I’m running for the board of OpenStreetMap US.
As the current board’s treasurer, I’ve worked hard to keep our books up to date during the largest State of the Map in the world. I’ve also spent countless hours working with bookkeepers and accountants to make sure the financials of previous boards are sound as well. I’ve made sure the membership roster has been kept up to date and have tried to dump as much historical/institutional knowledge of how OSM works and has worked as I can into places where other board members (current and future) can use it to help make their lives easier.
Going forward, I agree with several of my running mates: we need to increase the number of active mappers in the United States. In the past, the main focus of OSM US has been to run the best State of the Map in the world and I think we’ve proven ourselves in that respect. We’ve brought together more of the community than any other OSM event every year for the last several years. But even though we bring existing mappers together in increasing quantities, we aren’t doing a great job of introducing new people to OpenStreetMap and having them stick around to continue mapping.
I think we should use our track record of running great events to put together several (at least 2) smaller State of the Map events around the US. We should lean heavily on existing strong communities and community organizers to help pull them off while contributing the board’s time, money, and effort to make them a success. The goal of these events should primarily be to showcase local mapping efforts while also inspiring with exciting national and international OSM projects, events, and tools.
Having larger events should not detract from continuing to fund more and more mapping parties and local groups. In recent months we’ve called them “micro-grants” and have funded one or two events, but I’d like to see us hear from dozens of events around the country. The photos and stories from excited community members would make great material for a newsletter for our membership:
We should also organize and send monthly (at least) newsletters to our considerable mailing list of current and past members. Past boards (including myself) have mentioned doing this several times without actual implementation. My expectation is that as we reach out to and encourage local events we’ll have more to share.
In short, OpenStreetMap US should shift its focus from successful, large events once per year to building more communities of mappers around the country. The goal should be to grow and support existing communities and do everything we can to help foster new communities.