How Should We Celebrate OSM's 20th Birthday?

I can see something that’s starting to take shape: a 20th anniversary push to get out the whole community to map the world, with a real time bingo card and some prizes. Local communities could organize meetups within the dates of the global event.

It doesn’t have to be hyper competitive. We could offer prizes for several categories of mapping and levels of difficulty, and maybe delegate very skilled mappers to help out in regions where it’s appropriate and needed (something like a mapping exchange ). It could be for a weekend or a week around August 7, with a hashtag and ongoing, coordinated updates from the CWG in a couple of channels (Mapstodon, here, maybe X?) and a dedicated stream of some kind, so that it would feel festive and unifying. We could have :popcorn:and :birthday:as virtual treats.

As a subset of this, if we could set and meet a defined goal, we could hang a media pitch on this event. But it would need to be a goal that is understandable to a general audience. Something humanitarian or knowable to non mappers (such as bike paths or parks) would be best, ideally something that is mapped everywhere. What could that be?

This wouldn’t be the only goal or type of mapping. It would be just one of many, and tailored for a media/general audience.


Other alternative suggestions, some of which may have already been mentioned:

  • A documentary film about the past 20 years of the OSM community, featuring memories and interesting stories.
  • A literary anthology reflecting on the past 20 years of the OSM community, including literary works and poems related to OSM in various languages (English and International version).
  • A creative art contest, which could include several categories:
    • Designing a commemorative OSM map design (vector, raster, … ).
    • An art fusion contest using OSM data ( paintings, glass works, … ).
    • A competition for designing an OSM 20y commemorative poster.
    • Creations related to OSM generated with AI image generators (like DALL-E, Midjourney)

Instead of using the :popcorn: emoji, a custom OpenStreetMap emoji reaction would be more appropriate, as it better represents the sense of community unity.
As I know : It’s possible to extend Discourse with a custom OSM svg reaction.

Personal remark:
In the creative art contests, you can include map styles, poems, or other artworks related to :popcorn: and other Western meme culture. However, I would advise caution in shifting our shared Discourse forum too much towards popcorn and Western meme trends. This is particularly important in the context of applying the new OSMF strategy. See:
“The Strategic Plan was adopted by the OpenStreetMap Foundation board on 2023-09-28”
Key points to consider are:


love the addition of the arts and humanities! :dizzy:

In addition to all of the ideas already mentioned, maybe someone with graphic design chops could temporarily bring back the previous logo but replace the 1s and 0s in the magnifying glass with 2s and 0s. :face_with_monocle:


From armchair mappers in cozy nooks,
To field surveys with closer looks,
With :popcorn: for clashes, and :birthday: for the bashes,
We craft-map the crannies and crooks!

I’ll let myself out.


Thanks for posting this Courtney!

If you are happy to help OSMF Membership Drive and to know more details: Call for Volunteers and Campaigners: Help us grow and diversify OSMF membership :slight_smile:


That would be very subtle - but a special 20th anniversary logo would be good. Perhaps also a banner or something on the main OSM website?

Would be nice to have a list of achievements too that we can draw and reflect upon.


To all who’ve commented, or are watching:

Could you pleas amplify this post amongst your smaller, local, group channels, wherever appropriate? I’m thinking of US Slack, the really active OSM Asia Telegram group, and on Mapstodon amongst many other
local options.

Ideally, you could drop the link and ask people to comment here, so that we continue to gather ideas in a central location.

My plan is to monitor this for another week - 10 days, and then attempt to formulate some action items so we can start making plans. Sound good? (@arnalielsewhere @MarjanVan @mikelmaron @amapanda_ᚐᚋᚐᚅᚇᚐ )


I will repost this thread in the Brazil OSM telegram group today.

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Maybe OSM is way too big now to fit into a book :open_book:, but an update of the 2010 OSM book would be nice. Or maybe even a different book about some other aspect or history of OSM. When Wikipedia turned 20 three years ago, a commemorative Open Access book was published by MIT Press containing 21 essays written by various Wikimedia personalities. We could do something similar as an addition to many of the great ideas already suggested.


I love this idea of having a push to go out together physically and map!

I think this should be on a specific day world wide, and should be focused on welcoming in new people.

So there should probably be someone in every participating city that are the facilitator of the event, who decides when and where to meet up and starts off the event with a short introduction and some information on how to use the app. Sure, anyone should be able to join using any app, but for new people I think the focus should be on a single app (or one for iOS and one for Android) that is easy to use and explain.

Before the meeting there should of course be a page/flyer that invites people to the event, which contains a little bit of info on OSM and why it’s important and how to install and use the app, so that people can prepare. But still, when the meeting happens, I think the facilitator should have a short introduction about OSM and how to use the app, then split people into groups (each group should ideally have at least one experienced mapper and some new people) and send them off together. And of course everyone should then be invited to join up at a nice (but cheap enough to be minimally exclusive) place to eat and talk together afterwards, after a specific amount of time.

I think StreetComplete is the perfect app for this, because it’s easy to use, looks good, and has support for groups of people mapping together. They are working on a iOS port now.

It will not be easy to get new people to come to this, of course, but I think it would be fantastic to try!


