Please train in this kind of geopolitical conflicts. Above all: do not take sides in a globally unresolved and openly disputed case. - train in feminist mapping and gender and diversity issues. - it would be good to use non-sexist language in OSM communications, such as this one! Only volunteers? Or volunteers? It goes against including women and diversity in the OSM community. I personally felt assaulted by the community and this doesn’t help.

it is difficult to have an opinion on the ai/ml question without understanding what osmf and the community sees as a future for the volunteers. … i have not engaged on that topic, btw, because there’s no CoC. it is beyond time.

It is important and right that in the OSM community as far as possible no one is subjected to disparagement, insults, intolerance or discrimination. However, to avoid backfiring, it is equally important that the rules and tools created to achieve this goal, if any, are not abused to push certain opinions and (falsely) brand all other opinions as “intolerant”, or to suppress factual criticism or critical discourse. Therefore, it is essential that - the rules and tools are applied with moderation - there are proper procedures and appeal possibilities - the evaluation of incidents is done by uninvolved independent third parties (e.g. an ombudsperson) - it is clear to all community members that not everything that disturbs, criticizes or puts you on the spot” (or even disparages you) is acceptable. (or even belittled, insulted, discriminated against or not tolerated) is necessarily belittling, insulting, intolerant or discriminatory”

Loosen the control and opinions of the German community on OSM as a whole. Their strong voice may cause others outside of Europe to not participate in OSM as openly. They tend to be the vocal 1% in the community and I don’t think it is helpful on a global level.

Maintain and secure the spirit of OSM as a free and participatory geodata platform. And in doing so, counter commercial interests and the influence of large companies. And in doing so, promote and, where appropriate, moderate exchange within the community. It must remain a global project supported by many voluntary mappers, and must not degenerate into a “data supplier”.

Mapping for illiterate users is an important problem in the underdeveloped world. It is a task that requires attention by the open source community.

More inclusion of mappers and enthusiasts from the developing world More stable and performant core infrastructure Allowing local communities to define country leves tags to be loaded by default on ID editor

More representation from the local community group, as this survey itself how it is challenging to get diverse participation from the OSM community outside Europe and North America.

More sensitization of the local communities.

Multilingualism must be supported because it is the basis of multiculturalism. It seems important to me that the Board of Directors validate the fact that, being a global project, there cannot be only one language, official. English is the most common language for exchanges, but it should not be exclusive.

Multilingualism must be supported because it is the basis of multiculturalism. It seems important to me that the Board of Directors validate the fact that, being a global project, there cannot be only one language, official. English is the most common language for exchanges, but it should not be exclusive.

One of the strenghts of the OSM community is it regional scope with local chapters. Please do more to support them. Using the funding available to let them achieve projects in their home country

OSM is VERY important in a world that needs mapping on a local level throughout the world. I would love to see more activity on the local level and I will seek out local people to help keeping OSM viable and useful.

OSM membership and leadership should evolve to look like the world it is situated in if it is truly the people’s map. More inclusion and proactive welcoming of women and people of color (and protecting them from rampant harassment) is not only the right thing to do : it is critical for the future of The Peoples Map - OpenStreetMap.

OSM must be and REMAIN independent from political and commercial actors ! OSM must be politically neutral ! Minorities should be represented at OSM. However, diversity must not lead to discrimination against “Old White Men”.

OSM should not be used to propagate ideas about how society should be (except about open data).

OSMF is years over-due to adopt a code of conduct for public forums, conferences, and so on. The majority of participants either feel strongly that this is a positive move or, frankly, don’t care that much. It’s an outspoken subset that continue to object to this. Either OSMF will solve this issue and adopt a CoC, or the OSM community will fracture at some point. The low number of women involved in OSM is a bit of a canary in the coal mine. Boards and projects that have few or no non-men involved should work actively to recruit a wider range of participants and should also discuss why that may be the case. I mean this in a positive way. Having more folks involved in this effort will benefit everyone and the overall OSM effort.

Pay attention to more discipline in the forum. Sometimes things that affect only a few points in the database are discussed to death.

Please implement a code of conduct and increase outreach outside of OSM to bring in new mappers, governments, &c. Also I think attribution guidelines are fine how they are

Please look into corporate user guidelines more critically. Local communities in few geographies are trying to bully corporates even if they are adding information with good intentions.

please take action against long time bad actors in the community

Prioritize communities rather than expertise. CODE OF CONDUCT. Be welcoming and inclusive. Stop protecting the organic rock stars just because they are seen as “important” people in OSM. They are the ones being unwelcoming and a threat to local communities.

Put in extra work around the issue of inclusivity. A community made up of predominantly white men will not change if no effort is made. Even if the community feels there is no animosity towards others, the current dominant demographic is a self-entertaining and self-reinforcing characteristic. This community needs actively give more of a voice to women, gender-diverse, and POC contributors. Otherwise, nothing will change.

