What is OpenStreetMap, really?

Reaching a new milestone as an individual mapper made me pause for a second and write down a few thoughts in a diary entry entitled “What is OpenStreetMap, really?

The same basic question is (far below the surface) in the great OSM Iceberg Meme by Xvtn, who encouraged me to link to my diary post in this forum.

tl;dr We often have difficulty explaining what OSM really is. I propose defining OSM as a movement.

Looking forward to hearing your comments!


Thanks for this, I like it very much!

My answer to the basic question would be:
It’s a world of maps within the universe of maps.

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Haha, reading my comment again it seems like I was addressing that to you , Imaginaire specifically, but I meant it more as a general invitation. Great to see you’ve cross-posted here though! I’m only just getting familiar with the forum myself.

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From my perspective, the community is at the heart of OSM’s growth and direction. It’s not controlled by centralized entities but rather shaped by individuals with diverse motivations, perspectives, and contributions. OSM is more than just a map, it’s a dynamic platform that fosters collaboration, innovation, and empowerment