The 2021 OSMF Survey of the OSM community has been activated

Posted by apm-wa on 17 January 2021 in English. Last updated on 21 January 2021.

The 2021 OSMF Survey of the OSM community has been activated. It will be open for participation until February 14th. Please surf to the following URLs to register for the survey. You will receive an email in return with a single-use token that can be used to take the survey.

Please be aware that the Persian (Farsi) translation is 100% machine translation, via Microsoft Translator. I apologize in advance for any mistakes, since this is a language I do not know, and I could not find volunteer translators to edit and correct the machine translation. There will be errors, but I hope not serious mistranslations that make the survey impossible to understand. If you can help with editing the Persian translation, please message me.

Please amplify this message throughout the OSM community–spread the word! Please use your preferred communications channels to encourage everyone in the OSM community worldwide to participate in this survey! I thank you in advance for that.

English (Base language):

Chinese (Traditional; Taiwan):







Portuguese (Brazilian):




=== UPDATE ===

Indonesian (Bahasa)




Very best regards, and happy mapping!


Comment from RicoElectrico on 17 January 2021 at 16:05

Hi Allan, it seems this survey intro has “who”, but lacks “what” and “why”. People seem to be confused by this on OSM forum and reddit.

and I could not find volunteer translators to edit and correct the machine translations

It appears that for Japan the FB group is the main means of contact (for better or for worse).

Comment from Heather Leson on 17 January 2021 at 17:15

Thanks so much for this effort. I am sure we will learn much about who is OSM and OSMF, which will lead the board and community of communities to determine the ‘what’ and ‘why’ with evidence and data.

Looking forward to these discussions.


Comment from apm-wa on 17 January 2021 at 17:53

@RicoElectrico, the welcome message of the survey reads as follows:

Since OpenStreetMap is a volunteer-driven project that depends on its community, the Board of Directors of the OSM Foundation needs your input and feedback in order to set priorities in accord with community needs.

In other words, what consists of “your input and feedback”, and why consists of “in order to set priorities in accord with community needs.” Can you think of a formulation that is more clear than that? If so, please offer it.

Comment from RicoElectrico on 17 January 2021 at 18:49

The catch is that you will see this only after committing to the survey by entering the e-mail address and completing captcha. For better or for worse, people are wary of entering their e-mail without understanding the reason.

A post on OSMF blog would not hurt either.

Comment from apm-wa on 17 January 2021 at 19:18

I’ve asked the CWG to disseminate the news about the survey, and presume the CWG will add a notice to the blog. WeeklyOSM included a heads up this week that the survey is coming, and I have tweeted it plus emailed the osm-talk list. Each messages asks readers to amplify the message. The fact is that we cannot reach everyone in advance. The survey will be open till February 14, giving the community almost a full month to find it and fill it out.

I have to assume that most people in the OSM community are sophisticated enough to know that the email is used to ensure that each token is only used once, and that the Captcha is used to ensure that bots cannot be used to spam the survey. If some people are turned off by that, well, sorry, but that is a lesser risk than the alternatives, simply to open the survey with anybody able to submit answers as many times as she or he wants, or to make it more vulnerable to a bot exploit.

Comment from marc__marc on 18 January 2021 at 10:33

translated in French

untranslated diary, no information on the main page (who is hosting and what is the privacy policy? this is a mandatory minimum in many countries), wiki pages to learn about a topic are all untranslated, document on Google Doc, question much too general to provide a useful answer, request not send to local chapter or local chaptrer doesn’t post it on local list, it is not a community survey, it is a vote among English speakers reading the right channels of communication, my only conclusion is that the board will have to improve on this issue

Comment from apm-wa on 18 January 2021 at 13:46

Word is going out through multiple channels, via the working groups including the LCCWG, the local chapters, social media, so that statement is incorrect. How the local chapters disseminate information is up to them; the Board cannot control them, only ask for help. So far the survey is available in 13 languages. I have specifically asked all of the above to publicize the survey in other languages. OSM community has no single mode of communication so broadcasting through multiple channels is the best we can do.

Sorry about the wiki pages but just getting 12 translations done was hard enough. The Board doesn’t have enough bodies to scour the internet for wiki pages in all 13 languages. If you want to volunteer to do that, please do, send the information, and I’ll add it to the survey.

You are welcome to translate my diary entry into any language you know and to post it yourself, and then to disseminate the link to the survey. If you know a language that is not represented, contact me privately and I’ll send you a form you can use to provide a translation I can enter into Lime Survey.

The survey is anonymous. The only personal information required is the email address so that a token can be issued (that is to prevent one person from taking the survey multiple times and skewing the results). That plus the first and last name if provided are separated by Lime Survey from the responses since this is an anonymous survey. The general results will be published after the survey ends but names and email addresses obviously will not be.

Comment from marc__marc on 18 January 2021 at 15:13

Thanks for your reply, I did not say that the local chapters did not receive the information, I said “not received or not transmitted”, isn’t it ? (and indeed it is not the fault of the Board if a local chapter is slow to react. perhaps board members should have at least posted on the local lists where they are active).

for translations, I understand that it’s an big work. but either the Board thinks it’s important to include links to the wiki so that people get informed (and in this case these links deserve to be translated into some important languages, you made a call to translate the form, why didn’t you point out in time that help was also needed for these links ? yes the community will maybe translate a part of it, it will have to be done urgently, despite some people started to vote without having the necessary information for an enlightened opinion, what quality of result can you expect ?), or the Board felt that it was so unimportant to inform non-English speakers that they did not ask the community for help before the survey began… this is my current feeling.

