pnorman's diary

Recent diary entries

OSMF Board candidates: Joseph Reeves

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.

Joseph Reeves * Location: UK * OSM User IknowJoseph * Manifesto


Where do you currently participate in the OSMF?

I admit that I have not contributed to any OSMF Working Groups. I greatly appreciate the work they do, however, and would only work to encourage participation in them. I am happy to join any WG that I can be an asset in. I have done work to promote OSM outside of more formalised methods and would continue to encourage others to do the same

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

Do you use OSM at work for business purposes?

First of all, please don't judge my, or anyone else's, suitability to serve on the Board by their map edits! I'd argue that a previous preoccupation with mapping skills has been to the detriment of the OSMF and has contributed to a cultural problem that is inhibiting diversity and community involvement. In my opinion crucial Board skills involve communication, planning and organisational skills. Most relevant to my OSMF Board application, I have served on the HOT Board. I have been a long term contributor to HOT as a Member and have participated in a number of Working Groups and activities, including three trips to Indonesia. An example of my writing is available on the HOT Blog. I have spoken about OSM at numerous events including an Oxford University seminar series that can be watched online here, and TechCamp Sarajevo 2014.

Conflicts of Interest

No. I am a member of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team and have previously conducted paid work for that group, but I am not expecting to be doing this again in the near future. From my time on the HOT Board I have had a great deal of exposure to Conflicts of Interest procedures and resolution.

Who should the OSMF serve?

I joined the OSMF as a member because I wanted to support OSM, not to have the OSMF Board further my interests. As a Board member I would work to ensure that the Board, and the OSMF members we represent, continue to work in the best interests of OpenStreetMap. The needs of OpenStreetMap are varied and are going to change over time, as such I don't think it's appropriate to single out a single priority to represent over the Board term.

Role of the board

Has not responded.

Communication with the community

Has not responded.

Community involvement in OSMF

The OSMF community needs to grow in size and improve in participation experience. I used to think that successful community was something that just happened organically and grew from a group of like minded individuals, having worked with some amazing Community Managers, however, I can see the error in my thinking. The Board needs to target actionable points of the community and set targets and standards to aspire to. This is much more productive than rehashing past issues. I would like to see the OSMF promote it's achievements, and the benefits of membership, more readily. At the same time we need to improve the experience of people who are either existing members or new to the group.


As OSM grows we are naturally going to recruit more members; diversity for me is to be measured by these new members. I think there's reasons to be hopeful; I have seen first hand great diversity in the HOT Indonesia team as well as at MissingMaps mapathons. This needs to continue, and I believe that diversity will continue to increase by attracting new mappers and new projects. The OSMF has to become more diverse to reflect changes in the OSM user group. I don't think the current OSMF mailing list is the best communication method to encourage diversity, or community involvement, and I would promote diversity as central to any actions to improve community experience.

Paying People

Has not responded.

Board term limits

I don't currently have a strong opinion on the issue and am happy to have the various views explained to me again. The Board seems to be functioning without the special resolution. I passionately believe that all Board Members have to be useful and have to be productive; it may be that term limits can help here, but any changes to the OSMF articles need to be made within a broader culture of "getting stuff done".


Transparency is, of course, hugely important. It should be remembered, however, that there are sometimes legal barriers to complete transparency in the Board's discussions. Staffing matters, for example, can be an example of where a Board is not legally allowed to publicly discuss an issue. I can also think of situations including funding or project partnerships where a third party may request that we do not immediately disclose all the details. In short, the Board should be as open as possible, but you simply cannot say we will be transparent about every issue for the 2016 term. When transparency is not an option we should be effective at communicating the issues to Members. Vote reporting is, I think, an issue for individual members, although I am happy to have the details explained to me further.

License violation enforcement

I think almost all licence violations are unintentional and I am often impressed with how the community deals with the issue by explaining the problems to violators. I'm convinced the use of OSM is going to grow enormously, so we're likely to suffer more violations in the future, at which point we may need a more formalised approach. At present communication is key. I am impressed by efforts such as the OSM copyright page and the MapBox attribution instructions and hope to see these methods become more commonplace.

Imports and remote mapping stance

In my election statement I described OSM as a wonderful patchwork that covers the World: Imports and remote mapping are part of this patchwork and aren't going away any time soon. Imports and remote mapping needs to be conducted within a dialogue with local mappers. I have conducted both and see them as important and useful methods of mapping. I am currently mapping areas of Syria from aerial imagery; I have visited the country, most recently at the end of 2011, and I don't believe there is a strong local mapping community in the country. Maps of Syria are very important, however, both for aid delivery and news reporting, so I have no issue with contributing remotely. I hope it helps in some small way.

Commercial and Organized Editing Policy stance

Has not responded.

OSMF Board candidates: Mikel Maron

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.

Mikel Maron


Where do you currently participate in the OSMF?

In the past, I have served on almost every working group, except Operations. Currently, I am on the SotM WG, and anticipate joining the LCWG again. Most every working group needs more help, and I will promote and recruit heavily for more participation from OSMF members and the broader community

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

  • I mapped Brighton, UK
  • Facilitated mapping in places from the West Bank, to Nigeria, to Swaziland
  • I co-founded Map Kibera
  • I co-founded Huanitarian OpenStreetMap Team
  • I'm on I've contributed to OSM website, got the first version of OSM on Garmin and the iPhone, worked on the OSM Tasking Manager. Most recently, I've been working on analysis and metrics of OSM.
  • I've written numerous tutorials, spoke at tons of conferences, and represented OSM projects in venues from community meetings in slums, to international political gatherings. Important point ... editing and programming are critical contributions to OSM, but there are other skills we need on the Board.

Do you use OSM at work for business purposes?

I work at Mapbox on the data team. My focus is on leveraging work here for the widest possible benefit to OSM. I've previously worked at the State Department, as a Presidential Innovation Fellow, on MapGive. Prior to that, I consulted on OSM related projects through GroundTruth Initiative.