Remember that the loudest voices are not necessarily the ones that contribute the most to the project

Repeating from page one of this survey:

One of the points of the is “Don’t publicly call people out.” The “Call to action” that launched the recent OSMF mailing list debate broke that point by publicly calling Fxxxxx out. I respectfully request that the author and all signatories of the document up to the point when Frederik’s name was removed from the document are considered to have breached the OSM Community Etiquette. Since at least some of them are members of DISC and LCCWG, these bodies would be biased in considering this request, so care should be taken to ensure impartiality. I’m not sure what the consequences of breaching the Etiquette are, but I believe we should have this conversation.

Talking about the wiki: Sometimes, there are people, that are set to change something to better match their own thinking and getting that due to sheer stubbornness, no matter how their arguments are proven insufficient or how many other people disagree, it is frustrating that there is no formal dispute resolution process

The board needs to undertake a study to address the racism and misogyny within the OpenStreetMap community. Quantifying the harassment and intimidation of non-white mappers needs to be studied and reported back to the community to validate the extent to which it exists and ensure this behaviour is not tolerated.

The board should affirm the diversity of the community, including in terms of its corporate members. The board should affirm the diversity of mapping, including with machine edits and bulk imports. OSM is a valuable and unique global resource, and should marshal all possible resources to continue to make it open, relevant, and accurate. This includes corporate, nonprofit, and hobbyist uses.

The board should do everything to ensure that the OSM community is NOT dominated by commercial institutions!

The diversity issue can be frustrating to read all the time, coming from people who dont have solutions other than abstract top-down policies. OSM needs the input of different people, but just gender proofing alone is superficial. The actual solution is a recruitment strategy that gradually allows different kinds of skills, focusses, professions, regions, genders into the community as influencers.

The Etiquette Policy does not work. The “assume good faith” clause is often cited by those who act with disregard (conscious or unconscious) towards others in order to silence criticism or concern from underrepresented community members, but they never assume the good faith of anyone else when making criticisms of others, with no consequences for them, while serving to drive away the majority of community members. This appears especially to be the case for “prominent” community members who map regularly and/or are heavily involved in software projects, seemingly because they are “too important” for the community to censure or reject. In a similar vein, one of these mappers (Mxxxxxxx) publicly and blatantly violated the Code of Conduct at State of the Map multiple times with zero consequences. Instead of being removed from the session or the event, he was merely given a verbal warning, which he ignored. I remind the Board of the lesson that many other organizations have learned: Being dependent on jerks does not say anything special about the jerks’ abilities or dedication, the jerks just drove away everyone else that was willing and able.

The board should cease indulging the increasingly paranoid fantasies related to “takeover”. We are all bound by the license. The greatest threat to OSM–and sadly, the likeliest scenario for its future–is its capture by an incredibly small faction of extreme voices. This is a project used by billions and governed by, what, 700 voters? Who mostly interact in mailing lists that are universally understood to be full of toxic flame wars and bikeshedding? This is not a perilous dynamic. The needs of the multitudes who depend on OSM must be given dramatically more weight as the project charts its future course.

The messages exchanged in the OSMF mailing lists are more and more offensive and dominated by few people. It’s time to take strong decisions against those people (including perpetual removal from mailing lists) even when there is only one single episode. This is limiting many people from participating to the OSM discussions. I have personally lost trust and I am currently almost not following the discussions anymore for this reason.

The opportunities for participation are to be propagated further. However, this requires further work on conflict resolution mechanisms.

The OSM board has to prevent that one or more commercial companies together take over the community in a hostile way to reshape OSM according to their commercial interests.

The OSMF should encourage a healthy discussion between corporate members and the OSM community so we can reach an agreement on an Attribution guideline that works for everyone.

The osmf-talk list should not be the main channel for communications. OSMF should switch to a more modern platform, and think carefully about how to encourage constructive and supportive dialogue. Note the OSMF listserv can stay and those who dominate it can stay there.

Urgently take steps to increase ethnic and gender diversity on the OSM board!

Watch out for big company attempts to influence OSM.

We need greater dissemination of decisions and governance system.

A virtualized / lightweight Ubuntu 20.04 OS on Windows 10

Posted by PierZen on 8 February 2021 in English (English).

Traduction fr : Un système d’exploitation Ubuntu 20.04 virtualisé / léger sur Windows 10

We dont all have access to a Linux OS, but note for Windows 10 users, that you can easily install a virtualized Ubuntu 20.04 OS. It will work simultaneously with Windows and will require little ressources. See this tutorial on how to install WSL2 and Ubuntu 20.04

As said in the tutorial :

« WSL2 is the second iteration of the Windows Subsystem for Linux which finally allows running linux virtualized inside Windows. This new version brings real  virtualization using a real linux kernel, but, compared to a traditional virtual machine, it runs on a lightweight hypervisor getting close to bare-metal performance.»

