[Local-chapters] SOTM Local Chapters meeting and what's next

joost schouppe joost.schouppe at gmail.com
Wed Sep 13 15:34:07 UTC 2017


Let's get this ball rolling :)

First of, if you are new to this kind of stuff, don't worry: we all started
from humble beginnings. I was completely in over my head a few years back,
when organizing a pub meetup [0].

None of the Belgians were able to come to Japan unfortunately.

With OpenStreetMap Belgium, we're working on things like:

- turning mappers into volunteers: a community works better if people know
each other. We started with "meetups" [1], and moved on to humanitarian
mapathons. Those didn't really help with recruiting new mappers [2], but it
did increase awareness of OSM in Belgium. For example, one of our board
members was recruted during a mapathon. Especially the larger ones (the two
"national mapathons" had a large impact). There would probably not have
been a SOTM in Belgium if it weren't for previous meetups and mapathons.

- integrate new mappers: we want to turn new mappers into contributors.
This is a very un-rewarding job, as most first time editors will never map
again. But if you look passed that, you might help speeding the learning
curve by sending the right information to a future heavy mapper. Our
community member Ruben built the user-friendly website to help send a
welcome message to new users in your area, which was later remade more
sleek by the Italian community. Check welcome.osm.be for the live version.
It is a challenge to keep this up, and it is one of the main problems we'd
like the OSMF see help solve. There were a bunch of ideas in a diary I
posted last year, two of them have now actually been executed! [3]

- encourage growth: find new ways to get people to map. People map for very
diverse reasons. We try to reach people with a specific interest, and try
to turn that interest into a mapping habit. For example, now that our map
"looks complete", we find that mapping the last missing paths and trails is
something that is a real source of growth. We try to work with existing
organizations, so we can use their networks.

- encourage quality imports. In the age of open data (at least in Flanders
and Brussels), the role of OSM changes. Just looking at the situation in
the US shows that open data is a mixed blessing. We try to put a framework
in place where open data is used to improve OSM. That way, the open data
becomes more useful to more people, and people are less tempted to do wild
imports. Also, we think OSM should play a part in improving the open
datasets themselves. Any tools that are built, should be made with the
global community in mind: if we do things right, our software should work
anywhere they open similar data. Our "road completion project" [4] is a
practical example that we are doing along these lines.

- be a "single point of contact" for outsiders. Outside organisations need
to be able to talk to OSM if you want them to take you seriously. Too
often, this has depended on personal contacts. But if I find a more
interesting hobby tomorrow, I could be gone. So we try to promote the use
of community at osm.be as a main point of contact, so several people can
answer, depending on the topic and their interests.

But mostly, what we do, is go to pubs and have a drink together. Oh, and

0: http://www.openstreetmap.org/user/joost%20schouppe/diary/21153
1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pR1TACSHjF8
2: http://www.openstreetmap.org/user/joost%20schouppe/diary/40854
3: http://www.openstreetmap.org/user/joost%20schouppe/diary/39876
4: http://www.osm.be/2017/01/06/en-project-road-completion.html
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