How Should We Celebrate OSM's 20th Birthday?

I’m writing this in my capacity as a member of the CWG:

As most of you know, August 9, 2024 is the 20th anniversary of OpenStreetMap, and many of us are thinking a version of the same question: How will we celebrate? We know there will be cakes and meet-ups, but this seems like an important anniversary that might call for a bigger celebration.

Some of the initial ideas that we have heard mentioned include:

  • SotM WG is planning is to mention the 20th during the conference, and have it as some sort of motto
  • MWG and the Board plans to grow and diversify OSMF membership through a membership drive
  • In 2021, LCCWG hosted 17hour global mapathon to celebrate OSM17 Foundation/Local Chapters/OSM 17-hour Global Mapathon - OpenStreetMap Wiki
  • Several mappy local community meetups and mapping parties to celebrate OSM birthday like previous years

We are sure there are other ideas, too, which is why we thought we could use this thread to bring them into one conversations:

Then, from there, we can identify the most common/popular ideas and themes, as well as discover who might be interested in joining a 20th birthday party planning committee.

So, what do you think? How should we celebrate the 20th year of OpenStreetMap? What plans do you already have? What would you like to see happen? What is the best way to organize and coordinate?

( @MarjanVan @mikelmaron @arnalielsewhere )


I’m one hundred percent on board with the cake emoji proposal :birthday::heart: and all usage of cake emoji.

Love the virtual marathon idea, too. We could stage it by time zones, across the globe, as the birthday happens. :birthday::heart::world_map:


where are all the replies?


The forum governance team deleted them for being off topic. So I’ll say it again:

  1. Have a 24hr long mapathon that slides from time zone to time zone as people pop in and out. When it hits my time zone, I’ll be hosting the “:popcorn: hour with ZeLonewolf” breakout session where I map manhole covers and opine about highway shields.
  2. Enable some new emoji reactions to celebrate our birthday. I’m sure you can imagine which salty and/or sweet treat commonly enjoyed at movie theaters I suggested but for fear of having it deleted, I won’t mention it…

I think we should celebrate OSM’s birthday by keeping OSM quirky and fun. Hopefully that’s not a wild and crazy idea in this community.


I don’t have any suggestions for a celebration, but this is a great opportunity to get some publicity for OSM. It would be great if a number of major news outlets in a variety of markets covered the 20th! We could help them out with “press packets” with some information about OSM, some of the major players in the success of OSM (past and present) (make sure these folks would be willing to talk to the media), etc. Perhaps some major players in industry that have either provided support to OSM, used OSM data, or both would be willing to be interviewed as well. :newspaper: :tv:


A post was split to a new topic: Removal of off-topic comments in “OSM’s 20th Birthday” thread

It would be good to launch a major new feature on to coincide with the 20th anniversary (did someone mention vector tiles?) - both in terms of media attention and also community engagement.


It would be great if we could, where mapping activity is concerned, encourage actual go-out-and-map activities rather than the sit-in-front-of-computer-and-stare-at-imagery-someone-else-has-created-years-ago mode of operations - the latter is often the chosen path for “Mapathons” but these activities are not typical for OSM and we shouldn’t reinforce that misconception.


How about a little competition on Aug 9th: send us your happy-birthday-OSM mapping photo.

How it works: get yourself EveryDoor/Vespucci/GoMap/other mobile editor, go out and find a POI that isn’t yet in OSM, add it, then make a selfie in front of the POI and post the photo with OSM POI link to enter favourite social media whatever here.

Country that gets the greatest part of its population to participate wins.


Aah yes, let’s all criticise the mode-of-operation-we-don’t-like. What a great way to celebrate together :joy:. Regardless, outdoor mapping activities sound great.


… followed swiftly by sniping at others in forums, then sniping at sniping at others in forums (disappears up own fundament) :smiley:


Oh boy, a battle between USA and Germany and whichever other few countries is coming :stuck_out_tongue:

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Let’s be honest. We don’t even need to run this contest to know Germany would win!


You’d think that, wouldn’t you? But have you recently tried to find a POI in Germany that hasn’t been mapped yet? Good luck with that.

(And if you really want to throw the Germans out of the competition, you send a post to the German forum on the morning of the 9th where you start a discussion about the privacy implications of posting a selfie with a POI position. But you don’t have that from me. :wink:)


Oh that’s a very good point!


This is brilliant on so many levels.

I once did an hour-or-so walkabout in downtown Newport, Rhode Island and mapped 112 POIs in a single, manic EveryDoor session. The area was almost entirely unmapped and this was in 2022. I suspect much of the US is like this if not most countries in the world.

It would also be a great use of a standard hashtag for the event, and then we can just run some kind of automated analysis to count up the new POIs in each country. Or even just tally up all the changesets that add a POI in each country within that time range.


Come to the dark side …the infamous Eifel and you’ll find quite a few missing😁. I’ve recently even found remote petrol stations that weren’t mapped yet.


Riffing off this idea, 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.


Though it’s getting into the domain of “a little too complicated” (but I’m now actually toying with the idea of writing it…); playing further on the direction of the previous ideas, maybe having a bingo board with squares such as “re-survey a POI that’s not touched since 2010”, “map 10 buildings”, “record a 5 km (or longer) GPX trace”, “map an object in another country”, “use two different editors”, etc. Have a site that based on a username looks up all the user’s changesets during the day in question (timezone adjusted) and marks of squares.

Not sure how to fairly turn that into a contest, but could also just stay on the level of having a dedicated thread here on the forum for people to post their cards and brag.


Hmm. That reminds me of Stack Exchange’s “Winter Hats” festivities (which I’ve not really participated in myself but was aware of), where there are a bunch of random actions one could do on their site (during a limited time period of a couple weeks) to earn a “hat” for one’s avatar, or just to see on a virtual leaderboard of some sort. They were generally along the lines of things one wanted to encourage anyway on their site, though there were some just random things too (like visiting their 404 page). I could see having a bunch of “badges” or whatever for people to collect, like many of things mentioned relating to the main database (map a new POI, update an old POI, upload a GPX trace, use more than one editor, fix a waterway-highway crossing, etc.), but could also include community activities (post on this forum, participate in a MapRoulette challenge, rate a changeset on OsmCha, whatever). Certainly things that could be automatically checked and shown on some leaderboard would be best (and could be totaled by country or region, or by other subgroupings), though someone would need to code it of course…

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