Suggest topics to be discussed at OSMF board strategy meeting

The OpenStreetMap Foundation Board will be holding an in-person meeting at the last weekend of April. The meeting will be held over two days and will happen in Frankfurt, Germany.

One of the purposes of the purpose of the meeting is to build relationships among Board members who, in many cases, have only ever met over video calls. The Board will be holding discussions on a range of topics to do with the current and future operations of the Board.

The exact topics have not yet been chosen. The Board invites the members of the Foundation to suggest topics that you think are important and that should be discussed, resolved or advanced in some way.

To make your contribution just write in this thread a brief description of any pressing topic and why you think it is important.

(this is a message from OSMF board - suggestions are highly welcome!)


I suggest evaluating the results of
OpenStreetMap’s diversity and inclusion initiatives
from the past few years
and learning from them in a blameless retrospective.
( ~ brainstorming how to improve the process to prevent similar incidents )

In my view, the ambiguity or potential for misinterpretation of guidelines has already caused numerous conflicts, such as the cancellation of SOTM 2023.
Since this is a sensitive issue, perhaps discussing it in person could help develop more precise guidelines.

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  1. Find a CEO. OSMF is becoming too complex for a group of volunteers to run, and it’s needs a permanent face to build connections with businesses and plan operations. E.g. we need closer relations with Overture Maps leadership. This means we should look for people who are good at talking to businesses, not mapping or programming. Those people like to be paid.
    • You can notice this item is backwards: the strategy is “partner with businesses to secure funding”, while hiring CEO is tactics. Still.
  2. Set up means to support contributors. Mainly, reinstate the microgrant program asap, making up for all the lost years. HOT has been dormant for several years now, so there’s nobody else to support local mappers.
    • I would add, set up paid R&D, but you know I’m an interested party. Corporations do not do R&D, it’s up to non-profits to try crazy things. Generally, my opinion is we need more paid staff, including technical roles.
    • But here I mean not only technical things, but also organizing mapping parties and other community events, teaching, documentation, other kinds of research. Up to “hosting a mapping event? You’re eligible for €100 for food and drinks, only req is post photos afterwards”.
  3. Define the focus clearly: whom does OSMF support first and foremost? Infrastructure — check. Okay. Mappers? Doesn’t seem so, from actions. Business consumers? haha again. Regular data consumers? Possible, we already fund Nominatim, osm2pgsql and consumer-oriented data model. The focus should manifest in spending.
    • This focus should affect all endeavours of OSMF. E.g. if we decide OSMF works for mappers, then the website would be redesigned with mappers in mind, data model would be improved for mappers, editing tools will get the limelight. For commercial contributors, the website would highlight ways of working with us, data model would be improved in partnership with Overture Foundation, working groups would get proper management.
    • My understanding is the consumers for a focus comes from a decade ago, when nobody used OSM and we wanted more eyes. IMO it’s time to give it another thought.
  4. Increase visibility for OpenStreetMap as a map. Sounds stupid, but people still do not know about OSM, as opposed to virtually any other map provider. Many of our problems come from that. For example: attribution: if people know about OSM, they would be upset corporations don’t attribute us.
    • Again, as a strategic goal, this spawns multiple tasks: press releases, contacts in major tech and humanitarian media, partnerships with non-profit and for-profit organizations.

I think I’m missing stuff, and every item in this list depends on others (as they should), but this might be a good start.


Good ideas. I especially concur with “define the focus”. Not sure what category of ideas board members are looking for, but many of the obvious potential improvements to the organization may need to go alongside a “how can we get or reallocate funds to increase spending on x, y, z”…

Edit: Regarding defining the focus, there was a discussion on osm-carto’s purpose. Perhaps a statement or decision from the board on Carto would be something to consider? (Or will all this be fixed with the new vector tiles?)

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It is relevant for the map on the front page whether or not we use the OSM-carto codebase.