You can even communicate with you Windows PostgreSQL server, replacing localhost by samenet

ie. psql -h samenet -p 5432

If you have problems to communicate through internet, look at your firewall to assure it does not block ougoing links from your linux OS.

Good solution to tests / Develop. While writing test scripts for changesetMD Replication scripts, I was able to use this solution to test easily on my laptop.

Ma participation à la SOTM-2019 à Heidelberg

Posted by PierZen on 9 October 2019 in French (Français).

Depuis 2010, les contributeurs et développeurs OSM, nous avons réussi à faire d’OpenStreetMap la carte De-facto des interventions humanitaires et à développer des collaborations avec les agences de l’ONU et les ONG, à innover pour utiliser divers outils pour la réponse humanitaire, et même à travailler avec des épidémiologistes dans des contextes difficiles comme la crise Ebola en Afrique occidentale ou avec des médecins se rendant dans les villages isolés du Népal après le séisme majeur en 2015.

Les principales Réponses humanitaires que j’ai coordonnées à partir de 2012 m’ont donné l’occasion de présenter dams divers colloques la contribution OSM dans les contextes de crise humanitaire. Mais comme beaucoup d’autres bénévoles, j’ai moins l’occasion de voyager et de participer à des conférences à l’étranger. La SOTM-2019 à Heidelberg a été ma première participation au SOTM international et je suis très reconnaissant à la Fondation OSM qui m’a sélectionné pour une bourse.

A mon arrivée à Heidelberg, le Guesthouse où les chercheurs et de nombreux autres participants ont séjourné a été une excellente occasion d’échanger avec des collègues de différents pays et de rencontrer des collègues de missions précédentes en Afrique et en Haïti que je n’ai pas vu depuis longtemps. C’est également un plaisir de discuter avec Manfred A. Reuter et les enthousiastes profs et étudiants du groupe @euYoutH_OSM Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Erasmus+ Students. Ils ont des écoles partenaires dans toute l’Europe et ont offert à leurs étudiants l’opportunité de se porter volontaires pour les 3 jours de la conférence. Un grand merci à ces étudiants. EuYoutH_OSM) students

Avec plus de 500 participants, la conférence a également été un lieu de rencontre et d’échange sur divers sujets. Parmi les différentes discussions, cela m’a donné l’occasion d’échanger avec mes collègues WeeklyOSM Collègues WeeklyOSM à Heidelberg

C’est aussi une surprise de rencontrer à la Conférence Claire Halleux de la République Démocratique du Congo. Nous avons coordonné ensemble la Réponse OSM 2012 pour le Nord-Kivu et collaboré depuis l’année dernière pour soutenir le projet OpenCities à Kinshasa et la Réponse Ebola dans le nord du pays. Mais la conférence a été notre première occasion de nous rencontrer. C’est la même chose avec beaucoup d’autres collègues que je vois occasionnellement ou que je vois pour la première fois.

Pour soutenir le projet Opencities et la réponse pour l’Ebola, j’ai développé à partir de l’année dernière les fonctions OQ_Analysis (environnement PostgreSQL/PostGIS) pour assurer le suivi-qualité des données des bâtiments dans OSM (voir le dépôt Github). J’ai présenté ces résultats à la conférence (video, diapos) et je prévois publier plus en détail les résultats sur le Blog Opendatalab-RDC.

«OSM Quality Mapping : Metrics to monitor Buildings outbounds»

Un grand merci de la part des organisateurs et des bénévoles de cette conférence pour cet événement exceptionnel à Heidelberg. Les vidéos des différentes conférences sont déjà disponibles.

Location: Neuenheimer Feld, Neuenheim, Heidelberg, Bade-Wurtemberg, 69120, Allemagne

My participation to the SOTM-2019 in Heidelberg

Posted by PierZen on 27 September 2019 in English (English).

Since 2010, the OSM contributors and developpers, we succeeded to make OpenStreetMap the De-facto Map for humanitarian responses and develop collaborations with UN agencies and NGO, and innovate to use various tools for the response, and even work with epidemiologists in difficult contexts like the Ebola outbreak in West Africa or doctors walking in remote villages of Nepal after the major earthquake in 2015.

The major OSM Responses I coordinated from 2012 offered me the opportunity to travel from Canada to various Conferences and present our results. But like many other volunteers, I have less opportunity to travel and participate to conferences from abroad. The SOTM-2019 in Heidelberg was my first participation to the international SOTM and I am very gratefull to the OSM Foundation which selected me for a scholarship.

