While the heart of OpenStreetMap is the community of mappers, it has also a remarkable ecosystem of software developed and used for OpenStreetMap. Many people are surprised to learn that it is so federated that the OpenStreetMap Foundation does only a tiny part of it.
The key to understand that is that many software projects have developers out of personal passion. The long time editing tool Potlatch has been developed and kept alive by Richard Fairhurst, JOSM luckily has a whole team behind it, and also Vespucci, OSMAnd, Nominatim and Osmium each are closely tied to names, as well as many other tools. This both keeps each of the tools focused and gives them a direction. Large organizations cannot offer that, because more often than not the managerial fashion of the season will interfere with pursuing long term goals.
Nonetheless, outsiders that expect a single point of contact shall have one. This is where the idea of the Engineering Working Group comes into play: it has a more specific mission than the board in general, but it still can send people and inquiries to the right places.
The EWG does not replace issue trackers. The EWG is not the right venue for comprehensive visions of the future. But it shall help to improve the flow of information related to development of OpenStreetMap related software.
I’m happy to chair the just restarted EWG.
My biggest contribution to the OpenStreetMap software ecosystem is the Overpass API: to enable all mappers to search for the information they want in the OpenStreetMap database by suitable formal expressions. I have developed the Overpass API completely in spare time, mostly because no organization by any measure ever would have approved such a project. This also includes to do reliable and meaningful testing, and this is again is in any organization a hard point to sell, even more because lip service and self-perception say otherwise. Hence the Overpass API itself is also a good example to illustrate the development model of personal passion.
My day job is at MENTZ, a company that develops software for public transit. It is itself a heavy user of OpenStreetMap data, most notably for pedestrian routing including routing of disabled people. We use OpenStreetMap also for better public transit information in general, but that is more like yet another stylesheet for the renderer than something specific. The challenge in pedestrian routing is that walking habits and potential states of ways are so wildly different that there is no standardization how to tag things and thus essential attributes still missing in many places - because it is so hard to explain to mappers what properties really matter.
The sessions of the EWG are public by default, and we encourage everybody else who has to say something on a topic to tell it the EWG. We will do our best to distill the factual arguments even out of contributions that take a stand.
Of course the best way to do that, to be as neutral and well-informed as possible about the OSM software ecosystem is to have enough members. So if you think your knowledge about OSM software development can help, please ask on email@example.com for joining the EWG.