Conflicts of Interest

I work for Mapbox, and am active in the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team. I am very familiar with management of Conflict of Interest. When there are items that clearly touch on my interests, I will recuse myself appropriately. In any case, in all my work, my core interest is helping OSM. Does OSMF have a clear Conflict of Interest policy? I can't find this. If not, we need one. which I'm sure you were aware of from your previous position on the board.

Thanks. Important to understand the laws under which osmf operates. But I was asking about the policy, which guides exactly how osmf handles CoI (how it's divulged, when and how we recuse, etc).

Who should the OSMF serve?

I want to turn this question around. OSM is made up of what we contribute to it. Whether we are contributing map data, software, design, amazing uses, community building & communication ... we are serving OSM. OSMF should be the same. OSM Foundation can be a place to focus and route our energies beyond the map, a place where we can serve OSM in ways that excite us.

Role of the board

The Board needs to focus on facilitating high level strategic direction of OSMF, maintain fiduciary and legal responsibility for the entity, needs to determine budget and resources (whether in assets, volunteer time, or paid time) necessary to maintain the core of OSM (the servers, domains, data and IP), and support the communication and interaction of the community. As much as possible, the Board needs to push the actual activities of the OSMF to working groups, chapters, and people retained for services.

Communication with the community

I'm subscribed to a large number of mailing lists, try to hang in IRC, follow many OSM folks on Twitter, regularly read weekly-osm, frequently chat with OSM folks on Skype, read and post OSM diary entries. It's a huge volume, and honestly we need to become more focused and strategic from an OSMF perspective. I do like the idea of regularly scheduled "office hours" with the OSMF. And I welcome anyone to directly reach out to me anytime.

Community involvement in OSMF

Greater involvement of Local Chapters. Excellent communication on OSMF and Working Group needs. Active recruiting drives for participation.


From Map Kibera and HOT, and my work at State Department, I have strong connections and understandings of communities around the world, especially those not well represented in OSMF. As I talk about in my position statement, I believe enhancing the participation of Local Chapters is critical to increasing geographic diversity. Improving diversity in gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and otherwise is very much needed in OSM generally, and I will support specific outreach and communication to make sure OSM is a welcoming place.

Paying People

I'll quote Frederik Ramm, he here expresses a pretty sensible view similar to mine.

"there's quite an acceptable middle ground to be found ... In the current board, we agreed to take it slow - to accept that in the long run we will likely be employing a few people, and to say: Let's learn how to do this, as an organisation, slowly, let's start with hiring an administrative assistant for 1-2 days a week and let them do some of the tasks that currently are either being dropped or being reluctantly done."

There are probably other tasks which are best done by paid consultants or employees. Let's look carefully at OSMF needs, and match with the best options for resourcing. Let's get the organization prepared to hire people, if it's found necessary.

Board term limits

This has not been an issue. I do however wonder if a 3 year term is too lengthy. Would be interested to explore reducing to two years. Will of course serve for as long as required.


Boards need to be both transparent, and also have space to discuss confidential issues. I would support periodic public Board meetings of some kind, and willing to consider open vote reporting, though I don't have a solid opinion either way right now. I'd also support greater transparency through general greater accessibility of the Board outside of meetings, and more communication.

License violation enforcement

I'm not sure these cases are handled in any consistent mechanism. And whatever the mechanism, it shouldn't become more prosecutorial. Agree this is mostly unintentional. Good and clear communication about what is needed to work with OSM is the key here.

Imports and remote mapping stance

Imports and remote mapping and surveying all have a place in OSM. I have done all and support all, when done well. Key is good communication and a productive environment to improve our map. And, better tools for monitoring and QA on OSM data are something I am eager to facilitate.

Commercial and Organized Editing Policy stance

Everyone has incentives and motivations for doing OSM. We should focus on, no matter what their incentive, that people coming to OSM can grow a passion for the mission of OSM and embrace of our values. Policies that apply to one group or another don't encourage this. The best way to do that is through better communication, transparency, and a welcoming spirit.

At State of the Map US 2015, I asked the audience how many people worked on some aspect of OSM as part of their job ... nearly 40% raised their hands. Many of us are lucky enough for our passions and work to coincide. That includes mappers, and in my experience, passion for the mission of OpenStreetMap is inseparable from doing a great job in OSM.

I work at Mapbox, with the Data team. I invite anyone with questions to learn more concreatly about what's happening here, it's pretty exciting. Read more on the Mapbox blog and the Mapbox mapping public repo.

Mikel's employer has a team of employees who edit OpenStreetMap

OSMF Board candidates: Guido Stein

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.

Guido Stein

  • Location: USA
  • OSM User gsteinmon
  • Manifesto quoted below

As someone new to the community I hope that I can share my prespective as a newer member in your efforts to grow the community as well as in your efforts to have better outreach with newer members. I have years of experience running and founding local community groups as well as technical experience with geospatial technologies. I am stepping up for your consideration in order to help where I can with the community growth and development.


Where do you currently participate in the OSMF?

I am still very new to this community and have not started working on any working group, but plan to join some working groups within the next couple of months.

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

As a newer member I have contributed by helping to grow the Boston GeoSpatial community and supporting local mapping events with the OSM Boston Meetup Group. I use my own community group, AvidGeo, to help build awareness and attendance of OSM Mapping parties locally. I will be working with the 2017 FOSS4G Conference to also help bring attention to the OSM community.

Do you use OSM at work for business purposes?

I am a GIS Analyst and use OSM data as a base layer in some of my work, but my work does no currently include any OSM editing activities.

Conflicts of Interest

No, I do not have an conflicts of interest. I work for Applied Geographics, Inc. and am the founder/lead organizer of AvidGeo. I am also on the organizing committee of the 2017 FOSS4G. None of these positions have a fiscal or other overlap with the duties of the OSM board.

Who should the OSMF serve?

Has not responded.

Role of the board

Has not responded.

Communication with the community

Has not responded.

Community involvement in OSMF


Paying People

Has not responded.

Board term limits

Has not responded.


Transparency/openness should be paramount to how the organization is run.

License violation enforcement

Has not responded.

Imports and remote mapping stance

Has not responded.

