The most fun I have with OSM is making the map better. Adding nodes and ways and tags. Seeing how my puttering around with JOSM or iD leads to a prettier map that is more useful.
Getting folks together in Salt Lake City where I live to have some OSM fun together. For example. A few weeks ago, I started a new thing called the Flash Map Mob. We do them every other week now in SLC and together we map something like 100 shops and restaurants every time.
The map becomes more useful and folks are having fun. That is what OSM is to me!
I don’t need to sit on any board to do these things. Heck, I can probably do more of them when I am not on the board! So why do I do this? What value do I add being on the OSM US Chapter board?
I’ll tell you and I’ll be brief.
OSM is still very good at adding contributors.
(The graphs come from osmstats.)
What we’re not so good at is actually getting folks to go out and map. Look at the flat daily active mappers graph for the US:
This is not a US only problem. But I want to start attacking it where I live.
I don’t think putting on big conferences like we have makes more people go out and map. I think we should stop doing that as OSM US.
We should direct that energy towards creating smaller OSM gatherings around the country. Gatherings for mappers. I want us to do 4 of those in the next year. They could be like the fantastic event I attended in Seattle for OSM’s 10th anniversary. (More photos). Or something else? We should find out. What does an OSM event look like that you would go to?
We should put local mapping groups first. We should step up funding local groups with mini grants. We should do regular sessions to help people get started organizing their group. Gather more data on what works and what doesn’t to help direct our energy. Perhaps it’s mapping party kits? Perhaps it’s changing the web site to be much more community / mapper oriented? I want us to find out.
I work at Telenav on OSM stuff. So I am in a position where I can get a fairly big organization with lots of talented people to do useful things for mappers. Recently we published Missing Roads. It’s stuff like that that gets people mapping. As a board we should encourage companies to enable mappers by having them build useful things and share data.
All of this should lead to us getting from ~250 daily active mappers in the US to 2x that in the next year. This is what I want to accomplish with the board on my next term.