At my arrival in Heidelberg, the Guesthouse where the scholars and many other particpants stayed was a great opportunity to exchange with colleagues from various countries and meet colleagues from previous missions in Africa and Haiti that I did not see for a long time. Quite a pleasure also to discuss with Manfred A. Reuter and the enthousiast @euYoutH_OSM Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Erasmus+ Students. They have partner schools from around Europe and offered there students the opportunity to volunteer for the 3 days of the conference. A great thanks to theses students. EuYoutH_OSM) students

With 500 participants, the floor of the conference was also a place to meet people and exchange on various subjects. Among the various discussions, this gave me the opportunity to exchange with my WeeklyOSM colleagues WeeklyOSM colleagues, Heidelberg

Quite a surprise also to meet at the Conference Claire Halleux from Democratic Republic of Congo. We did coordinate together the 2012 OSM Response for North Kivu and did collaborate since last year to support the Kinshas OpenCities project and the Ebola Response. But the conference was our first opportunity to meet. The same with many other colleagues that I see occasionnaly or saw for the first time.

To support the Opencities project in Kinshasa and the Ebola Response, I developped from last year the OQ_Analysis PostGIS functions to monitor the quality of Building data in OSM (See Github repository]( I presented these result at the conference. I should publish more details later on the Opendatalab-RDC Blog. «OSM Quality Mapping : Metrics to monitor Buildings outbounds» «OSM Quality Mapping : Metrics to monitor Buildings outbounds» (video, slides)

A great thanks of the organisers and volunteers of this conference for such a great event in Heidelberg. Videos of the various conferences are already available.

Risques liés à l'édition à proximité de lignes électriques haute tension (note humoristique)

Posted by PierZen on 6 March 2018 in French (Français).

Le territoire québécois est sillonné par des milliers de kilomètres de lignes électriques 735KV. De nombreuses routes croisent ces lignes et il y a souvent des sentiers à proximité. Lors du suivi des éditions sur ces lignes électriques, je me suis rendu compte que de nombreux contributeurs ne regardent pas autour d’eux lorsqu’ils éditent et connectent souvent les routes et sentiers aux lignes électriques.

Risques liés au montage de lignes électriques haute tension à proximité

Permettez-moi de décrire un cas intéressant

Il y a quelques années, un parc pour chiens a été ajouté à la base OSM ainsi qu’un stationnement à proximité sous une ligne électrique de 735KV. Sur le boulevard voisin, le tronçon de raccordement entre les deux côtés du boulevard a été déplacé à proximité et connecté à la ligne électrique 735KV. Par la suite, un spécialiste d’un partenaire OSM d’outils de navigation routière faisant systématiquement le suivi de l’édition des réseaux routiers a édité «sans regarder de côté» le tronçon de «highway=tertiary» à «highway=tertiary_link».

Permettez-moi de vous mettre en garde. Il est assez dangereux d’éditer de cette façon et je pense que ces contributeurs devraient davantage regarder autour d’eux! Si l’Analyse de Qualité est ainsi faite automatiquement et étroitement par les humains, devrions-nous ajouter de l’intelligence artificielle dans les éditeurs pour détecter de tels problèmes, et pourquoi pas, donner un léger choc électrique aux contributeurs!

Heureusement, ces contributeurs éditent toujours OSM. Espérons que personne n’a perdu son chien, celui-ci mettant la patte sur la ligne électrique! Et qu’ils n’oublieront pas en éditant dans le monde virtuel «de regarder autour d’eux».

Location: Blainville, Thérèse-De Blainville, Laurentides, Québec, Canada

Risks of editing nearby high voltage power lines (humour note)

Posted by PierZen on 6 March 2018 in English (English).

There are thousand of kilometers of 735KV power lines over the Quebec territory. There are often trails under these lines and road crossings. While monitoring the edits to these power lines today, I realized that many contributors had again connected roads to the power lines.

Let me describe this interesting case.

Risks of editing nearby high voltage power lines

A few years ago, a dog park was added plus a nearby parking under a 735KV power line. On the nearby boulevard, the connecting segment between the two sides of the road was moved closed to the Power line and clipped to it. Then a road navigation specialist working for an OSM partner company did narrowly edit modifying highway=tertiary to highway=tertiary_link.

Those people should look around. It is quite dangerous to edit this way. If QA is done so automatically by humans, should we add some artficial intelligence in the editors to detect such problems, and why not give a mild electric shock to contributors!

Gladly, the contributors are still editing to OSM. Let’s hope that no one lost their dog connecting to the power line! And that they will learn editing in a virtual world «to look sideways».

Location: Blainville, Thérèse-De Blainville, Laurentides, Quebec, Canada

OSM Contributors Outlook - The Pulse of OpenStreetMap Contributors

Posted by PierZen on 11 October 2017 in English (English). Last updated on 21 January 2019.

Pulse Talking of the OSM Contributors, we often see the Big Numbers. In this Diary, my objective is to focus on the OSM Contributor profiles, to try to measure the impact of various groups on the OSM Edit Contributions.

Since 2005, there has been an explosive growth of new OSM Registered members from 500,000 in 2012 to 1 million in 2013 and 4.2 millions at the end of september 2017.