Commercial and Organized Editing Policy stance

Has not responded.

OSMF Board candidates: Peter Barth

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.

Peter Barth


Where do you currently participate in the OSMF?

I joined the Data Working Group about half a year ago, and have been helping to resolve disputes between mappers since.

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

Besides my work as a mapper and Data Working Group member, I have: * created and contributed to Open Source software related to OpenStreetMap, especially related to 3D rendering * mentored students doing OSM work during Google Summer of Code projects and theses * cooperated with government, industry and charity organizations on a local level * given speeches at various conferences, and contributed content to WeeklyOSM and the German Wochennotiz * introduced new users to OpenStreetMap through events, talks, and tutoring.

I believe this gives me a broad perspective on various aspects of the OSM project an community, and I hope to contribute my experience as part of the OSM board.

Do you use OSM at work for business purposes?

No. While I try to promote OSM at my university through bachelor and master theses, I actually have no work related affiliation to OSM.

Conflicts of Interest

No. See above.

Who should the OSMF serve?

Serving the needs of map users is an integral part of the usefulness of our project, but to me, the OSM community consists of mappers and software developers. And these groups are who I'd try to represent.

Role of the board

As I also cited in my manifesto, the OSMF should support but not control the OpenStreetMap project, and that should be taken as a guideline for the board's actions. As a general rule, the board has to handle its duties but should not take care of things that could be done by the community as well. Anyway, to give you some ideas about things the board should get or is already involved in, here's a list of things I think of: Assisting the working groups and also demanding from them (e.g. ask for reports,...), make the budget plan, possibly fund raising if needed, set up promotional programs, help and support local communities (e.g. local chapters), help organize SOTMs (including local ones), public relations, maybe launch merchandising, promote OpenSource tools everywhere in the project, dealing with inquiries of all kind (press, legal requests,...) and especially report about the board's work. Though the board should not get involved in managing software development, setting up mapping rules or hiring staff. For more details, on some of these ideas, see my manifesto and the other questions.

Communication with the community

I'm subscribed to a large number of mailing lists as well (German and English ones), I follow the German ones more closely though. I read blogs (not only the official OSM ones), user diaries, the OSM Forum (German, 3D and Indoor mostly) and you will find me on a bunch of IRC channels. However, I read much of that especially to aid the Wochennotiz/WeeklyOSM. Of course you can meet me in person, either while mapping ;-) or at the regular's table in Passau, the annual FOSSGIS event or hacking weekends or stuff like that.

Community involvement in OSMF

The very limited involvement of OSM community members in the OSMF, visible in the membership numbers, limited involvement in working group and participation in elections, has been a big topic and before the last elections there have been fairly bold statements towards improvements here but not much has happened. Although there is now a possibility to become a member without paying the membership fee there is still quite a high hurdle to become a member and participate in decision processes of the OSMF. Do you have ideas how to improve community participation you intend to push forward if elected to the board? There have for example been suggestions for automatic membership for active community members.


I'm mostly part of the German community (and subcommunities in Germany), which is a very large community. What I'd like to reach is better geographic diversity: As stated in my manifesto, the OSMF might provide PR articles (or money therefore), the board could subsidize flights to SOTMs, help with money for regulars tables or talks about OSM and so on. These are points I'd like to bring to the board.

Paying People

As I stated before, I'm a strong opponent to paying staff. If something can be done by a volunteer, let's try and search a volunteer. While it makes sense to engage e.g. a lawyer to handle a lawsuit for us, I have yet to see a suggestion for an employee that makes sense. Anyway, from the information the OSMF members get (the meeting minutes) you can see a small number of tasks which get handled late or not at all and it's not convincing that the work load is so high that it needs to be outsourced. So I'd suggest to start with regularly reporting about each member's work to see where help is needed and what options exist, instead of jumping to the conclusion that we need employees.

Board term limits

I wouldn't pursue it, but I also wouldn't work against it. Although there have been many and good arguments for term limits, I'd prefer to let the voter decide. Be it to implement or reject term limits or to vote the same person 20 times in a row.


Well, I think there have been enhancements since Paul Norman is on the board, and I've been able to contribute a bit to that with my public encouragement of public board meetings. Nevertheless, there's still room for improvements. Regarding my standpoint to transparency: I'm serving the community, so except for privacy issues I don't see any reasons for intransparency. This includes publication of board members' votes, which I fully support.

License violation enforcement

I think the current intended way of handling things is good: The OSM community may deal with violations locally, and complicated stuff will be escalated to the LWG. So if there's anything that should be changed it's to advertise volunteer involvement in the LWG.

Imports and remote mapping stance

In the past I often wondered about all the fuss about imports and mechanical edits. Having seen and stumbled upon a bunch of really messy imports, I have changed my mind. I'm still in favor for imports, but only if they strictly follow the Import Guidelines or Mechanical Edit Policy. I think they should be made even more strict and I think there should be a clear rule to revert everything that doesn't adhere to these guidelines. However, this is my personal opinion only and nothing that should be worked on in the OSMF board.

Commercial and Organized Editing Policy stance

This is nothing the board can or should decide. But personally I'm absolutely in favor of such an collaborative (paid) editing policy. I think we should at least demand from such mappers that they disclose whom they work for and what they work on. Two name two rather strong arguments for such an policy: I'd like to know if 50 employees of company A vote on the wiki and I'd like to know if all of them use a controversial tag. Anyway, that's something the community has to decide.

OSMF Board candidates: Ilya Zverev

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.

Ilya Zverev


Where do you currently participate in the OSMF?

First, most work is done outside OSMF, even by OSMF members. People write blogs by themselves, explain legal issues without being on LWG, and code without EWG help. There are 5 groups currently active: OWG and DWG, because they have the only power there is in this community: access to servers and a banhammer. And LWG, LCWG and SotMWG, which do organizational stuff few people have knowledge or experience or time to do.

