[Osmf-talk] exit

Rod Bera rod at goarem.org
Wed Jan 6 09:30:04 UTC 2016

Hi Steve,

This looks like the end of an era. I respect this tough decision:
letting go of the project you thought, built up and maintained for over
a decade can't be an easy one.

In 2004 I was a freshly appointed GIS lecturer at UCL when my colleague
Muki Hacklay introduced me a CS student with such a visionary project I
remember thinking "wow, does this guy REALLY want to redraw the London
A-Z map from scratch?". Considering where we are now, things are just
amazing and way beyond this thought.
Above all I liked the idea of a map (and the data behind!) by and for
all: it went far beyond the spirit of the Guardian campaign to make OS
maps free - or just less expensive, running at the time.

This is why I kept an eye on OpenStreetMap from the beginning, first
with some of my own students back on mondays thrilled that they spent
the weekend taking part in the very first mapping parties, then just
following the quick progress - state - of the map on openstreetmap.org,
and everything documented on the wiki and elsewhere.
Still, it took me years to myself contribute: 2007 to test the water,
2009 to dive. I was working on something different at that time...

But with OSM you eventually made me radically reorient my activities
from theoretical stuff (the influence of space and its contents on
relations and organisation) to spatial data and data sharing,
empowerment, emergence of open data-driven services.
In addition, OSM has now been routinely be part of my teaching since

The work by Muki on comparing the accuracy and completeness of OSM and
OS maps also made a crucial point to make governmental mapping agencies
(OS-GB, IGN-F, to name those I had to deal with) conscious that
something huge was happening with the free and open contribution of the
crowds to build spatial data (and a number of tools, documents,
practices, etc.) as commons.
They had to change their practices, however painful it was. For years
they consistently failed to see OSM as an opportunity, and finally had
to accept the idea, combined with the irruption of the EU directive
INSPIRE, implying they had to evolve anyway. But, importantly OSM was at
that time central to their reflection.

Also OSM has shown invaluable in contexts where no or few data were made
available by usual channels. The fact that OSM communities emerge in
Africa and elsewhere where data is scarce is an answer by common people
to the current lack of practical spatial knowledge at their disposal.
With OSM they substitute themselves to governments and international
organisations, NGOs, wherever they fail to provide a sufficiently useful

The use of OSM for humanitarian purposes, is another way OSM makes a
difference, where OSM has an impact on the very lives of people, during
crises and for rebuild or development alike. The set-up of a
humanitarian OSM team by Nicolas Chavent and Mikel Maron is something
that obviously builds on your vision.

There are literally millions of stories (at least as many as OSM
community members, plus simple anonymous users) happening across the
world because of you...

I know you'll still be around, and though your exit is more a symbol
than an end, I wish to thank you for you amazing achievement, and for
those by others building on OSM.

Rod Bera

On 06/01/16 07:26, Steve Coast wrote:
> Hi
> I’m out of the honorary Chairman Emeritus position, I resigned today and the board accepted. I’m also out of the OSM twitter account and I’ve asked Harry to remove me from the group tweet tool.
> This isn’t one of those “throw the toys out of the pram” things. The CE role has been meaningless for a long time, though I did and do appreciate the gesture. To be honest, the fact that the basic design of OSM remains the same way I built it is a much larger compliment all these years later (quick, Steve likes something, go work on ripping it down! (this is a joke)).
> The nonsense about twitter the last couple of days and the renewed public and private threads on “how to kick steve out” are just the nail in the coffin. Honestly, I’m not super angry and going off in a huff. It’s just kind of sad and I’d rather not be a part of it. If you go look at the tweets I sent out (on what’s sadly basically a dead twitter stream) it’s all OSM related. Even the posters use OSM data, and I promise they won’t make any money having done it before.
> Speaking of money. When we did CloudMade we broke through a number of the barriers in the “money & OSM” book, in the sense that we were the first who mixed OSM companies and OSMF board positions. CM owned the SOTM conference (in a good way, we paid lots of money). We built a bunch of services to be monetized, an editor and all that. We took a lot of flak for that stuff… and so it’s entertaining that today it’s all completely normal. So when I get these nastygrams about possibly making $99 profit on a kickstarter project... I really think you guys should look around and think a bit harder if you’re concerned about money and OSM.
> The recent death of Ian Murdock made me sad. One of the things that he apparently did well was to let Debian go be its own thing rather than be The Guy like perhaps Jimmy Wales did. I’ve been trying to do the former for a long time[1]. Hopefully this is the end of it.
> Of course I’m going to stick around and do OSM things, I’m not dissapearing, and I’m here if my time is useful to the project. There’s renewed talk of an advisory board that would probably make a lot of sense if done well. I used to want the OSMF to accomplish a lot more but really, doing little might have been the best possible strategy. Doing a lot might make great things happen or bad things too, in that it avoided anyone taking over the project or drastically changing the license for themselves or whatever. But we can’t go back in time and run the experiment again so we’ll never know which way was best.
> I wish OSM and the OSMF well and hope we figure out how to make 2016 a great year for the project.
> Best
> Steve
> [1] - Which is another amusing thing for me reading people complaining about a tweet compared to where I could be owning the trademark, domain name, code and everything else… I mean you do know I owned all of it right? It was given up *on purpose*.
> _______________________________________________
> osmf-talk mailing list
> osmf-talk at openstreetmap.org
> https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/osmf-talk

Rod Béra,  MCF Géomatique                /   Lecturer, Geomatics
           et SIG pour l'Environnement  /    and Environmental GIS
Agrocampus-Ouest|65 r.Saint-Brieuc|CS84215|35042 Rennes cedex|France
+33 (0) 223 48 5553 - roderic.bera at agrocampus-ouest.fr

More information about the osmf-talk mailing list