[Osmf-talk] OSMF and Evangelism

Peter Miller peter.miller at itoworld.com
Fri Jul 31 18:59:07 UTC 2009

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?

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.



> --
> 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"
>> >
>> > _______________________________________________
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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
> twitter.com/nick_b
> nick at blacksworld.net
> _______________________________________________
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