I am not currently on any working groups, though formerly I've been on EWG (promoting API changes) and on the Membership WG, which didn't set off. Which does not mean, obviously, that I'm not doing any work WGs do: for instance, I do communications work in the Russian community, editing a news blog and hosting a weekly OSM podcast. During my involvement in OSM, I tried most things WGs do: explained licensing, wrote code, admined servers, tried to reason with vandals, organized conferences, considered opening a russian local chapter.

Why I don't sign up to any of the groups? Some, I don't feel qualified enough (e.g. LWG or LCWG), others are too taxing (I envy these steel-nerved heroes at DWG) or require 24h commitment (OWG, we can't thank you enough). And some working groups don't seem useful: why join CWG or EWG, when all the help you need is in IRC channels and blogs?

That doesn't mean I won't consider joining working groups later: it's that benefits of being on them (and levels of commitment) should be clearly outlined. E.g. members of the CWG receive news early and have access to the blog and the twitter. Maybe it should be the other way around: you're not writing code because you're on EWG, but you're on EWG because you are an active developer. Working groups, like the OSMF itself, clearly need improvements and incentives to be attractive to newcomers, and that is one of the matters I plan to work on.

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

I have a brief list of my projects at (some of which are on github), and a list of wiki contributions at my wiki user page. I write the only russian-language OSM news blog and the OSM Radio podcast (not to be confused with the german Radio OSM). Some of my views are expressed in English at my OSM diary.

Do you use OSM at work for business purposes?

Since this year I work at MAPS.ME, which makes a very popular application for OpenStreetMap (almost 30 million installs). So in a way, I do. No paid mapping though, apart from fixing a few bugs our users tell us.

Conflicts of Interest

Yes, I work for MAPS.ME. And by thorough discussion. I would also represent this organization on the Board, but interests of OpenStreetMap are more important for me. But then, one of MAPS.ME goals is to contribute to OSM growth.

Who should the OSMF serve?

I am primarily interested in OpenStreetMap growth as a geodatabase and a platform. But being on the OSMF Board won't help me with that directly. The Board has little power, but a huge influence, it being the only official OSM entity. We can try using it to make OSM more visible and to attract more users and developers, and to encourage experienced members to do things besides plain mapping, like helping other users, directly or not. There are ways for the Board to help specific groups of OSM users (e.g. developer grants), but we should promote all kinds of involvement.

Role of the board

That's a big question. The Board should not get involved with mapping, software development or permissions to use OSM. It should support working groups, and OSMF in general: decide what OSMF is, what it is for, and why join. It should decide where money goes (at least until we have a dedicated working group) and the general direction of the OSM project.

Communication with the community

I'm subscribed to a large number of mailing lists, try to hang in IRC, follow many OSM folks on Twitter, regularly read weekly-osm, frequently chat with OSM folks on Skype, read and post OSM diary entries. It's a huge volume, and honestly we need to become more focused and strategic from an OSMF perspective. I do like the idea of regularly scheduled "office hours" with the OSMF

Community involvement in OSMF

The automatic system seems to be in place now, thanks to Henk. But it is still the question of why anybody would join OSMF. I shared some ideas last year, some of which still stand. I can't promise anything, but I hope in the coming year OSMF members would have a better understanding on why they have joined.


First of all, I represent the russian community, which is third (or fourth) largest in OSM, but isn't visible because of the language barrier. Not that it would matter on the Board: I'm concerned with the global OSM community first, and the russian part of it second. I already help members from our community to interact with everyone else, so my being on Board would not change much in that regard. I guess a viewpoint that I would bring to the Board is mine alone, but, of course, is influenced by both russian and english communities.

Paying People

We already do that for accounting, and should be paying more people - of course, where reasonable. We can't have an evolving project with only unpaid volunteers to do all things. Not sure about marketing and PR though.

Board term limits

Yes, I would. The Board is not fun when it's the same people year after year, it becomes too closed and deaf to innovation


This is an important matter for me, since I do a news blog, and am always very interested in how the Board works. Sadly, there is still little information on that: we can't even know how people we elected work on their goals. I plan to make the Board as open as possible, but understand that there may be reasons why they aren't much transparent yet. We need to see individual members of the Board, and to have better ways to influence their agenda. I guess I'll start with myself: even if other Board members won't open their votes, I probably could share mine.

License violation enforcement

I don't think we can do much in technical sense, but we sure have to educate users more. Most license violations happen not of malice, but because few people know maps are even subject to the copyright law. And to answer a common kind of thought, "so what, as if they are going to find out", we need to be more strict and improve our reverting tools. But this, again, not a Board matter, but depends on DWG and some brilliant programmer.

Just for clarification: My question was primarily about violations of the ODbL by users of OSM data, like OSM based maps without attribution. The question of dealing with use of legally unsuited sources for mapping is of interest as well of course (although not really that controversial).

Right, I didn't understand that the first time. Simply talking to violators works most of the time, and that is usually done not even by LWG, but by regular OSM members. I think that is good, and LWG does its work great, explaining possible edge cases of the license. The Board can help by only being a bit more louder. I hope we won't have to take anybody to a court :)

Imports and remote mapping stance

I had very strong opinion on that in the past, but now I'm ok with any import that adheres to the Import Guidelines. Sadly, I've yet to see such an import. So again, we should better reverting tools, and less introvert community.

Commercial and Organized Editing Policy stance

The same rules should apply to anybody, regardless the source of their motivation to edit. If a person doesn't like editing OSM, but still adds correct highways and buildings, - why should we treat them differently? There are already guidelines that say, use correct sources and draw what's on the ground, and I don't think we need more than that.

OSMF Board election canidate positions

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

The OSMF is having a board election, with voting opening this weekend. The questions to candidates are arranged by question, but I wanted to see the responses of each candidate together, so I rearranged them, and sorted the questions into an order I think makes some sense.

Because this is going to end up being long with 11 candidates, I'm splitting into multiple diary posts. I'll link them all together after publishing, but I can't do that yet.


Guido, Ryan, Gonzalo, and Douglas have not responded to most of the questions.

Mikel and Joseph have not responded to some of the questions.


The questions are reproduced below.

Where do you currently participate in the OSMF?

Most OSMF participation and work is done through working groups. What working groups are you on, and if you're currently not participating in any, why not?

