[Osmf-talk] OSMF and Evangelism

Nick Black nick at blacksworld.net
Mon Aug 3 12:03:19 UTC 2009

On 31 Jul 2009, at 19:59, Peter Miller wrote:

> On 31 Jul 2009, at 18:46, Nick Black wrote:
>> Rafael - you have lots of good points.  It would be great to get  
>> some of these ideas channeled into an OSM-F working group that  
>> focussed on supporting mapping in developing countries.  I agree  
>> that the work we saw at SOTM was inspirational.   OSM can do a lot  
>> of good in a lot of parts of the world and I firmly believe that  
>> its part of the OSM-F's agenda to promote OSM to people who have  
>> not had the same opportunities that most other OSMers have had.
> The Local Chapters work seems to be potentially very important for  
> out-reach to new countries. Personally I think the aim of the  
> foundation should be to 'enable' rather than to 'do' and I think  
> that the Local Chapters work group should be aiming to do that  
> minimum work, saying, yes, you can use the name and trademark, and  
> yes, when someone asks if you have authority you can say yes I do  
> and show them a bit of paper. Personally I think there is more work  
> needed by the foundation to get the Local Chapters (and I hate that  
> phrase!) up and running well and more discussion. There is no need  
> for someone to use the Local Chapter mechanism in any particular  
> county - I can't see it being picked up in Germany for instance.  
> Personally I see no reason for the foundation to ask for £10 per  
> member of the local chapter because I think that would kill it in  
> many countries where it is most needed. I do also note that the only  
> chapters currently proposed are for the USA and for part of the UK  
> so it isn't working yet to full potential. I could make other  
> comments, but they are best made by other people and in another forum.
> When there is a vibrant community building around local chapters  
> then the foundation could help raise some funds to support that  
> work, but personal again, I suggest that the work of the local  
> groups in discussion with each other to get together to raise that  
> money, not the foundation. The foundation's job it is initiate the  
> processes and communication and should not be the big benevolent  
> grand-father who sorts it all out. I think that this grouping of  
> local chapters should take responsibility for 'gps-to-go' and  
> deciding where the GPS units go and when they come back, it is not  
> the job of the foundation to do stuff that can be done by others or  
> it will get too top-heavy and slow.
> Btw, I did an pretty big edit of the Local Chapters page yesterday  
> to clean it up and provide a bit more structure. Could you please  
> check it Nick to ensure I haven't misrepresented anything?

Looks good, Peter.  Thank you for you efforts.  There are many more  
local chapters interested than those represented on the wiki.  Setting  
up an email list seems like a good idea.

Did anyone on this thread get a list of the people who attended the  
local chapters meeting at SOTM?