Pascal Neis and Alexander Zipf study in 2012 showed that only 38% of the registered members at the end of 2011 had started editing the database and that only 5% (24,000) of all members actively contributed to the project in a more productive way. published in july 2013 an interesting analysis of contributors «Joining and leaving» as participants. It shows the volatily of OSM contributors with a high volume of contributors starting and stopping contribution shortly after. As we will see below, a high percentage of people that start to contribute stop the first day or after a short period.

There are also various studies that show the contribution inequality with most of the data produced by a minority (see Anran Yang, Hongchao Fan, Alexander Zipf, 2016 and Ding Ma, Mats Sandberg and Bin Jiang, 2015). Statistics and analysis presented by Pascal Neis and Simon Poole over the last years did also show various aspects of the contributions, with the concentration of Contributions by a minority and the volatility of contributors participation.

The OSM Changesets Dump File contains metadata about each changeset edition. Like others, our analysis comes from this file. If we dig in and analyze the OSM changesets database, this shows that for the 13 years from 2004 to end of september 2017, 953,200 contributors edited at least one object and 108,800 edited more then 1,000 objects (ie. node, ways or relations). This is an indication that there are massive inflows of new participants that contribute minimally. The analysis below will confirm this hypothesis.

The Pulse of OpenStreetMap Contributors

Cohort analysis let’s break a dataset into related groups that share common characteristics or experiences. For OSM, we can group contributors by the year they started to contribute and compare the various cohorts to see patterns of contribution.

The graph 1 reveals what I call the «Pulse of OpenStreetMap Contributors». Rodolphe Quiedeville OSMPulse website did also illustrate the beat of contributions. While his real-time graphs (Last update in 2014) did focus on the number of objects edited minutely, we focus on the contributors with the same year of experience. For each calendar year, this is like if we did organize a marathon will all the contributors aligned on the same start line, looking at their progression month by month. We could also follow them for even longer periods and compare their long term behavior.

Graph 1
Note that this graph do not show a long timeserie. These are 
individual graphs for each yearly cohort.  For each year,
we follow for 12 months the new contributors that start editing. 

Graph 1

Here for each calendar year, we follow OSM new contributors and participation from their month 1 to month 12 of contribution (it does not matter if one started in january, feb. etc). With such cohort analysis, we can see all the new entries for the year. This reveals what I call the Pulse of «Discovery contributors» with the great majority that do not participate more then 1 month. The high rate of departure at month 1 confirms the volatility of contributors participation. It shows what is called the lower tail of Contribution with a high number of Contributors with a minimal impact on the OSM edits. There is a lot more to say from such analysis and I will come back in an other Diary with more profile analysis from the cohort trajectory statistics.

Simon Poole published in his OSM Diary various examples that show the variability of inflows of new contributors and how it is not always related to significative edits. The sudden increase of contributors in early 2016 that we can observe on graph 2 below comes from Maps.Me editors where many of them did map personal infos. At the end of 2016, thousand of faked accounts were created in USA by SEO companies. OSMstat for 2017-09-30 shows also indications of various profiles with 5,413 active contributors and 3,301 with node edits > 15.

Graph 2

![Graph 2] (

Monthly Statistics – Let’s color with Contributors Profiles

Lets’ now add Days profiles to the monthly statistics and help better see the heterogeneity between the Contributors and the Contributions. Pascal Neis OSMstat website and Simon Poole stats on the OSM wiki OSM wiki let us observe monthly statistics of contributions. We observe since the beginning of 2016 an average of 25,000 to 50,000 active contributors per month.

Graph 2 combines the monthly statistics of Contributors (ie. have edited in the month) and Contributions (ie. number of objects edited node, way or relation) from the OSM stats wiki. We color these charts with the Contributors profiles based on cumulated days of participation since the first edit to OSM (Pascal Neis classification). The comparison of the two graphs let’s observe the concentration of Contributors in the first two classes and the concentration of the Contribution in the last class.

Profiles of Contributors and Contributions by month for 2017 up to september on Graph 3 let’s measure the respective percentage of each class based the cumulatives days of contribution. For 2017-08, the first two classes «Discover 1-2 days» (19,186 contributors) and «Rarely Active 3-14 days» (12,845 contributors) represent 66% of the share of Contributors. In comparison, their share of Contributions (13%) is relatively minimal. The «Discover» class with 3.5% of Contributors corresponds more or less to the «Pulse» we observe on the cohort analysis.

The other tail of distribution is represented by the 4,000 contributors that are part of the «Mega Active» class (271 days and more). They represent 8% of Contributors and 37.6% of Contributions.