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

Please give me a short list of your contributions to OSM (both editing and programming). Do you have edit via multiple OSM accounts which are not listed at Foundation/AGM15/Election_to_Board? Which OSM related software and websites do/did you develope? Please give me a short list and/or a link to your Github profile.

Do you use OSM at work for business purposes?

Do you use OSM at work for business purposes? Do you earn money by developing OSM-related software/websites? Do you earn money by editing at OSM (aka paid mapping)?

Conflicts of Interest

Do you work for a company or are involved with organizations that are working with OSM in some form? If yes how do you plan to handle situations where the interests of this company/organization and the interests of those you would represent on the board diverge?

Who should the OSMF serve?

Formally the OSMF board is elected by and therefore should serve the OSMF members. But anyone can be an OSMF member as long as he/she pays the membership fee. Whose interests do you think you will primarily try to represent if elected to the board? This will likely be the 'OSM community' in some form but this is a fairly inhomogeneous group consisting of mappers, software developers, map designers, map users and others so please try to clarify on your priorities.

Role of the board

What do you see as being matters that the board should or should not get involved with?

Communication with the community

Which communication channels do you use to stay informed and talk to the community?

Community involvement in OSMF

The very limited involvement of OSM community members in the OSMF, visible in the membership numbers, limited involvement in working group and participation in elections, has been a big topic and before the last elections there have been fairly bold statements towards improvements here but not much has happened. Although there is now a possibility to become a member without paying the membership fee there is still quite a high hurdle to become a member and participate in decision processes of the OSMF. Do you have ideas how to improve community participation you intend to push forward if elected to the board? There have for example been suggestions for automatic membership for active community members


Diversity - both geographic and otherwise - is a big topic for many in the OSM community. Please describe in what way you think your presence on the OSMF board would serve diversity in OSM. Would you bring a particular viewpoint to the board that is important to be represented there? Do you represent or have intense connections to a local community or other interest groups whose interests you plan to bring forward during your time on the board?

Paying People

Many manifestos suggest the OSMF Board should be doing more, we aren't adding more board members. How can the board accomplish more with the same number of people? What are you views on paying people to accomplish some tasks that for whatever reason can't be accomplished by volunteers?

Board term limits

The idea to limit the duration for which an individual can be a member of the OSMF board has been an important subject of discussion and also subject of a special resolution put up for vote during the 2014 special general meeting which received a majority but failed to pass the necessary 75% threshold. Since then the current board has not made a decision on this matter. What is your standpoint on this and would you pursue a change in the OSMF articles to implement such a term limit?


Transparency of the OSMF board's work has been a big topic in the last election. There have been changes on this matter since then, for example there has been the first public board meeting but there have also been controversial points like the question if individual board members votes in board decisions should be made public. Please describe your standpoint on Transparency in the OSMF and its board's work - both in general and what changes in this regard you would like to pursue if elected.

License violation enforcement

The OSMF formally holds the rights to the OSM data or in other words is entrusted by the mappers to legally administer their work. There are mechanisms in use, primarily involving the license working group, to deal with cases of license violations, most notably missing or insufficient attribution. What is your opinion on this situation? Do you think the current mechanisms work? Do you think there is need for changes in the way such cases are handled and if yes how should such changes look like?

Imports and remote mapping stance

Among OSM mappers both data imports and remote 'armchair' mapping are controversial subjects and are discussed frequently from practical to philosophical levels. Please describe your standpoint on the matter and (if that applies) your practical experience with these.

Commercial and Organized Editing Policy stance

OSM has become important as a source of geospatial data for the last years and nowadays we have couple of companies and organzisations mapping at OSM. In difference to the community these people often lack the intrinsic motivation most mappers have. They only do what they are told to do and only do it because they get paid for it. Should their be a guideline similar to Automated Edits Code of Conduct and Import Guideline which rules the activities of commercial mappers and mappers which are part of courses (at schools, universities etc.)? What should it rule? Note: DWG has suggested such a policy in May 2014.

OpenStreetMap Carto Complexity

Posted by pnorman on 16 November 2015 in English (English)

This is a repost from my blog

I often refer to OpenStreetMap Carto as the largest most complex open multi-contributor map style, but what does that mean?

Broken down, it means

  • It’s the largest open stylesheet. If you measure in code size, features rendered, or complexity, nothing else is close;

  • It’s the largest multi-contributor map style that doesn’t have a company dictating what is worked on. This means we get merge conflicts. They got so bad we changed the technology we use to define layers to make them solvable; and

  • It’s the largest style using OpenStreetMap data. Some proprietary styles like OpenCycleMap, MapQuest Open, and Mapbox Streets are complex, but none of them render the range of features we do.

This complexity didn’t come about out of nowhere. It’s been building since contributions shot up in October 2014. This is when we introduced YAML layer definitions, making the style much easier to edit and streamlined the feature merge process.

The style is large enough that no one person can understand it all. I know I can’t and I’m a maintainer. There are too many parts, and too many interdependencies between them. How does this style stack up against other big Mapnik styles which show a range of features? Styles like OpenStreetMap "FR" Carto and OpenStreetMap Carto German which try to showcase all of OSM data are forked versions of OpenStreetMap Carto, but there are some truly independent styles we can look at.

Not all styles use YAML layers, so to make the measurements consistent I processed layers defined in JSON through a bit of python:

python -c 'import sys, yaml, json; print yaml.safe_dump(json.load(sys.stdin))'

This is the reverse of osm-carto and gives the layers in the same YAML form.

Stamen have taken part of the design of CartoDB Basemaps as well as their own maps, and all three make use of some variation of High Road which simplifies you to only ever see three road classifications at a zoom, and what they are changes with zoom level.

Mapbox Streets’ heavy use of SQL is unusual. They are using triggers to post-process osm2pgsql data into multiple tables, simplify, and transform tagging. This novel approach probably brings with it interesting maintenance challenges, and normally I’d recommend using Imposm or osm2pgsql lua transforms. uses 285 lines of Lua to have one of the most sophisticated handling of cycle-related tags for rendering surface quality, and it would take significantly more SQL to do the same work in layer queries.

