We all know the OSMF has a small membership compared to the mapping community. Worse, it is skewed towards certain countries. You might hear people say Germans and US Americans dominate the membership.
In a perfect world, all countries have a similar participation rate to OpenStreetMap, and mappers from all countries participate in OSMF by the same degree. The first is not something that is easily changed, but the second should clearly be our ambition. In France, a discussion about this led to a recruitment campaign with the explicit goal of rebalancing. This piqued my curiosity. Oh, and it increased membership with 90 people (from a mere 42).
But numbers without context are of little use. Guillaume (user Stereo) supported the French with membership statistics, and hooked me up with a list of membership by country for all countries. Now I’d say OSMF membership would ideally reflect the mapping community - skewed slightly for countries with a bigger data-user community. Unfortunately, no thorough statistics about mappers by country is available. Fortunately, there is something close to it: “the number of daily mappers” in a country. It is not a perfect measure:
hdyc has a de facto “estimated home location”. This would allow to take some of the random noise out of the equasion
“active mappers” (people with at least three months with a mapping day) might be a better measure
in some cases, it’s impossible to find the country of people who only map abroad
But it’s close enough, and it’s available. Pascal Neis, deserving his last name as usual, sent me a list of all countries with the avarage number of daily mappers over the last 12 months.
Numbers with context
The easiest useful measure in this context is the membership rate, which allows to compare countries. For the world, you get 26 OSMF members for every 100 daily mappers. This rate varies from 0 in Tanzania to 94 in the US. On a map, it looks like this:
For greater detail, I made a table:
First we have the number of active mappers and the number of OSMF members.
Then we look at the membership rate. The column “expected membership” gives you the number of members you would expect if all countries were the same. The representation rate is 100 when a country is perfectly average. Germany scores 156, which means that for every 100 expected OSMF members, they actually have 156. A country like Russia is heavily underrepresented with just 29 OSMF members for every 100 we would expect.
For privacy purposes, countries with less then 1 or 2 OSMF members are shown with “-1” instead of their actual values.
One more thing
I should probably have been working on my position statement for the OSMF Board election, since I am one of the candidates. But since participation, growth and diversity are some of my core interests I just couldn’t stop myself.
- Update: corrected the table screenshot