Graph 3

Pascal Neis Contributions of the yearly cohorts graph on his 2016 yearly Statistic Blog, shows the respective importance of each yearly cohort on the level of monthly Contributors. In this case, the cohorts are not aligned from month 1 but colors let’s see stratas of contributors by the year they started to edit. With this representation, the peak of the yearly new contributors is less acute, being spread in the month they started editing. The top of Graph 4 reproduces Pascal chart. Every year, we observe the jump in the number of contributors, and their relative importance that reduce gradually in the next years. Again, we see the rise of Contributors from 2016.

The Contributions Profile at the bottom of the Graph (ie.Percentage of Contributions by months) reveals that the first year of participation, the yearly cohort of new contributors represents nearly 40% of contributions, that share reducing in the following years. With the rise of Contributors in 2016 and 2017, we observe also a rise in the share of Contributions. Simon has measured that the rise of Maps.Me Contributors had a minimal impact on the share of Contributions. More analysis will be necessary to explain which categories are responsible of this jump.

Graph 4

Graph 4

I hope that this different angle on the Contributors data will hep to better understand the various contributions to OSM. Do not hesitate to comment. And I plan to continue such analysis in other Diaries.

HOT Board 2015 Special Election : My view on the organization

Posted by PierZen on 21 June 2015 in English (English).

HOT successful growth over the last five years is recognized by the various medias and humanitarian organizations. HOT was successful to develop projects in partnership with various organizations and to mobilize developpers and mappers volunteering or contracting in supporting different programs and actions. There were Projects in Indonesia, Haiti, Africa, and Local community development actions. To support these activities, Tutorials, Software development were other dimensions of this action. The Tasking Manager is the example of a tool developped with the support of volunteers and contractors, experimenting with various partners. The Activations and other Programs have contributed to develop workflows to better respond to various problematics in the humanitarian sector. This was possible with both the support of skilled volunteers, staff and the synergy with the partner organizations. As we progress to develop projects with the partners, it is essential to assure to maintain a good coordination with the HOT community, A great part of the dynamism and success of HOT comes from this ecosystem with these highly skilled mappers and developpers that develop tools, orient projects, interface with humanitarian organizations to adapt to their needs and find ways to collaborate.

OSM is now the DeFacto map for international humanitarian responses. But for HOT to grow successfully, we should surely not count only on dedicated Activation leaders, Developpers or Staff. The same with the Board of directors or the Partners. We need to work together. The Board of directors represents the membership and assures the management of the organization with the support of the staff. They cannot surely report all actions or detail of contracts and staff management. And they have to delegate some responsabilities to the staff.

But the Board cannot drive such an humanitarian organization like a private company not accounting to anyone. But Accountability is an essential element of the Governance of such humanitarian NGO. It is essential to report to our shareholders, the membership, to discuss the major orientations, to use the internal ressources to better define our projects and orientations. The Governance is an important aspect of this election. We have to assure that the Board of directors is accountable to the membership and operates with openess and respect.

In the technological and very dynamic sector where we operate, Partnership is an important aspect. Partners are playing a great role collaborating at the design of projects. sometimes involved in conjoint FundRaising actions.

But we need to reinforce this member-based organization, assure that the membership can play his role and that the major orientations and FundRaising are not controlled by partners that could have conflicted interests.

I am retired after a carreer working for government agencies in Canada. My contributions over the last years clearly show my support and expertise for the development of HOT, my engagement for this organization, my support of the local communities, my volunty to progress with field work in the context of various projects and the various humanitarian emergencies. My previous diary ( shows how as a leader of Activations I contributed to professionnalize our responses and play a major role contributing with the UN Agencies and international organizations. OSM is now the DeFacto Basemap for such responses. I have lead activations for DR Congo, Mali, Haiyan/Philippines, West Africa Ebola, Vanuatu and Nepal. The West Africa Ebola OSM Response was the opportunity to develop with MSF-Switzerland and CartONG an innovative approach for interventions in the context of epidemies, collaborating with their field teams to adapt constantly to this epidemy.

Thanks for your support and involvment in HOT.

Running for the 2015 HOT Board

Posted by PierZen on 16 March 2015 in French (Français). Last updated on 18 March 2015.

My journey at OSM / HOT

The Haiti Earthquake in january 2010 let me discover what it was possible to do remotely to support humanitarian actions. I jumped in rapidly and used my various skills to support this first HOT activation. I remember these updates where we saw first Schuyler and Tom Buckley and then Nicolas Chavent and Robert Soden in action, the interviews in the tents, the HOT kits, the workflows built with the UN agencies.

On the steps of these initiators of HOT Activations, I started at the end of 2012 to coordinate a serie of major activations where the core coordinators we supported remotely the international community. With the rebellion in the Kivus, north of the Democratic republic of Congo, hundred of thousands of people were fleeing on the roads. Nicolas who had worked previously for the UN Agencies (WFP and UNJLC/Log-Cluster at inter-agency level) organized the contacts with OCHA and asked Claire to assure the liaison from Kinshasa.