Surprisingly, Mapnik XML line counts are comparable to CartoCSS line counts, so we can look at the Mapnik XML stylesheet from 2012, MapQuest Open, and OpenTopoMap, three full-featured Mapnik XML stylesheets.

What’s shocking is the linecount of osm-carto compared to everything else. The next three most complex CartoCSS styles have about the same number of lines combined.

The choice of imposm vs osm2pgsql or the use of intermediate vector tiles don't seem to change style complexity.

Thanks for Richard Fairhurst, AJ Ashton, and Andy Allan for numbers for their stylesheets. Komяpa provided some MapCSS numbers, but I ultimately didn’t use them since I wasn’t sure MapCSS and CartoCSS linecounts were comparable.

9th Annual General Meeting OpenStreetMap Foundation

Posted by pnorman on 8 November 2015 in English (English)

Repost of

This is the announcement of this year's Annual General Meeting. The official announcement has been sent to member's emails already, but more people may notice this.

The PDF attached to those emails had the wrong month for cut-off for nomination and start of voting. This PDF has corrected information

The 9th Annual General Meeting of the OpenStreetMap Foundation will be held online in the IRC chat room #osmf-gm on the IRC network, at 1600 UTC on Saturday, 05 December 2015. You do not need to attend the meeting to vote.

The agenda is included in the the PDF and can also be viewed here:

Information about email voting will be sent in due course, and voting will open one week before the AGM.

I will be sending out additional information on standing for the board election.Board nominations close two weeks before the AGM. Someone else or myself will send information on the special resolution.

Only regular members can vote on the special resolution or be on the board. If you wish to change your membership status from associate member to regular member, please don't wait until the last minute.

On behalf of the Board, I am looking forward to our Annual General Meeting

More OpenStreetMap Futures

Posted by pnorman on 31 October 2015 in English (English)

Repost from my blog

Andy recently blogged the developer numbers from his OpenStreetMap Futures talk at SOTM US.

Wanting to play with the numbers myself, I took the osm100 code and added in additional projects. The original list of repos came from a list of "Core Software" from the Engineering Working Group, and since then some of the software has been replaced, and there's other older software which used to be core, but isn't.

The big changes were

  • JOSM plugins

These serve as an easier entry into JOSM programming, and have far more committers than JOSM core

  • Taginfo

Taginfo is now a core part of OSM, being used for auto-complete in iD

  • Osmium and Libosmium

Osmium and Libosmium run behind the scenes for a lot of OSM software. This probably didn't add many more people, as most developers wouldn't start here.

  • Old Mapnik Stylesheets

These had a lot of cartography work until 2009, and are important for historical data. The contributors are likely to be different too.

  • OpenStreetMap Carto

OpenStreetMap Carto is a large, active, multi-contributor project, and with many unique contributors.

Retention graph

The 2015 numbers reflect the first 10 months of the year.

We're on pace to have a slightly bigger year than last year, but with better retention. Overall, Andy's analysis in his talk still holds

OpenStreetMap Carto v2.33.0

Posted by pnorman on 15 August 2015 in English (English)

OpenStreetMap Carto 2.33.0 has been released. This release focuses on cartographic style improvements, but the release notes also include 2.32.0.

The biggest changes are

  • A randomized symbology for forests for natural=wood and landuse=forest #1728 #1242

A long time in the works, this improvement has finally landed. The two tags were merged - they are indistinguishable to the data consumer. A randomized symbology was first suggested by SK53 at SOTM-EU 2014, and this feature would not have happened without his extensive research, or imagico tools for creating an irregular but uniformly distributed and periodic dot pattern

As all residential, unclassified, and service roads in a city became mapped the rendered view became over-crowded, bloblike, and difficult to read.

  • Unification of footway/path and rendering surface of them

The mess that is highway=path is well-known, and it is necessary to do some kind of processing as a data consumer. A distinction is now made between paved and unpaved footways.

  • Rendering of Antartic ice sheets from shapefiles #1540

Ice sheets in Antartica are a bit of a special case, and pre-generated shapefiles are now used

  • Mapnik 3 preperations #1579

The style is not yet fully tested with Mapnik 3 and we don't claim to support it, but several bugs were fixed. Most of the work was done on the Mapnik side

  • No longer rendering proposed roads #1663 #1654

  • Power area colour adjusted #1680

  • Better place label order #1689

  • meadow/grassland and orchard/vineyard color unification #1655

  • Render educational area borders later #1662

  • New POI icons

A full list of changes can be found on Github

New osm2pgsql long-term release

Posted by pnorman on 18 July 2015 in English (English)

A new long-term version of osm2pgsql has been released, 0.88.0. This includes the work done in the 0.87.x development series and the porting to C++.

Like all versions, 0.88.0 can be obtained from

Potentially breaking changes

Major new features

One potential use for this feature is matching an existing schema for data, to allow OSM data to be a drop-in replacement.

  • In-memory pending tracking instead of in-database, with significant performance gains.

  • Rendering tables are ordered by GeoHash when created, resulting in significant performance improvements.

  • z_logic has been improved, taking into account more recent work across multiple styles. has more information.

Other changes

  • The node storage has been improved, and out of order nodes and nodes at 0,0 should now always be handled correctly

  • A new test suite with unit tests

  • Many bug-fixes and cleanups

Known issues

  • Append mode is not supported with non-slim. This is suported in 0.89.0-dev, but is frequently a user error. Typically, when a user does this they should instead merge input files with osmosis/osmconvert and use --create

What's next?

osm2pgsql is switching to libosmium for parsing and will require a C++11 compiler. These changes are already in 0.89.0-dev. Beyond this, it depends on contributor time and interest and if anyone decides to pay for development.

Mailing list post:

Release candidate for new osm2pgsql 0.88.0 stable release

Posted by pnorman on 11 July 2015 in English (English)

We are preparing a new osm2pgsql stable series release, 0.88.0. This is based off of the work done in 0.87 development series with porting to C++.

