[Osmf-talk] OSMF and Evangelism

Nick Black nick at blacksworld.net
Fri Jul 31 17:46:00 UTC 2009

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.


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"
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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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
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Nick Black
nick at blacksworld.net

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