Inclusivity at State of Map 2018

Posted by arnalielsewhere on 6 August 2018 in English (English)

August is the Philippines’ National Language Month. So I took the time to translate this diary in my local language, Filipino/Tagalog, which can be found here.

Late last year I’ve been fascinated with the concept of and started advocating about “inclusive mobility.” For me, inclusive mobility refers to a state where everyone and everybody are free to move everywhere and have access to all modes of transit, and all roads and bridges are passable.

It was amazing to see and experience the streets of Milan. I believe they have reached the state of inclusive mobility where both automobiles and differently-abled pedestrians have been taken into consideration in the transport planning process.

Getting to SotM 2018 at Politecnico di Milano…

For this year, SotM was hosted at the Politecnico di Milano. There are a lots of ways to reach the venue. suggests either by car, walking, cycling (bike share programs are available in Milan but I wasn’t able to try it :( ) or train (but no tram?). In the first day of the conference, I traveled alone because I woke up late and I didn’t want my mates to wait. But they instructed me how to go there (thank you Geoffrey and Tima!). I opted to take the subway from Republicca to Milano Centrale to Piola. At Piola, I found myself walking towards the wrong pin location and walking around the area for 40 minutes under the heat of the sun! I was so lost that I decided to ask a stranger to point me in the right direction (thank you!).

So yeah, I missed 1/4 of SotM Day 1. But good thing there are recorded videos of the whole conference which can be found in Youtube.

Inclusivity, diversity and representation...

Before writing this diary, I watched the keynote address by Kate and Heather which I missed. Heather discussed the 5 components/values of being an “open” organization/community by OpenOrg. One (1) of it is inclusivity, which she stressed to be one of the hardest part.

Keynote Address: OpenStreetMap - Now and Into the Future by Kate and Heather

Inclusivity means that we cover or include all regardless of gender, race, age, religion, income status, etc. This brings us to the topic of diversity and representation. We need diversity of mappers because each of these sectors have different perspectives, values and beliefs. These perspectives, values, and beliefs are representations of the sector they belong to.

Through OSM, we are connected and bound by the same vision which is to create a free and editable map of the world. It is our shared landscape.

This is why we promote diversity, include and encourage the youth and the young at heart, etc, to make sure everyone is well-represented and visible on the map.

So for me, inclusivity in OSM is where everyone and everybody from all parts of the world are free and empowered to map.

SotM 2018 participants. Credits to OSM

Inclusivity at SotM 2018

I believe the SotM2018 organizers had put their best effort in making the conference an “inclusive” one. Here are some of my observations and stories regarding inclusivity at SotM 2018:

  1. Participants came from 56 countries, that’s more than a fourth of all the countries in the world!
  2. SotM organizers livestreamed the event for those who couldn’t come personally; and uploaded the videos on Youtube afterwards
  3. Participants’ age range varied! I met Austin, who is 18 years old (I hope Heather was able to meet him too!), I also saw a young kid, maybe around 9-12 years old!
  4. A wide range of talks and panel discussions presented the concept of inclusivity (I believe all talks have somehow touched the subject of and promoted the concept of inclusivity) Here are some of the general topics:
    • Gender diversity: Open Gender Monologues by Heather Leson (OSM) and The road towards diversity in OSM still needs to be mapped by Celine Jacquin (Geochicas) must be noted
    • Differently-abled persons: persons with disabilities, youthmappers, displaced communities, and low income setors
    • Interpolating number addresses
    • Talks on inclusive mobility! (There were many talks on transportation that I wasn’t able to attend ☹ )
    • Mapping tools and techniques for everyone!
    • Interpretations of OSM imagery and data for all ages, sectors and background!
    • OSM for Environmental Protection! Even trash should be visible in the map!
    • Academic tracks were included at SotM 2018! I find this very interesting especially as someone who is still a student in the uni. Lol
  5. I was part of the Scholarship program and we have a 50:50 men to women ratio, and came from different regions of the world. Kudos to OSMF for giving equal opportunities!
  6. It is also great that we're encouraged to write OSM diaries in our own languages!