We had the objective to professionalize our activations, to gain confidence of the various international organizations and convince them to collaborate with OSM and HOT, to make OSM the Reference map in the context of disasters.

In parallel of the Congo Activation, I started The Mali activation two months later. Andrew Buck then joined in and Severin started activations for the Central Africa Republic (CAR) and South Sudan. At the same time, Jorieke and other Eurosha volunteers in CAR had to move out rapidly because of the insecurity.

With the Activations, the support of local communities and discussions, collaborations with the Red Cross, MSF, Eurosha, Espace Francophone projects, a place of innovation and experimentation was gradually implemented. We also proposed Design improvements of the Task Manager to adapt it to the context of Activations, offered various Daily exports, looked at using mobile devices for data collect, contributed to software experiments, design, development.

The core coordinators, we volunteered to develop gradually this model of activation that showed such success for the Ebola Outbreak response. We documented the wiki project page for each activation, advertised the OSM maps & products, assured daily updates of various exports, documented the Task Manager Jobs and negotiated for constant adaptations of this tools that is central for supporting these remote activations through internet. Jean-Guilhem Cailton and Fred Moine were also very supportive and reactive about imagery processing.

We assured the remote response mapping, obtaining the imagery from various Imagery providers, coordinating with the international organizations, convincing sometimes the developers to adapt their tools to the particular context of our activations. I bloged and emailed regularly on the activations on the hot website and the mailing list and participated to international conferences making outreach about our activities.

In parallel with the activations, we also worked to innovate in data collection and technical remote support of local communities. We also established contacts with the Red Cross and MSF, discussed about ways to progress. This was later beneficial for the Haiyan/Yolanda Activation in november 2013.

For the Mali Activation in early 2013, we implemented an Imagery Crowdsourcing application to have the capacity to spot villages spread in either flooded or desertic areas and difficult to view. Pierre Giraud adapted the Tasking Manager to import the polygons of the various residential areas. This helped focus around the villages, locate and trace the highways connecting to these villages.

The Haiyan typhoon that hit Tacloban city in november 2013 was very destructive and cut all communications and electricity. Our Red Cross partners were waiting to deploy in Tacloban, not knowing what was the exact situation on the ground. The international community was rapidly mobilized, satellites re-oriented to obtain post-disaster imagery. OSM, Copernicus and UNOSAT did Post-disaster evaluation to facilitate the logistic of the organization.

For that Activation, we coordinated with Maning Sambale (HOT/OSM Philippines) who managed discussions with the local governments about Opendata and interacted with the government and the international agencies and mobilized the OSM-Philippines. We had a very effective coordination with the American Red Cross, the UN agencies and the international organizations.

The first 10 days of the activation were impressive with the OSM developers adapting the Humanitarian style to show damages to structures and adding this style to various tools. This was quite a satisfaction 10 days later for all of us to see the Poster size maps delivered to the OIM at Tacloban airport. This is crisis response, with a lot of adaptation, listening, innovation.

In 2013, participating to a training mission in north of Haiti and to the Espace Francophone LearnOSM translation sprint, was the opportunity to be confronted with the field reality, the cultural context and the technical challenges we are faced in such missions. Very satisfactory experience with great friends. This is the type of experience we should give the opportunity to the more engaged volunteers of our organization, to help them progress and adapt to the reality of the various countries where we operate.

My 2014 HOT Journey

The Ebola outbreak in Guinea spread rapidly in march 2014 and for the first time in urban area and large territories. In the context of epidemics, the contact tracing is a crucial operation. MSF epidemiologists were faced with blank maps. Village names were an other problem with duplicates or variants. Looking at the Haiyan experience, they thought that GIS support and OSM maps would be beneficial to this response. CartONG GIS specialists worked in the field with the epidemiologists and had coordinating with HOT. The first imageries were bought by MSF and the OSM response was simply fantastic, three cities being mapped in one day. Rapidly the Red Cross joined in, HIU, MapBox and Airbus Space & Defense also provided free imagery. Volunteering over all of the last year for this Ebola response, was for me and surely for others both challenging, sad with the spreading of the epidemic, these continuous deaths with this very complex epidemic. But at the same time this was rewarding looking at what we can accomplish in such circumstances, how we can progress to coordinate with other organizations and make the difference. After Haiti, the West Africa Ebola activation is a reference, not only for the more then 15 millions objects edited and the 3,000 contributors from more then 100 countries, but also for the efficient of collaboration we implemented with UN Agencies and international organizations.

People that want to know more about me can read my HOT updates and my conference presentations on SlideShare.

My vision of HOT

This is a year of transition in the HOT organization with the majority of the Board of directors not renewing their term and the executive director announcing this week her departure. Thanks to all for their contribution to this organization.

Many of this year Board Candidates have significant experience and engagement with HOT, either on the Board mounting projects, interfacing with the partners. While we discuss for this election, I am convinced that the previous Board, the Executive director and the Board candidates can sit together and plan a smooth transition, assuring that the essential informations are transferred to the new Board and that we maintain the momentum of HOT.

