[Osmf-talk] Balancing the presence of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team at the OSM Foundation in 2017

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Wed Nov 29 20:37:01 UTC 2017


On 11/29/2017 06:04 PM, martin at noblecourt.eu wrote:
> My suggestion would be to leave much more space to the local chapters.

I think this is a good way forward for the future of OSMF, provided that
the local chapters are independent, and started "from the ground up" by
the community.

But trying too hard (with respect to setting up local chapters) could be
dangerous, as we might create local chapters that are practically run
and bankrolled by the OSMF or HOT or EOF or whoever had the contacts to
set up the chapter, thus giving us a mere illusion of democratic
legitimacy and diversity when behind the scenes it's the same old
players running the show. That wouldn't be what we want.

> Currently we face:
> 1) a lack of officially recognized chapter
> (https://wiki.osmfoundation.org/wiki/Local_Chapters => US, Germany
> amongst the big contributors are missing, there's actually no chapter
> outside Europe!)

There's a sub page
https://wiki.osmfoundation.org/wiki/Local_Chapters/Applications that
lists ongoing processes with Japan, Belgium, and Germany. The situation
with OSM US becoming a local chapter has been discussed on and off and
I'm sure it's just a matter of time.

Currently, becoming a local chapter requires that you have some form of
recognized legal entity (incorporation, etc.) in your home country. At a
local chapters discussion at SOTM 2017 we talked about perhaps softening
that rule a bit by introducing a concept of a "recognized local group"
or something, that would stop short of being a full local chapter but
perhaps be a good stepping stone.

> 1.a) supporting the growth and structuration of local OSM chapters.
> Several actors working in the development sector are already doing it
> here and there (HOT, CartONG, EOF, etc.) however there is no concerted
> effort, and it concerns only a few countries

Can have undesirable side effects, as I stated above, and end up
cementing the dominance of a few players who were heavyweight enough to
facilitate the creation of their own "local chapter fan club".

> 3) Changing the board's governance to officially have a representation
> of local chapters (potentially reserved seats eventually, maybe only
> advisory positions to start with?)

We have created a body called the "Advisory Board" whose role is
currently just that - they can advise the board on matters where board
asks them for comment, but they have no powers. Corporate members in the
higher tiers get a seat on the board, and official local chapters get
one too.

This is new and somewhat experimental. It might turn out to be a bad
idea to group local chapters and corporate members together; perhaps we
need two different advisory groups, but this is our first shot and we'll
see how it goes.

Giving local chapters a say in governance issues is interesting but
something that needs to be thought about. Does each chapter get one
vote? Or as many votes as they have members? Or as many votes as there
are mapper in that country? Or as many votes as there are people in that

An obvious other option is to end individual membership in OSMF
altogether, or at least for all countries that have local chapters; and
then the chapters themselves become the members in OSMF.


Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"

More information about the osmf-talk mailing list