How Should We Celebrate OSM's 20th Birthday?

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.

I really like the idea of going and taking a selfie at a newly mapped POI.

Because there is an increased difficulty in well-mapped countries there is a fairness to it that means it’s not obvious who will win. Countries like Germany have lots of people who could participate, but they have a more difficult time finding POIs. Since it’s by number of people, you can’t have one person in a tiny country get an overwhelming number per capita. Any efforts to “game” the numbers involve getting a large number of people relative to population participating, which is the entire goal.

Unless half a dozen Italians decide to head to Vatican City and participate :slight_smile:


Unless half a dozen Italians decide to head to Vatican City and participate

compared to Germany, in Vatican City you seriously will have a hard time finding an unmapped POI

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Do we always need someone to “win” and others to “loose”? Can we not just collect a bunch of extraordinary selfies on newly mapped POIs and publish them one some kind of anniversary page accessible for everyone interested?


Our project has an overwhelming number of things to celebrate as we turn 20. It boggles my mind how diverse, productive, insightful and dazzlingly brilliant we are as we collaborate and seek consensus together. OSM is truly amazing. To me, we feel like a human salvation of community. I am honored to be a Contributor here.

We can also do poster competition related to OSM. I can coordinate!!! If interested

Thank you, @courtiney, for initiating this discussion. At TomTom, we are excited to explore opportunities to engage with everyone interested in collaborating to celebrate the 20th birthday of OpenStreetMap. We are committed to leveraging possible available resources and platforms to organize a variety of activities and events for this milestone occasion.


Hello, there @sbaido so nice to hear from you! Your ability to convene discussions and help organize events might be really helpful for the 20th birthday celebration. As you can see in this thread there are a LOT of great ideas, but it can be hard to centralize and organize to activate a few of them. Maybe you could help coordinate 3-4 planning events in 3-4 regions that would culminate in a 20th birthday plan? They could be a mix of virtual and in-person?

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@courtiney : It’s indeed a fantastic idea to focus on 3-4 regions and organize some enjoyable and memorable activities. I’ll discuss this internally to explore how we can contribute significantly to OSM’s 20th anniversary, but also perhaps we could have a chat with you and others to gather feedback on the ideas I’ll begin compiling.