OSMF Board candidates: Martijn van Exel

Posted by pnorman on 28 November 2015 in English (English)

In preparation for the 2015 OSMF board election I am gathering basic info and question responses by candidate, to help people be better informed about their choices.

I’ve added annotations in italics where I felt they would be useful.

Martijn van Exel

  • OSM User mvexel
  • Manifesto reproduced below

Bringing almost a decade of grassroots OSM experience and 4 years of US Chapter board experience to the table. Read my OSM diary to learn more about me. Please get in touch with me if you have questions, or to let me know what you want from the OSMF board. I work for Telenav on OSM


Where do you currently participate in the OSMF?

Board member of OSM US 2011-2015. Started User:Mvexel/Welcome_Working_Group (now dormant). Participated in LWG and CWG, but not particularly actively.

Note: OSM US work is not part of OSMF

Which contributions to OSM should I consider for my decision beyond your data edits at OSM?

Some highlights: * Mapping since 2007 (see my profile). * (Co-)Organizer of many events small and large: SOTM ‘09, SOTM US ‘12, ‘13, ‘14, ‘15. Local events in Amsterdam and Salt Lake City since 2008. * Started local groups in Amsterdam and Salt Lake City. * Blogging about OSM, first on my own blog and now on my OSM diary. * Author of MapRoulette (together with emacsen) and many other smaller tools. See my Github page. * Active participant in OSM mailing lists and IRC channels.activites * Did a whole lot of talks and workshops on OSM since 2010. * Find me on Twitter, LinkedIn. * Spending part of my time at Telenav creating and releasing useful data and tools for mappers. * Taught OSM to Geography students.

Do you use OSM at work for business purposes?

Yes. My work at Telenav revolves around OSM. We use OSM data to power many of our navigation products. My job is to ensure that OSM is the best map it can be for that purpose. If you read my diary, you will get a sense of what that means. A lot of my time goes into working on things that are a mutual benefit to Telenav and OSM mappers. Recent examples are the Missing Roads and Traffic Flow Direction JOSM plugins. More good stuff in the pipeline!

Conflicts of Interest

I work for Telenav on OSM which may raise a COI from time to time. I will follow the COI policy. If there is none, I will bring experience of defining one for OSM US to the table to implement one as soon as possible.

Who should the OSMF serve?

The OSMF board serves the members of the foundation. If folks feel that there is not proper representation of the community, then we should have more people from the community sign up as members. Again, I see a role there for local chapters.

Role of the board

Has not responded.

Communication with the community

I only subscribe to talk, talk-us and legal-talk. I read the forum very occasionally. I read IRC and participate there. I go to any SOTM conference I can feasibly get to. I spend time on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and most importantly the OSM diaries to learn about new developments in OSM. I follow what’s going on on Github. I email / talk with a lot of OSM friends personally on a regular basis. In my professional network I talk about OSM a lot, learning what other companies and organizations are doing with OSM. Like the office hours idea, I started something similar in the US a while ago with ‘Mappy Hours’ on Google Hangouts.

Community involvement in OSMF

Local chapters are key. When someone becomes a member of a chapter, it should be easy (automatic even?) to also become a member of the foundation. Our experience in the US shows that folks often don’t even know these things are separate.


My work with the US chapter board has involved a lot of thinking about and working on creating a more inclusive and diverse community. See how we did for example with SOTM US this past spring. This was a team effort but I do bring this experience with me. Also having had a leadership role communities in both Europe and the US gives me some perspective on diversity.

Paying People

Entirely in favor. What is more, some key responsibilities all but require professionals or would greatly benefit from having them: legal, finance, marketing and PR.

Board term limits

Has not responded.


Fundamentally the board’s proceedings should be open, but at its discretion confidentially needs to always be an option.

License violation enforcement

I think we should retain legal council to address license issues and especially move forward the ODbL guidelines. We cannot leave this to IANALs or, worse, external stakeholders.

Note: Martijn has recently joined the LWG

Imports and remote mapping stance

The solution to bad data entering OSM, be it through ill-advised imports or manual edits, is not in more policing, but in better onboarding of new mappers. Initiatives like LearnOSM / TeachOSM / Mapgive are great but it would be even better if we would provide these resources ourselves. Over time, the days of every mapper having full access to editing OSM from the day they sign up may need to come to an end. I see a role for a reboot of the Welcome WG.

Commercial and Organized Editing Policy stance

Don’t think so, rather we should engage with these organizations to make sure they have the tools to teach their people how to map. I would like to see some data on the lack of intrinsic motivation of paid mappers, my anecdotal evidence points in a different direction altogether.

Note: Martijn leads the Telenav editing team

Login to leave a comment