OpenStreetMap

mikelmaron has commented on the following diary entries

Post When Comment
What HOT needs to work on for 2025 6 days ago

Hey Ivan, no need to remove comments, it’s of course fine to disagree, and if we misunderstand each other for a moment that’s ok. HOT is strong enough for some heated exchanges now and then.

Not to dwell on it, but to explain, some parts (“not a community vision we should strive to emulate”, “utterly inappropriate”) read like, let’s say, pretty strong push back. And phrases like “inward looking focus” and “specialist offshoot” are twisting my perspective. Felt compelled to push back too, unnecessarily (and btw, I’ve done plenty of parachuting myself). But let’s move on.

For sure, OSM has A LOT of issues. By working and contributing, HOT can help and make OSM stronger, which benefits very much what HOT wants to do.

What’s most interesting to hear is what HOT should be doing to prepare for the effort of Audacious.

One specific thing I read here about HOT is that you think the hub roles should require humanitarian experience but not OSM experience. It’s hard to imagine someone in this role who hasn’t had both experience in the international system, as well as technical and data worlds. Thinking about it now, critical will be a track record of “community values and local empowerment”. Tall order all together, and I’m excited meet these unicorns!

What HOT needs to work on for 2025 6 days ago

@Ivan Gayton, did I write something you didn’t like about HOT? Find your comments strangely combative and refusing reflection. This kind of divisiveness and distancing doesn’t serve HOT well.

I didn’t put OSM at the center right now, the Audacious grant did. And it’s long overdue. OSM isn’t only about maps and data, that’s a bad misconception on your part — it’s about people and community as well. You must admit the humanitarian sector does not broadly hold a strong community based vision and does not excel at building self reliance, so we should not look to it for a model. This is exactly why I started HOT 15 years ago — joining the values of OSM and for humanitarianIsm makes the entire endeavor more human and stronger.

Unfortunately I think HOT has become somewhat too enmeshed in the humanitarian system, reproducing dynamics like yes northern white men in long term leadership positions in places like Tanzania. Yes the HOT board is diverse, but compared to the staffed operation it has not been in the forefront of the organization for the past 5 years. I think that should change, as I said in my post.

And yes the OSMF Board has recognized the problems in its diversity and our community. The vision is one where people everywhere are empowered to make the map and use to improve their lives. But a statement or a vision is only a start, there is a lot of work to do.

So yes back to work.

Disappointed (But Not Surprised) 11 days ago

Thanks @blackboxlogic. Agree with the general thrust of what you say here and appreciate the analysis. Documentation and discussion of data sets for imports are key. I think there is confusion about the term “import”; there’s an impression that it only implies to imports worked on in bulk, not when the workflow evaluates each new feature individually. The import guidelines apply to third party data sets whatever the workflow is for bringing in features, and if the edit is in bulk, then likely also the mechanical edit guidelines should be addressed as well.

I don’t agree with everything here. For instance, I think these issues could be addressed quickly without taking mapswith.ai offline. And I don’t see how Organised Editing Guidelines apply, since no one is compelled or required to do this editing.

-Mikel (my personal opinion. I’m an OSMF Board Member and employee of Mapbox)

What HOT needs to work on for 2025 24 days ago

Thanks for you comment @Tyler! And for going into helpful detail on points I only gave a glancing take on.

Announcing Daylight Map Distribution 5 months ago

Thanks Mike and Facebook for doing this. It’s great to have this insight out and available. There’s a good tradition of downstream data processing and redistribution in the community (you could call them packages I supposed) – from GeoFabrik’s regional and country downloads, to OSMQATiles, etc.

In this case (and I focused on this when we spoke), I’m not sure that the most valuable thing to distribute is what made it through Facebook filters, but rather what didn’t make it through and why. That insight is valuable to identify problems that need fixing on a faster basis, notify local communities and other editors, and to build up a corpus of understanding of what problematic edits in OSM look like.

The most actionable way to do this distribution will be through OSMCha. Through the OSMCha API, you can flag changesets/features with reasons, and can be set up so that any reason tag by Facebook has a “Facebook:” prefix.

This is what Mapbox has set up. The Mapbox Streets Review team looks at edits every day, and problems are flagged and surfaced in OSMCha. You can see all of this with this OSMCha filter. You’ll see the most recent flag as about 3 days ago – that’s the typical time between OSM edit and review / publishing in Mapbox Streets.

Adding in Facebook flagged problems to OSMCha would provide even stronger signal of problems, and hope to explore implementing it with you all.

Sad day for VGI in Turkey 6 months ago

Do you have a sense of the intention of this law? Seems unlikely they’d have OSM in mind, but more likely commercial providers. What’s the risk that enforcement will actually focus on OSM activity?