In addition to this one day event thing, I’d love for there to be a few special year-long projects. I have two ideas:

  1. A project to try and close as many old notes as possible.
    I recently found this website that shows you the oldest notes in any specific country. I found that there are many notes that are still open after 10+ years in multiple countries.
    Here in Norway the oldest where more than 9 years old. I fixed those, and other old ones, and then I invited the Norwegian community to help to fix all notes in Norway that are more than 5 years old. It’s been very successful, and after just a few days we now have just a handfull of notes older than 5 and 6 years left.
    I think some sort of competition between countries to see who can close the highest percentage of notes older than X years old, or a project to try to close all notes older than X years would be very cool. Isn’t it time, after 20 years, to fix the oldest issues? :slight_smile:
    There’s also a website that shows you the oldest note in any given area you zoom into, this could be used for a more localized competition between cities, for example?

  2. A project to improve iD editor as much as possible.
    iD is obviously an extremely important editor. Both because it gets used a lot, even experienced people often use that instead of installing and learning something more advances, and because it’s often the first introduction people have to contribute to OSM. The experience they have with their first few edits decides if they will come back to do more or not. And how efficient it is to use decides how much experienced users are able, and willing to do.
    Therefor I’m worried about the pace of development of iD. It seems to me that it’s stalled quite a bit lately. I have opened issues on GitHub that’s not been looked at in years, and someone told me there’s even years old bugfixing PRs that are not being looked at.
    The work that is being done on iD is amazing and extremely valuable. I am very grateful to everyone doing that work! Still it seems to me that they need more help and support from the rest of the community. I don’t know if that should come in the form of more maintainers or more money to pay the existing maintainers (more) or something else, but I’d love to see a year-long project focusing on helping the infrastructure around iD become as good as possible for the years ahead!

  3. A project for cleaning up and improving the wiki, perhaps?


:+1: :+1: :+1:
This alone would make a perfect birthday gift to OSM for sure!


By getting on the frontpage of Firefox!


I know that it’s not a thing we can do, but having looked at imagery yesterday, where the highway reconstruction that started 3 years ago isn’t yet visible, getting up to date imagery would be a wonderful Birthday Present!

Maybe we could use the anniversary to get someone to donate some new photos as a birthday present? :slight_smile:

Theme song for the celebration: You’ll never walk alone.

Like this?


Source at: - Easy and fast file sharing from the command-line.


Very cool! I feel like one of the “20” maybe should be slightly more opaque than the rest of the numbers, just to make the meaning a bit more clear?

Hi, all,

I went back through this list and came up with a summary and a recommendation. Both are below:

Note that I didn’t put details here, nor tag the people who had the idea. This is just to show the three buckets or categories that emerged:


  1. One Day Event, worldwide: It is a 24hr long mapathon that slides from time zone to time zone - post about it across socials, encourage local communities to set local goals, etc.
  • add a “send us your happy-birthday-OSM mapping photo” contest. The country that gets the greatest part of its population to participate wins. @ionvia
  • add a fundraiser to this that also goes time zone to time zone
  • add a project to close as many old notes, as possible
  • Get on Firefox
  1. Multi-day Editing Event, with one or more of the following features:
  • a regional contest to see who can personally field-survey the oldest mapped POI. Bonus points if it needs to be retagged or replaced with a brand-new POI.

  • a regional contest with a bingo board with squares … and a site that is based on a username looks up all the user’s changesets during the day in question (timezone adjusted) and marks of squares.

    Site: OSM Bingo PoC
    Code: GitHub - 02JanDal/osm-bingo-poc


  • A Big Year-Long Project (or more than one year-long project)

  • Launch a major new feature - (CW note: maybe that is what “The Year of the Vector Maps” is?)

  • A major improvement to iD editor


  • Create a media kit about OSM
  • Bring back the vintage logo w/ 2s and 2s instead of 1s and 0s (thank you Andres (@AngocA)
  • Update of the 2010 OSM book
  • A documentary film
  • A literary anthology reflecting on the past 20 years of the OSM community, including literary works and poems related to OSM in various languages (English and International version).
  • creative art contest, which could include several categories:
    ** Designing a commemorative OSM map design (vector, raster, … ).
    ** An art fusion contest using OSM data ( paintings, glass works, … ).
    ** A competition for designing an OSM 20y commemorative poster.
    ** Creations related to OSM generated with AI image generators (like DALL-E, Midjourney)

(Speaking as a person and not a CWG or fundraising volunteer) To me, almost all of these ideas could fall into one of two categories, like this:

  1. A multi-day mapping event that culminates on August 9th
  • It can be indoors and outdoors.
  • It can have a bingo card component; a POI competition; a fundraising project; and maybe even a “bring back OSM awards” project
  • It can be organized by a relatively small committee who can coordinate the different areas.
  • Communication about it would be supported by the CWG, fundraising committee, and board. (blog and socials, before during and after.)
  1. A single page that lists any projects that is dedicated to celebrating OSM’s 20th birthday. It could be here: OpenStreetMap 20th Anniversary Birthday party - OpenStreetMap Wiki.
  • It could have a simple template that makes the who, what, where, when and how consistent in each posting
  • Individuals and communities can post any idea they have, with details on how to join in. They can ask for participants, volunteers, or co-hosts as a way to grow their project
  • The community can visit the page to find people with similar ideas
  • The page would also be a one-stop location for someone who wanted to make a film or other creative arts project about the 20th.
  • The CWG and (ideally) the Weekly OSM can help promote the items on the list to boost visibility.