SotM 2018 Scholars. Thanks to OSM Foundation

A word of thanks…

I would like to express my deep gratitude and congratulations to the OSM Foundation (especially to Rob and Dorothea), Wikimedia Italya and other organizers, volunteers (Polimappers!), sponsors, speakers, facilitators and awardess, as well as the different OSM organizations and local communities and all the participants of SotM 2018. This conference would have not been great and successful if not for you.

More powers to OSM and open data/mapping!

Empower local communities

PS. I posted a thread on twitter on the things I love most about Milan.

Here are some photos of the talks.

And photos of the wonderful people whom I met in Milan.

Thanks for reading! :)

Location: Village B, UP Campus, Quezon City, District IV, Quezon City, Metro Manila, 1101, Philippines

Comment from imagico on 6 August 2018 at 12:03

Thanks for sharing your observations.

I would advise a bit of caution with the emphasis on how many different countries the participants came from. This is a relatively poor measure of the geographic diversity at the conference. It is a bit like claiming to have gender diversity because you also have a woman in your group.

2/3 of the visitors at the conference were from Western Europe or the United States, the vast majority of them from Italy, Germany, US, UK, France and Switzerland. About half of the 56 countries were only present with one person and about half of those were there through some kind of scholarship.

This is all fairly natural for a conference like this and from my point of views is no indication for a particular degree of geographic and cultural inclusiveness or of being representative for the OSM community (see here for some numbers regarding the geographic distribution of mappers).

Comment from alexkemp on 6 August 2018 at 13:32

2 broken links; one following which she stressed to be one of the hardest part & the other following More powers to OSM and open data/mapping!.

The plain link leads to a page which asks for Google sign-in details. In other words, this worked from your computer because you were already logged in to Google, but not for any other person on the planet.

You need to store those photos on an anonymous a/c.

Comment from Kateregga1 on 6 August 2018 at 14:49

Thanks for the blog @Arnalie, by the fact that the conference was in Europe, majority of the participants were expected to be from nearby countries, I am sure it will be the same case when the conference comes to Africa, 56 countries is a very good indicator of inclusivity at the conference.

I learnt a lot about city mobility from interacting with you in Milan, and I am more mindful of that for my city now - advocating for things like pedestrian sidewalks and cycle routes. Mapping what we have now and showing gaps to the city authorities is a way how OpenStreetMap can be used to make a change in my society. Its interactions like these that makes State of the Map a wonderful gathering.


Comment from Heather Leson on 6 August 2018 at 15:05

Dear Amalie, thanks for your contributions to OSM. I also appreciate your reflections on how inclusive SOTM was in terms of content.

Keep on inspiring us to learn from you,


Comment from Austin Zhu on 6 August 2018 at 15:54

I really had a great time with you! Hope to see you again! ;-)

Comment from arnalielsewhere on 7 August 2018 at 06:45

@imagico Thank you for sharing your post and views. I highly admire you for stating the facts. You are right about the geographic/cultural diversity. The conference venue and it's accessibility is a huge factor for the target and prospect delegates. Due to its proximity, the organizers may have predicted that the attendees will most likely come from Europe and neighboring countries. Due also to the cost of travel, I believe the OSMF and other organizations who gave travel grants exerted an effort to give equal opportunities and did a great job to include people (like me) who don't have that much means. :)

Truly, we can say that there's an imbalance or unequal representation in the conference and OSM community. This is why we should continue to promote and encourage participation to improve the numbers.

Comment from arnalielsewhere on 7 August 2018 at 06:47

@alexkemp Thank you for noticing! It's fixed now :)

Comment from arnalielsewhere on 7 August 2018 at 06:50

@Kateregga1 Hey Geoffrey! Thank you for the comment. You have summarized my Milan experience through the last two sentences of your comment. And I learned (and ran! haha) a lot from you too! See you soon buddy! :)

Comment from arnalielsewhere on 7 August 2018 at 06:56

@Heather Leson, Thanks to you, too! It's because of people like you who encouraged me to look at things on a wider perspective. Thank you for inspiring! :)

Comment from arnalielsewhere on 7 August 2018 at 06:56

@Austin Zhu, it was nice meeting you too :) see you again! :)

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