OSMF-Vorstand kodifiziert englischsprachige und anglo-amerikanische kulturelle Dominanz in der OSMF 6 months ago

@᚛ᚏᚒᚐᚔᚏᚔᚋ᚜ 🏳️‍🌈 Is that the fundamental contradiction being discussed here? Because I took @SimonPoole to be saying that diversity and mapping values are not in conflict, but that any value statement beyond mapping is not necessary. Which I don’t agree with obviously. But if the real question is tolerance of intolerance within the domain of OSM itself, that’s a whole other thing.

OSMF-Vorstand kodifiziert englischsprachige und anglo-amerikanische kulturelle Dominanz in der OSMF 6 months ago

Ah that’s interesting. I don’t think it matters what happens outside of OSM but what happens within OSM that’s important. So if my wife goes to Saudi Arabia, she’ll need to cover my head. But if a Saudi prince reverts all her OSM edits from data she collected on the trip because she’s a woman, that’s not ok.

Support but not control is one of many values that OSMF has had to work within it among a dynamic interplay of other values. OSMF is the legal entity that hosts the servers and holds the license, etc. There’s absolutely a tension there which we have continually navigated as an organization and project.

OSMF-Vorstand kodifiziert englischsprachige und anglo-amerikanische kulturelle Dominanz in der OSMF 6 months ago

I’m baffled by the general idea that one value cancels out another. As if by saying all are welcome, that we no longer care about mapping?! In most societies, the actions and decisions by members of society result from an interplay of values.

OSMF-Vorstand kodifiziert englischsprachige und anglo-amerikanische kulturelle Dominanz in der OSMF 6 months ago

OSM was started to create the best map of the entire world. The vision was that simple and big from the start. Anyone who needed map data could create it themselves, and work to enable others to do so too. Because that would result in the best map. It turned out to be pretty fun too. There was no line between hobbyist and professional — all contributed, individuals moved through different roles, and all marveled at what doing this work together could make in the map and the impact it could have on the world. SteveC was clearly looking at upending the geodata industry, not to end corporate use but enable even more of it. I was motivated to upend how data was shared for disaster response, and started HOT. There’s as many motivations as there are contributors, and that’s great and something we can celebrate. There’s no contradictions in this, or necessity to create a hierarchy of values. It all works hand in hand and is wonderful.

Diversity in OpenStreetMap, Seeking your help on ideas for the Foundation 6 months ago

Does anyone know how “wheelchair” became so popular?

Believe that is in large part due to https://wheelmap.org/. They did a great job of advocating for it, and showed how it could be useful. This is much in the spirit of OSM, where people and groups of people take initiative, and other parts of the ecosystem adopt.

OSMF-Vorstand kodifiziert englischsprachige und anglo-amerikanische kulturelle Dominanz in der OSMF 6 months ago

Thanks Christoph, you’ve given us a lot to think about. You’re certainly the most in depth moral philosopher operating in OpenStreetMap. While I can’t claim to understand all the ins and outs of your argument, I don’t think your points substantiate the idea that OSMF is on the precipice of becoming an illegitimate, capitalistic, dominating force.

First on context. We actually approached the Python Foundation to see if they were ok with us adapting their statement. Also the topic of diversity has been present since the very early days of the project, and certainly active topic in the Foundation for over 5 years. I agree the collective outrage was over the top, but it was not that episode that motivated us. This has been a long time coming.

I do think you bring up a number of good specific points about the text we should consider and would improve it, and that’s where I’d like to focus.

  • Link the diversity statement to the values of OpenStreetMap. Very good point, and I think something we should consider adding. There’s a number of documents/wiki pages/discussions on the topic of values, so might take some clean up there as well. https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Foundation/Core_Values
  • Including language in the list of attributes of diversity that is valued. And I think we can better explain that we want and need linguistic diversity. As a practical matter the OSMF conducts business in English, but there must be ways to be more inclusive to people who are not proficient in English.
  • The points about nationality vs national origin and politics seem minor, since I don’t think anyone would be legitimately confused by them. However there is probably better phrasings to consider.
Diversity in OpenStreetMap, Seeking your help on ideas for the Foundation 7 months ago

Thanks @MarissaD. I did post on Twitter and it got good distribution, as well as many OSM channels.

My take on the Board election, yes there were few candidates, and that reflects a probable lack of diversity in the Foundation, at least people active in Foundation activities. I very much like the idea of mentorship on how to get more involved in the Foundation. It’s an offer I personally plan to make, and will also ask other Board members to make the offer as well.

Diversity in OpenStreetMap, Seeking your help on ideas for the Foundation 7 months ago

@Ferdinand0101 I get it, but I don’t think it’s helpful to call people unfamiliar with GIS and programming “normal” – though you are right, OSM editing is pretty weird and unusual, in a good way. Totally agree that showing how approachable OSM can be would be helpful to expand contributors, especially to focus on observation of our world – that’s the most interesting part of OSM.

