Living in New York, I always like the voter guides they publish before elections, written in the most objective way possible and translated into the many languages people speak here. New York has been working on diversity and democracy for hundreds of years, and while it hasn’t always been easy, “the more the better” is the prevaling attitude. Diversity is the city’s biggest asset.
A lot of people who care about OpenStreetMap don’t know about the elections, foundations, or the boards who run them. I didn’t for a while. But I believe these organizations set the overall tone of the project and are crucial for engaging new and diverse members.
A bright spot here is OpenStreetMap US. Over the past few years, the US foundation has grown into a large, diverse group that puts on successful conferences and engages new members admirably. State of the Map US in DC this year was amazing, breaking all records for an OpenStreetMap conference, bringing in new people, and tapping into the excitement and possibility of the project.
Note that Mapzen’s own Alyssa Wright is running, and we think you should too!
Not interested in running? That’s fine, but we still encourage you to join and vote!
OpenStreetMap Foundation (OSMF)
The OpenStreetMap Foundation is an international not-for-profit organization responsible for the OpenStreetMap project. It provides hosting support, fundraising, and organizes working groups necessary to keep the project running. The OSMF also runs the international State of the Map conference, which will be held this year in Buenos Aires from November 7-9. You should go!
While there are plenty of great people involved in the OSMF who do a lot of work to keep things going, in my opinion (and this is a blog post, not an election guide, right?) the organization isn’t engaging newcomers or encouraging the growth of the project as well as it could be. There are, of course, many reasons for this. Ultimately, I believe that more people joining the OSMF will sort out a lot of the problems naturally; democracy has a way of doing that.
Most people don’t know about the OSMF or how to join. But getting people who care about OSM to join is so important for the project and its success. So sign up here for £15 per year. Run for the board, vote for the board, and keep engaged.
OpenStreetMap needs you signed up, engaged with, and voting for the international foundation (as well as your local group)! Join up and help out where you can. Like in New York City, if we all crowd in we can find a way to make it work better with diversity as our biggest asset.