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Since the 2015 Annual General Meeting of the OpenStreetMap Foundation is taking place virtually this year I’m writing up this diary entry to serve as the Chairperson’s person.

Firstly I’d like to thank everyone to contributed to the Foundation this year. Specifically I’d like to thank:

  • Working Groups: Without you the OSMF couldn’t run. Thank you for all that you’ve done over the past year, including some sometimes thankless tasks. Let’s all work together in 2016 to recruit more people to our working groups.
  • Members: Thank you for being a part of the OSMF. I look forward to seeing the results of your voting and many discussions in the future on where the Foundation should go.
  • Corporate Members: Your support helps us staying in good financial footing. Please continue participating in the community and thank you again.
  • Board members: It has been a pleasure to serve with you. Henk, Kathleen, Dermot and Oliver your service is most appreciated. I look forward to working with you in other aspects of the OSM community.
  • The OpenStreetMap community: we need you most of all! Without our community there would be no reason for the OSMF and we’d have nothing to support. Please reach out if there is anything I can do to assist.

Board Activities

The OSMF Board was able to meet in person in February this year. Having not met in quite a while it allowed us to get to know each other better and begin to further work on strategy. One of the major things we learned is though it might seem at first as if our opinions are so far apart that a compromise isn’t possible, once we talk through it really there is much agreement. Many of these items we haven’t moved from draft form, but plan to take up with the next board in 2016. One such item is hiring of administrative help.

The board would like to move to a more strategic role in the OSMF. One component of this is contracting assistance to help with general administrative tasks. These include things such as invoices, publishing of minutes, scheduling meetings and other items that tend to get procrastinated on. Initially the role will assist the board, but we will see how it can be utilized to assist working groups as well over the year.

We also worked to better define Board roles and responsibilities. Currently still in the minutes I look forward to reviewing and revising them with the new board so they can serve as a guidelines for our next year.

Looking forward to 2016 I hope the incoming board can agree to meet again to continue our momentum and accomplish even more in the coming year.

Membership Information

You can see from the Membership Statistic page that our membership continues to grow. I thought it was interesting that there are almost an equal quantity of Normal and Associate Members now. The difference being that Associate Members can’t vote on Special Resolutions. We have a total of 701 human members and 18 corporate members.

A regional breakdown of membership by region is as follows (thank you Henk for gathering the numbers!).

  • 70% Europe & Central Asia
  • 23% USA & Canada
  • 1.5% Latin America
  • 0.5% Middle East and North Africa
  • 4.5 % Asia Pacific
  • 0.5% West, East, Middle and South Africa

It can be seen we have quite a ways to go in membership for some regions. I hope this is something the incoming board can consider.

I’m excited to see future growth of both the OSMF and the OSM community.

Location: 45.550, -122.660


Comment from DaCor on 5 December 2015 at 06:00

Something to consider, the membership fee is a tiny amount in the western world, however can be equal to a weeks wage in poorer regions.

Is there a way to account for this disparity and enable members from lower income areas to show their support in an affordable and realistic way

Comment from milovanderlinden on 5 December 2015 at 06:43

In response to what DaCor says;

Would it be a possibility to set up ways to sponsor/donate membership for people outside the western world? Of course not to control them, but to give them the ability to be heard, without any restrictions or influence?

Comment from dieterdreist on 5 December 2015 at 09:24

Is there a particular reason you didn’t thank 2 directors in the board (Frederik and Paul)?

Comment from nebulon42 on 5 December 2015 at 12:37

I’m quite sure the intention was to thank the parting board members for their service not to omit some names.

Comment from woodpeck on 5 December 2015 at 14:41

@DaCor, OSMF members decided at the last AGM on a membership fee waiver programme where “the membership fee for associate membership, which normally is tied to the regular membership fee, may be waived if paying the fee would constitute an unreasonable burden to the member, either because of financial hardship or because of the lack of a suitable money transfer facility”. And: “In order to be eligible for the membership fee waiver, the applicant may be required to contribute something else of value (e.g: time, …) to the Foundation, for example write a paragraph on mapping in their region.” - so the groundwork is already there, it just needs a good implementation and getting the word out. There has until now (as far as I know) only been one single application under these rules.

Comment from woodpeck on 5 December 2015 at 14:44

@dieterdreist, I didn’t feel this was an omission - I would have been a little worried if I had been included in a paragraph that said “It has been a pleasure to serve with you. I look forward to working with you in other aspects of the OSM community.” ;)

Comment from wonderchook on 5 December 2015 at 15:20

Ouch, I knew if I named people I was thanking someone will be omitted! I’m very much looking forward to continuing to serve with Paul and Frederik!

I agree with @woodpeck that the key with the waived membership fee is getting the word out and having a plan.

Comment from Vincent de Phily on 5 December 2015 at 22:27

The waiver is great, but it can be a daunting procedure, elegible people might think they aren’t, or be too proud to think they are, etc.

Maybe a subcription fee indexed on the country’s GDP per capita (or some similar metric) would make sense ? Take the UK as the reference fixed in £, and adjust other countries’s fees during yearly AGMs ?

Comment from DaCor on 6 December 2015 at 00:40

The waiver program, honestly never knew about that

I was hinting at something more along the lines of what @Vincent suggests. Something that is automatic and requires minimal oversight and maintanence during the year.

I can’t see any other method having much success and I don’t mean that as a criticism, just that if possible, the simplest solution should always be applied

Comment from joost schouppe on 14 December 2015 at 19:36

Agree with Davor and Vincent. There should not be a special procedure for special people. They’re not special, it’s just that their money is worth less when converted to pounds. Membership fee weighted by GDP/capita would be great. Of course, there can still be membership waiver program on top of that.

Comment from wonderchook on 14 December 2015 at 23:35

One of the reasons for the waiver program is that adjusting the fee to GDP or some other index doesn’t help with the issue of having cheap methods of transferring money. In many places that is still more than the cost of membership.

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