> Personally I would suggest that we create a email-list for  
> interested parties to discuss local chapters and outreach and get it  
> moving. When it is moving we can talk about what further input is  
> required from the foundation if any.
> Regards,
> Peter
>> --
>> Nick
>> On 30 Jul 2009, at 21:09, Rafael Morales wrote:
>>> I agree that the foundation cannot be expected to evangelize the  
>>> entire world on the "goodness of OSM," to quote Nick,  but I do  
>>> feel strongly that the OSM Foundation should bring leadership and  
>>> guidance to the project.  As members of the OSM Foundation, we  
>>> should then have an opportunity to weigh-in/vote on the  
>>> Foundation's goals, and by consensus decide what if will focus on.
>>> I personally feel strongly that should include among its primary  
>>> goals, actively promoting OSM in parts of the world were there is  
>>> little map data (and I'm referring to the developing world).  It  
>>> is in those regions that access to quality maps could be most  
>>> empowering; think Palestine mapping project and humanitarian  
>>> crisis assistance. After all, it was Hurricane Katrina in 2005  
>>> that launched Google Earth into the day-to-day lexicon of the  
>>> common American, and I would argue that OSM's work in those areas  
>>> could do much more to promote the project, than mapping every  
>>> single power line in Germany.  (Sorry German OSM mappers, I give  
>>> you incredible props for the completeness of your map, it is  
>>> amazing, but I'm just making a point here).
>>> That said, this does not necessarily mean that the foundation has  
>>> to devote huge amounts of resources to achieve this. There are  
>>> certainly a lot of low-cost, high-impact projects it could  
>>> support, such as setting up micro-grants to support mapping  
>>> initiatives in the developing world; partnering with companies to  
>>> provide hand-held GPS units (ex. Garmin) and  laptops (ex. One  
>>> Laptop Per Child) to mappers in those countries; working with  
>>> microfinance organizations in those countries to expand the use of  
>>> OSM in the field; asking OSM mappers from the developed world to  
>>> donate their old GPS units when they upgrade; setting up challenge/ 
>>> matching grant programs to encourage the OSM community itself to  
>>> support some of these initiatives; etc., etc.  My point is that  
>>> the cost need not be extravagant in order to achieve real and  
>>> significant results.
>>> As those of us that attended SOtM saw, there are a lot of folks  
>>> doing amazing work in their home countries with access to  
>>> literally one or two GPS units, imagine what could be done if we  
>>> can provide some of these mappers with additional resources!  The  
>>> foundation needs to by servers to allow for the massive amounts of  
>>> detail in OSM, I understand that, but give people a reason to feel  
>>> good about contributing to the map and they will participate.  If  
>>> they think their contribution to the map is only going to make  
>>> private companies and developers wealthy, where's the incentive?
>>> My two cents,
>>> Rafael Morales
>>> San Francisco, CA
>>> From: Nick Black <nick at blacksworld.net>
>>> To: Frederik Ramm <frederik at remote.org>
>>> Cc: osmf-talk at openstreetmap.org
>>> Sent: Thursday, July 30, 2009 10:00:29 AM
>>> Subject: Re: [Osmf-talk] OSMF and evangelism (was: Conflict of  
>>> interest)
>>> On 30 Jul 2009, at 16:28, Frederik Ramm wrote:
>>> > Hi,
>>> >
>>> > This is developing into a nice discussion on the very question  
>>> of what
>>> > OSMF should be and what it shouldn't. I wish we had had this  
>>> long ago.
>>> Agree :-)
>>> >
>>> > Nick Black wrote:
>>> >> I want a project that actively goes out,
>>> >> finds mappers who don't know they are mappers yet and helps them
>>> >> learn
>>> >> how to map.
>>> >
>>> > Nice if individuals do this - but it cannot be, in my eyes, the  
>>> job of
>>> > OSMF. We (OSMF) are not there to preach to the world about the
>>> > goodness
>>> > of OSM. We are not there to carry OSM into countries that are not
>>> > interested.
>>> Just because someone hasn't heard of us doesn't make them not
>>> interested.  Its up to all of us to evangelize our community to the
>>> world.
>>> > We are not in the business of selling OSM to the world.
>>> I think we are :-)
>>> > If
>>> > there are places where OSM doesn't work as good as it could,  
>>> then our
>>> > natural reaction should be to just wait until they're ready rather
>>> > than
>>> > spending time and money to inseminate them with something that  
>>> didn't
>>> > come to them naturally. (You of all people should know that this  
>>> is a
>>> > difficult undertaking at the very least.)
>>> I think this attitude is completely at odds with what OSM is all
>>> about.  If Steve had sat around waiting for everyone in the UK to
>>> realize that there were better ways for people to make and share  
>>> maps,
>>> where would we be.  I can safely say that I would not have invented
>>> OSM myself - I'm incredibly glad that someone came to me and told me
>>> about OSM.  The same argument can be made for any of the big
>>> contributions to OSM.
>>> Surely all the guys in Germany who got a leaflet through their  
