[diversity-talk] OpenStreetMap State of the Map US conference, and new diversity task force

Alan McConchie alan.mcconchie at gmail.com
Fri Jun 14 20:28:47 UTC 2013


Hello geoweb-research list, (CCed to diversity-talk at openstreetmap.org)

One of the exciting outcomes from last weekend's OpenStreetMap "State of the Map" US (SotMUS) conference in San Francisco was the emergence of a new interest group within the OSM community devoted to addressing and ameliorating the lack of diversity within the OSM community. Gender disparity was the concern that was discussed the most, but this new group is interested in working to improve all forms of diversity.

This new "diversity task force" was formed at a birds-of-a-feather session during the conference, and despite the formal-sounding name, the diversity task force is loosely organized and open to anyone. Currently it mainly takes the form of a new OSM mailing list, which anyone is free to join here: http://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/diversity-talk

For a bit more background on the lack of diversity within OSM, I recommend watching this talk from Alyssa Wright at SotMUS which includes an analysis of gender disparities in OSM mailing lists: 

Alyssa Wright, "The Threads of OSM Discussions: Are the Doors Really Open?" from State of the Map US 2013:
http://vimeopro.com/openstreetmapus/state-of-the-map-us-2013/video/68098504

I also recommend Monica Stephens' work on the male bias present in OSM map features. While Monica wasn't at the OSM conference, her work inspired a lot of the discussion that lead to the creation of the diversity task force:

Monica Stephens, "Guns, Germans, and Stripclubs" from SheepCamp 2012: 
https://vimeo.com/44870758

If you are at all active or interested in OpenStreetMap and are concerned about diversity issues, please join the diversity-talk mailing list! Among other things, the list will serve as a place to disseminate information about any diversity initiatives within OSM that need support rallied behind them. For example, the international State of the Map conference (in Birmingham, UK, from Sept 6-8) is in its final planning stages, and there has been some push-back against instituting a formal anti-harrasment policy at the conference. The diversity-talk mailing list will be an important site to organize in support of initiatives like these.


Again, the link to join diversity-talk is here: http://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/diversity-talk


Alan McConchie
PhD Candidate
Department of Geography
University of British Columbia


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