Help is needed in doing a last round of tests before release, in particular the z_order logic. 0.88.0-RC1 can be obtained from

If upgrading from a 0.86.0 or earlier created database, the schema migrations in are required.

Major changes

Osm2pgsql is now C++ and requires the Boost libraries.

A new backend has been added, the “multi” backend. This allows multiple tables which can each contain different types of features. More documentation is available at

In-database pending way tracking has been replaced with in-memory tracking, offering significant performance gains. This requires a schema migration for old databases.

z_order logic has been improved, taking into account recent work across multiple styles. has more information. This requires a schema migration for old databases.

Osm2pgsql 0.87.4 release

Posted by pnorman on 11 July 2015 in English (English)

old engineering plan storage

Osm2pgsql 0.87.4 has been released. This development release is focused on improving the node cache and pending way status storage.

Lockfree Queue removal

The boost::lockfree::queue implementation of the pending way queue has been removed, leaving the std::stack based implementation which used to be available with the --without-lockfree configuration flag. The stack implementation was found to use substantially less RAM. This should allow the --cache value to be increased and drastically speed up import speeds, particularly with full planet imports and machines with 16-32GB of RAM and mechanical hard drives.

The boost::lockfree::queue implementation used to require Boost 1.53 or later, and this difference has been removed.

Any package maintainers packaging the 0.87.x series should move to 0.87.4 and remove any usage of --without-lockfree from their build scripts

Node cache cleanups

Cleanups have been done to the node cache, significantly expanding test coverage, allowing 0,0 as a valid coordinate with the dense cache, and fixing some bugs.

Default style fixes

Some fixes have been made to These do not impact anyone using it as-is, but should avoid confusing behavior based on column order if the file is modified.

Oldmerc option

The --oldmerc option has been removed. This used a legacy projection that no one would normally want, and if someone does want it, they can specify it by SRID

Other cleanups

  • style.lua cleanups
  • Travis CI improvements. OS X support for Travis is ready, but Travis is not offering new capacity for Mac workers at this time

Upcoming work

One large issue remains that should be addressed before 0.88.0 is release - reimplementing middle_ram_t::relations_using_way. Development help from one of the many organizations using osm2pgsql in production would be welcome.

A full list of commits is at

Photo © CC BY 2.0 Seattle Municipal Archives

Osm2pgsql 0.87.3 release

Posted by pnorman on 30 April 2015 in English (English)

Osm2pgsql 0.87.3 has been released. This development release primarily fixes bugs, but some of the bug fixes make other features usable.

Included is a bug fix for the lockfree queue implementation. Anyone using versions 0.87.0 to 0.87.3-dev, parallel processing, Boost 1.53 or newer, and not using --without-lockfree should immediately upgrade or stop using parallel processing. No data corruption issues have been observed, but the lockfree implementation may have been buggy on all systems.

There have been various fixes with moving hand-written C structures to C++ standard library equivalents and other code cleanups. The main user-facing changes are

  • The multi-backend should now be functional, with an example which creates separate tables for bus nodes, highways, and buildings

  • --without-lockfree is no longer needed on OS X, BSD and some Linux distributions and architectures. This should simplify downstream build scripts for multi-architecture builds and improve speed on any OS that required the option before.

  • nodecachereader should now work with node IDs > 2^31. This is a separate utility program, and obviously isn’t used much

  • Nominatim-related performance improvements

  • Many autoconf macros have been updated. This should ease configuration on non-standard systems.

This may be the last tagged release that does not require C++11. We have no current PRs which will require C++11, but would be willing to accept them.

A full list of commits is at

As always, bugs can be raised at I’m particularly interested if package maintainers have concerns. If osm2pgsql isn’t packaged for your OS and you want to do so and have questions about the osm2pgsql side, please ask them too.

Many thanks to those who have contributed code to this and previous releases.

Paul Norman
On behalf of the osm2pgsql maintainers

Building Osm2pgsql for Testing

Posted by pnorman on 9 January 2015 in English (English)

This is a copy of a blog post on my site.

Recently I needed to run a bunch of osm2pgsql tests in a virtual machine, so optimized the process. You would not normally do development in a VM, but it's useful for testing. It's particularly useful for me because my old Ubuntu server uses a development version of PostGIS which doesn't work with the testsuite.

I was using VirtualBox to run the VMs, and started with a base Ubuntu 14.04 server install on a virtual drive of at least 30GB. The flat-nodes tests require a lot of space.

Starting with the base, I updated the OS with

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade && sudo shutdown -r now

This gave me a VM I could clone and use for other projects. Starting from a cloned VM, I installed the dependencies. Copying and pasting into VirtualBox can be a pain, so a bit of clever shell expansion minimizes the text I need to type

sudo apt-get install libtool g++ protobuf-c-compiler postgresql-9.3-postgis-2.1 \
  lib{boost{,-system,-filesystem,-thread},xml2,geos++,pq,bz2,proj,protobuf-c0,lua5.2}-dev \

The osm2pgsql testsuite requires a custom tablespace for some of the tests, as well as normal PostgreSQL setup.

sudo -u postgres createuser -s $USER
sudo mkdir -p /tmp/psql-tablespace
sudo chown postgres.postgres /tmp/psql-tablespace
psql -c "CREATE TABLESPACE tablespacetest LOCATION '/tmp/psql-tablespace'" -d postgres

To get osm2pgsql, I was cloning my own git repo instead of the normal one, but if you wanted to get the source, build the latest version, and run the testsuite, I did it with

git clone
cd osm2pgsql
make –j4
make check

make check tends to take awhile to run, as it has to do several imports and create a lot of databases for testing. It also has to write a 20GB flat nodes file.

Langley Imagery

Posted by pnorman on 3 November 2014 in English (English)

Note: Repost of

I just got the recent Langley 2014 imagery from their Open Data program loaded onto my server, and I’m impressed. The new imagery has at least as good spatial accuracy, while having better resolution, colours, and being more recent.

Comparison between old and new imagery

In the next few days, I want to release the new layers.