Now that the nomination period is closed, the HOT membership will continue privately the discussions about orientations of HOT. I hope that this will be done with respect and openness. These annual meetings are also to review our processes, to question and assure that we adapt smoothly, that we assure to stay dynamic, motivated and innovative. Accountability, Openness, Respect are for me essential values in an organization like HOT with a mix of passionate and engaged volunteers, contractors and paid staff from which we benefit expertise. We have to be careful to offer a place of discussion where members can recognize themselves.
To meet once a year to select a Board is not enough. The new Board should look at how the information circulate better, the expertise of the membership is more effective to orient the projects. We should interrogate ourselves how the Working groups or other participation channels can facilitate the HOT operations with more connections between the volunteers, the contractors, the ED and the Board.

With the complexity of projects running, the share of expertise among members, the development of internal capacity in organizations like HOT is an essential factor of success. HOT is an organization with technical people having expertise in various sectors. We interconnect with various UN agencies and international organizations both to develop softwares, projects, collect field data, discuss about building information systems, collecting data from various governments and organizations. Organizations like HOT with both paid staff, contractors and volunteers should not be thought only as a hierarchical structure with the Board, the executive, and the contractors. There are surely confidential matters that should be dealt only by the Board and the ED, but we need to bridge from the various projects. It is essential to assure skill transfers and revise the actual rules of governance. We should take care to have the mechanisms that assure the relay of information from one to the other, and the capacity to revise our projects if necessary and assure a constant progress in this context of innovation and complex organisations sharing work with the the international organizations.

Let me take the example of an activity I was quite involved over the years with HOT. Since the start in 2010, the Activations offered our community the possibility to identify a clear space where we can collaborate with international organizations, innovate and have a significant impact mapping to support their deployment. As one of the core Activation coordinators since 2012, I am proud of the model we developed coordinating with UN Agencies and international organizations. We need to consolidate this action, by adapting the softwares to the needs of the activators and progress with our partners in field data collection. Tools like ODK can favor more exchanges between the humanitarian organizations and OSM. We can say that as volunteers for the OSM Ebola response in 2014, we impacted positively the organization. This opened doors for more collaboration and facilitated access to resources such as the 200,000 USD donation by the Hewlett Foundation, all of these allowing to deepen the impact of remote HOT crisis activations for both Humanitarian and Development actors as well as local communities.

I agree with Jorieke saying that the heart of HOT is this community and that the Board actions should not be isolated from the community and with other candidates that say we should do more community support and preparedness.

I also agree with Severin and Nicolas vision about how to reinforce this member-based organization with a more transparent organization.

We need also to identify clear objectives how the various activities may globally make the difference with common objectives about obtaining OpenData necessary to have more accurate maps. They should be integrated with a vision of which informations are the more crucial in the context of disaster and for economic development in general. Territory management by local authorities or by the international organizations supporting in case of disaster need solid Opendata about infrastructures and administrative limits. Obtaining such Opendata from various governments is often uneasy. But more we develop interelations with OSM local communities, universities, local government, more we will progress to answer these questions. For the Haiyan Typhoon response in november 2013, I saw how useful was the OSM community with Maning Sambale coordinating with the remote coordinators and interfacing locally with the international agencies and local governments.

HOT is an innovative organization that has multitude interactions with other organizations. The Board, the Executive, the contractors and the volunteers all have significant expertise and assure the progress of HOT in interaction with the UN Agencies and international organizations. We should assure a synergy of these various parts of HOT, reinforce the participation of the volunteers and contractors to project design, orientations, discussions with partners, evaluations. This to assure that we progress both with innovative products and projects, this in complex environments in interaction with our various partners.

We need Board directors willing to work with this community in a less hierarchial organization, discuss orientations, the progress of the projects, and assure the development of the organization.

We do not need to change fundamentally the structure of the organization, but to assure more bridges between the Board, the Executive and the membership, be more accountable, more open to discussions. If we can have more possibilities for the engaged members to participate to some field missions, this should also be quite a motivator. These are conditions that should favor the membership participation, more exchanges and assure constant innovations in the organization.

How I can play a role on this Board

I have previous experience as a Board director and managed the major activations since 2012 interacting with various organizations.

My grounding to the various realities of HOT action, my involvement both in action, organization, innovation, development, the support to both the humanitarian organizations and local communities, gives me the capacity to evaluate, orient projects, discuss with partners and the community. My experience in the various sectors of activity of HOT and dealing with partners is an asset for the organization.

In this year of transition, we need experienced people in the field of activities of HOT with a vision of the organization progress, pragmatic, able to sit both with the partners and the community, to continue in the action like we ever did.

HOT is a techy volunteer organization I am proud of and that I want to assure it will progress well.

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