>>> door of
>>> in their pizza box are glad that someone took the time to reach out
>>> for them and we're glad that they are now contributing the project.
>>> The point of spending time and money is a good one though.  The  
>>> OSM-F
>>> needs to look at how best to spend its funds.
>>> >
>>> > We, OSMF, are in the business of helping OSMers reach *their*  
>>> goals -
>>> > but it is *them* who set these goals, not us.
>>> >
>>> >> A project that helps as many people as possible join the fun.
>>> >
>>> > No, not really my thinking. Once they knock on our door and  
>>> *want* to
>>> > join the fun - yes. But I don't see *us* knocking on doors to tell
>>> > people how great OSM is.
>>> But how do they find us?  And what if our door is actually the
>>> drawbridge of a medieval castle.  The castle is gleaming in the
>>> sunlight, but getting through the doorway is too intimidating.   
>>> That's
>>> the way OSM and the OSM-F appear to a lot of people.  Even the  
>>> sign-up
>>> process for the OSM-F scare the life out of a some people and plain
>>> confuses others.  I want OSM to lower its drawbridge, go out into  
>>> the
>>> villages and share the feast :-)
>>> >
>>> >> When you've got great news isn't it natural to want to share it  
>>> with
>>> >> people?
>>> >
>>> > Too much PR speak for my taste.
>>> ^ see above for PR speak ;-)
>>> > *If* OSM project members want to go out
>>> > and share their good news with the world - all right, it's  
>>> something I
>>> > do all the time. If someone comes to OSMF and says "I'm a lone  
>>> mapper
>>> > here in Kenya and can you help me to get some leaflets printed"  
>>> - I
>>> > wouldn't hesitate for a moment to allocate funds and find people  
>>> to
>>> > help
>>> > him. But that's where I draw the line. If I see that the map in  
>>> Kenya
>>> > leaves things to be desired, I would *not* want OSMF to allocate  
>>> funds
>>> > to go search for people we can send to Kenya to improve mapping  
>>> there,
>>> > or whatever.
>>> Ok, there's a source of mis-understanding perhaps.  What I would
>>> advocate - and I'm being quite serious - is that we reach out to a  
>>> few
>>> Kenyan mappers (there are some on the OSM Dev list for example) and
>>> see if they need any help.  The Foundation could sponsor some of the
>>> lead mappers to attend SOTM.  The Foundation could develop an
>>> educational syllabus for Kenyan university students so that they can
>>> use OSM data and OSM tools in the classroom.  The Foundation could  
>>> put
>>> its support behind renderings of the map in Swahili, or provide  
>>> money
>>> so that Kenyan mappers can host tile servers in Nairobi, rather than
>>> pulling tiles from the OSM London tile server - and suffering from
>>> terrible latency.
>>> All of this, I believe, is in the roll of the OSM Foundation.  Maybe
>>> not today, but in the future.
>>> >
>>> > I believe the OSMF must be a catalyst - helping out where OSM  
>>> project
>>> > members are active and ask for help. Also, if we go away from the
>>> > regional thinking into thematic areas: If there are some people  
>>> in the
>>> > community who say "we should really do a hacking weekend to get X
>>> > done",
>>> > and they ask OSMF for help in organising the event or perhaps  
>>> stepping
>>> > in for some of the travel costs or whatever - good idea. I would  
>>> not
>>> > want OSMF, however, to try and second guess, or even lead, the  
>>> project
>>> > ("we really think the community should work more on X so let's  
>>> sponsor
>>> > them a hacking weekend they haven't asked for").
>>> I agree that the OSM-F should be community lead - absolutely.  So we
>>> should offer support to the events you describe.  But I don't think
>>> giving a talk to the Nairobi Linux Users Group is trying to second
>>> guess the community at all.  Its what OSM is all about.
>>> >
>>> > OSMF can afford to let the community lead and simply follow  
>>> whereever
>>> > they go. A business couldn't, or at least would be expected to  
>>> be more
>>> > in control than OSMF ever has to be.
>>> There's a big difference between leading and controlling.  I don't
>>> think the OSM-F should control.  I do think it should lead, but be
>>> lead by the community.
>>> --
>>> Nick
>>> >
>>> > Bye
>>> > Frederik
>>> >
>>> > --
>>> > Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09"
>>> > E008°23'33"
>>> >
>>> > _______________________________________________
>>> > osmf-talk mailing list
>>> > osmf-talk at openstreetmap.org
>>> > http://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/osmf-talk
>>> --
>>> Nick Black
>>> twitter.com/nick_b
>>> nick at blacksworld.net
>>> _______________________________________________
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>>> osmf-talk at openstreetmap.org
>>> http://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/osmf-talk
>> --
>> Nick Black
>> twitter.com/nick_b
>> nick at blacksworld.net
>> _______________________________________________
>> osmf-talk mailing list
>> osmf-talk at openstreetmap.org
>> http://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/osmf-talk

Nick Black
nick at blacksworld.net

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