Unfortunately, while Langley is using the PDDL license, other cities in the region are using custom licenses, meaning I have to enquire with each one individually, taking significant time. If they were all using standard licenses, I would have rebuilt my BC Mosaic layer by now and this post would be about updating it to include new sources.

Location: Aldergrove Village, Aldergrove, Township of Langley, Metro Vancouver Regional District, British Columbia, Canada

OpenStreetMap Carto v2.22.0

Posted by pnorman on 6 October 2014 in English (English)

Labels on Shelf

OpenStreetMap Carto v2.22.0 has been released. This release focuses on labels.

The biggest change is a rewrite of landcover labelling. A landcover label is text connected to a background colour or pattern rendering, and not connected to an icon. This has been demoed extensively, and well received. It was also sent to the mailing list. The big changes are making colours better connected to the background, rendering labels on some features where they weren't before, and sizing labels based on area.

The last deserves a better explanation. Previously, the selection and choice of what labels to render didn't include area. It now does, avoiding placing labels on features that are only a few pixels in area at low and middle zooms, and selecting font size based on feature area. This results in a much more sensible label placement, more readable labels, better selection of what labels to place, and in many cases, more labels without impairing readability.

There remain some minor issues that can be followed up on (e.g. Glacier label colours)

Other changes were

  • Ordering fixes
  • Concurrent ferry rendering
  • Line wrapping improvements
  • Road label improvements in complex areas
  • Small island improvements

A full list of changes can be found on GitHub.

Labels photo Copyright CC BY 2.0 Kelvynskee @ Flickr

Central Park mapping party

Posted by pnorman on 4 June 2014 in English (English)

I am planning on hosting a mapping event in Central Park (, in Burnaby, BC.

My tentative date is Saturday, June 14th at noon, but if people want a different time I could shift it.

The park is a major park in the region, but under-mapped, with potentially not all of the trails.

Some of the things I'd like to get mapped are

  • More appropriate tags for the trails. highway=track is probably not accurate
  • The surface of trails
  • Locations of fitness equipment in the park
  • Bathrooms
  • Picnic areas
  • Other park infrastructure
  • Anything missing or interesting

At this time of year, it should be nice sunny weather, and the shade from the trees should be welcome.

I intend to bring my mapping kit (camera, GPS, etc), as well as field papers type printouts on larger paper for us to mark up. I'm not planning on bringing a laptop, or if I do, it's staying in the trunk.

After mapping, we can go somewhere nearby for food. I'd also like to discuss holding regular events.

If you're interested, please let me know so that I know other people will be coming and to attend on time myself! I also need to have printouts made in advance.

(Cross-post of

Edit: Date change to 14th

Location: Suncrest, Burnaby, Metro Vancouver Regional District, British Columbia, V5J 1Z3, Canada

Organizational mapping policy

Posted by pnorman on 14 May 2014 in English (English)

This is a cross-post of

We have more and more organizations and businesses mapping in OSM. Multiple organizations have been conducting paid editing in Europe and the US. This generally comes to light after complaints are made - with the company usually not identifying who they are, what their goals are, and what they want, beforehand. There have also been difficulties determining what has been mapped on behalf of an organization.

We will likely see more of this type of editing in the future, and while not necessarily bad, there are differences between it and normal editing. Recent events in a project similar to OpenStreetMap - Wikipedia - have demonstrated that the participation of organizations in data editing can occasionally lead to misunderstandings or disharmony in the project, particularly where a lack of transparency is involved.

For this reason the DWG is considering if it is necessary to issue guidelines for organizational editing. Some previous discussion is at

There are some activities we do not want to cover in the guidelines

  • Unorganized editing by employees, e.g. a shop owner adding their shop or nearby details to the map

  • Editors mapping in response to a contest or similar where the contest organizer does not have the power to require them to edit

  • Individuals who, on their own accord, decide to participate in an organised effort or challenge, like local mapping parties, Mapathons, HOT projects, etc

Some possible guideline requirements could involve

  • Disclosing those who are directing them (e.g. employers or who they are contracting for) on the users page

  • Creating a wiki page with links to user pages of users mapping under an organization's direction

  • Requiring those working on broader projects to communicate and get feedback from the community before starting

  • Requiring disclosure of proprietary third-party sources used. Organizations may have data from third parties that they can legally use when contributing to OSM, but aren't able to directly show others the data

  • Maintaining separate accounts if doing both personal and organizational editing

The extent of editing activities covered is something else that needs to be discussed.

Some types of activities that could be covered are

  • Teachers requiring their students to edit OSM as part of a course

  • Consultants editing for multiple clients

  • Being required to edit as part of an employment relationship

SEO spammers would be covered by this policy, but are not the target. They would ignore it, so we'll just end up using the existing tools of reverting and blocking.

Paul Norman
For the Data Working Group

State of the Map kickoff/morning notes

Posted by pnorman on 19 April 2014 in English (English)

On the schedule for the Friday and on Saturday morning was the kick off party, registration, let's map!/OpenStreetMap in your organization sessions, and coffee break.

Kick off party

Thanks to a delayed flight I ended up going to the Mapbox Garage. The entrance is on the rear, so the taxi driver was confused getting there. Since I was there early, I helped with the setup, and schlepping the alcohol over from the store nearby.

The party got too loud, but I was able to catch up with a few people. We ended up running out of bottled water, and the taps were inconvenient. I walked back with a few others staying at the Washington Plaza hotel.

Saturday morning


Registration went smoothly. Conference t-shirt just said State of the Map, not State of the Map US, which seemed odd. I think most of the conference people handling registration were paid staff, which was a difference.


There was a welcome talk which I thought was rather good at the time, but seems it wasn't very memorable, because I can't actually remember much of what was said!

The conference had over 500 people check in at registration, a big growth from the 2009 SOTM-US which had about 50 people.

First session, coffee break

I ended up talking with the people from Amazon for all of this session, so missed the talks. I'm hopeful that they'll be able to commit some EC2 credits to do some dev work and performance testing. Of course, I was the same way after previous conferences and nothing came of it.

It doesn't sound like they're willing to commit to helping any infrastructure with resources in any ongoing manner.