The fact that you say that only the email is collected or reply “sophisticated enough to known what we do with it” does not fix the missing legal (in many countries) notice of this service. the fact that you seem to believe that your answer fix the issue shows the magnitude of the problem. I’m “sophisticated enough” to know that regulations such as GDPR exist and that even in countries where it does not apply, it is a good thing to put some information about the service, something better than “no link on the service page” and “welcome to ngix” on the main page of the domain.

I feel like you’re telling me you’ve done everything perfect. strange reply for community feedback. I hope you will reconsider when the time comes to draw conclusions about this funny survey.

Comment from apm-wa on 18 January 2021 at 17:13

No survey is perfect. If you don’t want to take the survey, you don’t have to. You may now stop trolling me. Thank you.

Comment from Verdy_p on 18 January 2021 at 18:25

RGPD: privacy tatemrnt missing for this survey hosted on an unknown site.

Comment from M!dgard on 18 January 2021 at 19:27

apm-wa, the GDPR mandates certain information be present if personal information is collected (such as who processes the data and for what purpose). An email address is collected, and hence the form is not in compliance with European law. However, I was able to complete the form with a disposable address from, which both meant it was not a huge deal for me and that the protection will not stop actors who know about such services.

I do not share marc__marc’s other concerns about the dissemination of the invitation, but as a fellow Belgian mapper I do not think he is trying to troll you.

Comment from trial on 18 January 2021 at 19:48

No survey is perfect. If you don’t want to take the survey, you don’t have to.

As mentioned by @marc_marc, @Verdy_p and @Midgard, GDPR compliance is mandatory for such a survey in European Union.

So should we consider your “response” pretending marc_marc would troll you that legal, illegal is you equal? Or that you missed something in the argumentation? Or that OSMF don’t care if people of the EU and UK (EU+UK= 500.000.000 inhabitants) can’t answer without using tricks? Is it your personal opinion or the one of the board?

Thanks in advance for clarification.

Comment from apm-wa on 18 January 2021 at 22:29

As stated in the survey,

Since OpenStreetMap is a volunteer-driven project that depends on its community, the Board of Directors of the OSM Foundation needs your input and feedback in order to set priorities in accord with community needs.

This explains who is collecting the data and for what purpose.

I have added the click-box so survey respondents may now affirm that they know the email is only being used to obtain the token, and for no other purpose.

Comment from cquest on 19 January 2021 at 06:34

Can we calm down ? domain has its DNS linking it to which redirects to

Their privacy policy is available at

This is not optimal, but at least can answer a few questions. Allan, you may add a link to it in the survey home page.

Comment from gileri on 19 January 2021 at 09:54

Yeah I agree, calling disagreeing voices “trolls” is inflammatory and unneeded.

Some people asked in osm-talk to share the survey draft before sharing the definitive version. maybe those issues regarding privacy could have been spotted earlier, and these comments avoided ? I think it should be considered for future surveys.

Anyway, even with those issues, thank you for organizing such a survey, that amount to a lot of work !

Comment from apm-wa on 19 January 2021 at 13:21

@cquest I’ve added that link, thanks.

@gileri My OSMF email address is publicly available on the OSMF website, so individuals worried about something related to the survey may contact me privately without bashing me publicly in in my own diary. Bashing me publicly in my diary constitutes trolling, period. For clarity on this, please refer to the OSMF Etiquette page, which includes these points:

* Don't publicly call people out. Many issues can be resolved by gently contacting the other person.
* Communicate with the same respect you would utilize in person.

Regarding the comment regarding sharing the survey before activating it, in all my years of working in the social sciences (agricultural economics, political science, history) I have never once encountered a pre-release of a survey. In a review of scientific literature on survey sampling, I cannot find reference to such a practice, only to the practice of alerting a population that a survey will shortly be forthcoming (which I did via the talk list). In other words, pre-publishing the survey is not an accepted practice.

Comment from gileri on 19 January 2021 at 15:09

That’s convenient to allow only agreement to be shared, and to label disagreement labeled as trolling. I’ll answer anyway, those who want to label this as trolling may do so.

In other words, pre-publishing the survey is not an accepted practice.

And yet :

@cquest I’ve added that link, thanks.

So I think asking for review would have been beneficial, but I’m far from an expert on surveying.

Bashing me publicly in my diary constitutes trolling, period

You’re right, that diary is published with your name attached. But as it’s one of the first public communication of this release, I think it’s unfair to call it a “personal diary” and forbid contributors to comment on it. Maybe next time such releases could be posted first to a “neutral” platforms such as recommended by @RicoElectrico. That will solve some of the issues raised here.

Answering publicly help deduplicate comments. Asking every contributor noticing an issue to send a private email sound pretty inefficient comparing to posting in a public medium, and may not help the recipient to not feel attacked. I think receiving and answering 5, 10, 20 messages regarding the same issue would be tiresome/aggravating.

Originally the (constructive) criticism was targeted on the survey and related communications, not you. Only after passive-aggressive attacks like calling people “unsophisticated” and “trolls” it had shifted onto you personnaly and became out-of-line.

I think that “publicly calling people out” (again, you were originally not targeted) becomes necessary on global-reaching endeavour such as this survey and voices asking to include the community are ignored, as I shared in my previous comment. What other avenue do you suggest? Staying silent? I think we should listen to each other in order to move forward.

Comment from das-g on 22 January 2021 at 23:11

I’ve translated this diary entry to Esperanto.

Mi tradukis ĉi tiun taglibra afiŝo al Esperanto:

jaro-2021-a enketo de OSMF al la OSM-a komunumo

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