Not to belabor a point, but I don’t think it’s accurate to say women are less interested in tech. It’s right to notice that women are less represented in some science and technology fields, and that OSM with its roots in open source communities in part reflects that. The reasons are complex and big, and I’ll be interested to hear from people less represented in our community what those reasons are. One thing I believe is that if people don’t see people like themselves somewhere, it does feel hard to invite yourself in.

Diversity in OpenStreetMap, Seeking your help on ideas for the Foundation 7 months ago

Thanks for the comments so far. Would love to hear from more people, and hear from people interested to join and work in this group.

@seav A couple additional thoughts after @”joost schouppe”. In order to know if the fee waiver program improves diversity, we need to know what the Foundation membership looks like now, and what it looks like in the future. And once someone joins the Foundation, what is the experience like for them? and where does the Foundation benefit?

@”Mateusz Konieczny” take the broader point that if OSM were more well known, it could attract more diverse participants, but we should think more about all the channels OSM can access, and really does not take advantage of – we have great stories but don’t tell those stories widely. Certainly having better localized tagging guidance would be useful, and could attract similar enthusiasm to translation. Yes, a compendium of previous research and discussion would be helpful. And agree we could look more widely at how other communities approach diversity, but reckon that open technology oriented communities are going to have enough similarities to make for interesting lessons. I’m not familiar with what happened on StackExchange.

@”Valor Naram” I think you mean well, but I don’t recognize OpenStreetMap as you describe it. There are a lot of in person events around the world with OSM, and they’ve been critical to building our community. I’m not sure what a “normalo” is, but it doesn’t sound that great, and in fact there are plenty of people who do not have a heavy tech background involved in OSM. Women are in fact very interested in technology, but there are many factors that lead to less participation generally; you might be interested to read about the history of women in computing on Wikimedia, which highlights that the early days of software development was dominated by women.

Facebook: Hands Off Our Map 7 months ago

Haha I heard that statement on the radio this morning and thought “Frederik would like this”.

Anyway I asked some unanswered questions above about whether looking at big companies as single entities with a totally aligned approach or more appropriate as a bundle of interests like governments themselves.

First meeting of the new OSMF board 8 months ago

One thing we can agree, that first thread wasn’t a great discussion and Twitter makes it too easy to promote unhelpful outrage.

I would love a thoughtful and civilized conversation. I wish I saw that more on osm diaries and osmf-talk too.

Unfortunately I don’t get much opportunity for that with Christoph, where my actual thoughts are assumed, twisted, and ultimately disregarded. Maybe some day he’ll see the different between his phantom version of me and the reality.

First meeting of the new OSMF board 8 months ago

It doesn’t feel very good to be told by someone that you are reacting exactly how they expect.

There were many branches of discussion coming from this post on Twitter. All of the newly elected board members have jumped in somewhere https://mobile.twitter.com/HeatherLeson/status/1205892966428106757

Allan has also opened up another thread after the board meeting https://mobile.twitter.com/allan_mustard/status/1209879368400539649

I am not claiming that these twitter discussions represent anything like a comprehensive set of voices from OSM.

I fail to see how my words here or at any other point connect to what you write about ”engineering pseudo diversity” or an ”English language debate club”. I get the impression that here, and often in other discussions, you are reacting to a phantom version of myself and my views which have little to do with reality.

I do appreciate your point about linguistic and cultural diversity. It’s something I’ve paid close attention to throughout my work and efforts in OSM around the world, in myriad situations.

I do not presume the answers for how osmf should approach the issue of diversity and inclusion, but will focus on what is the right structure to move ahead.

Stop this Leadership Nonsense 8 months ago

@trial I don’t know what you are talking about. I deliberately don’t use the term “leadership” in the context of OpenStreetMap because of this different understandings of the terms across cultures.

The questionnaire was made up of questions submitted by members of OSMF. I don’t think the questionnaire was in any way written in a way that encouraged only certain types of people to run – in fact the questionnaire was compiled after nominations for the Board were completed. In the future, consider adding your own questions there, if you think this year’s questions were not as good as they could be.

Yes, Heather submitted a question that used the term “lead”. I addressed my ambivalence about the term in my answer to that question. Frederik wrote this diary post in response to the question, fully aware that there are different understandings of the term from several Board F2F converstions about it, yet deliberately did not include his full understanding of the term.

First meeting of the new OSMF board 8 months ago

I didn’t think it was a trap at all, but needed to take a second to think through if this was the right step. I really appreciate Guillaume picking up the initiative for us to consider this. The Board had already been discussing the diversity topic quite a bit on the Board mailing list, in chat, on OSM diaries, and social media. There’s a lot brewing in those discussions, and I hadn’t considered the idea of a working group right at that exact moment, so I paused. There’s been a lot of community momentum on diversity, making this not a top down effort at all, but the natural step for us to consider.