I am excited to put myself forward to serve on the OpenStreetMap Foundation Board. I’m a mapper, coder, communicator and organizer, obsessed with OpenStreetMap for over 10 years. The OSM community has grown phenomenally. The core governance of OSM, the OSM Foundation, has kept the core resources of OSM stable and strong, but has struggled to keep up with the community. OSMF needs to grow. Growth doesn’t necessarily mean get bigger; I believe within our community we have everything we already need. What it does definitely mean is getting smarter and faster about how we engage and collaborate together beyond the map. That means creating proper space and structure in OSMF for a much broader diversity voices and activities of the OpenStreetMap community. I have a strong record of building alliances and networks in the OpenStreetMap community, and am ready to bring my efforts to OSMF.
OSM is a global project, and participation in OSMF should reflect that diversity. Local Chapters are a critical means to bring more voices and energy into OSMF. Local Chapters are national and local level groups of OSM mappers, some more formalized than others. We should engage Local Chapters (whether officially signed up with OSMF via an agreement, or more nascent) to broaden our discussions and deliberations, and recruit more help for the critical activities of the working groups. We can help Local Chapters do what they do better, with support for community management, events, and organizational capacity. Linking chapters together to share their knowledge benefits everyone. I’d help kickstart this, through targetted discussions through Local Chapters, on what they hope to see from OSMF and OSM.
Re-energizing working groups are key. I want to talk with as many OSMF Members as possible, hear about your interests, and help you find a way to contribute your time to OSMF. I want to promote Working Group activities loudly, and actively and directly recruit people to get involved. Working groups, whether Licensing, Data, Communications, Operations, etc, should be able to move quick and comprehensively as issues come up, as well as have a longer term view of where they’re heading. When this involves funding, OSMF needs to have a greater (if still relatively small) financial capacity to raise and spend money.
Partner organizations, whether government, academic, corporate, or non-profit have a role to play as well. Providing means for folks working with OSM from their organizations to contribute as well to OSMF will provide a breadth of much needed support and skills. This means boosting our sponsorship program, with more definition of what partners should expect from OSMF and vice versa.
OpenStreetMap will have an amazing State of the Map in Brussels. I want to see many opportunities for broad participation there, with solid outreach to other communities and interest groups, space for our global community to represent through scholarships and a Local Chapter “Congress”, and space for related communities to gather before and after, like the HOT Summit. And smaller events are critical too. Part of our support for Local Chapters translates into help to make even more great regional and national State of the Maps.
This will be my second stint on the OSMF Board. I’ve learned a lot about how organizations work since then. I’ve facilitated buy in to OSM everywhere from international organizations, to informal settlements, to activists, to educators. I served on the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team Board as President, and continue to lead the Map Kibera Trust Board. My most recent year was spent as a Presidential Innovation Fellow at the State Department, where I helped the USG publicly commit to Open Mapping in a big way. I’ve recently joined the Mapbox data team. I’ve helped initiate mapping efforts around the world, from the ground up.
OSM continues to fascinate me. Please get in touch with your questions and ideas. I bring many perspectives and experiences to the Board, and can’t wait to work with you all.