[Osmf-talk] OSM Uganda Local Chapter application

Christoph Hormann chris_hormann at gmx.de
Sat Nov 28 13:41:59 UTC 2020

27 Nov 2020 23:14:54 Tobias Knerr <osm at tobias-knerr.de>:
> Just describing my personal recollection here, and I was
> not one of they board members involved in direct
> communications with MapUganda, so take this with a
> grain of salt:
> [...]

Thanks.  That is what i was looking for and as Simon already indicated it 
is raising some eyebrows that the board did not consider it pertinent to 
share this when asking the membership for their opinion.

Anyway, first a quick side comment on the matter of formal qualification 
requirements for board members of local chapters.  I do not consider this 
a big issue.  We have - in particular before board elections - frequently 
discussed what qualifications are important for someone to be a good 
board member for the OSMF.  It is difficult to codify consensus on that 
in formal rules and i personally would never consider formal education 
criteria a useful criterion.  But different cultures have different views 
here so i would not feel like passing judgement on that.  The key i think 
however is that such rules are not set in stone and cannot be used by 
those who meet the requirement to exclude those who don't.  As long as 
organization membership is open to everyone and the members can change 
the rules even against the expressed wishes of the board i don't see a 
big issue here.

But now the observations i actually wanted to share:

First i am not quite sure about the identity of the organization
applying for local chapter status here.  The application page and the 
constitution document seem to speak of "OpenStreetMap Uganda" while the 
website of the organization (http://mapuganda.org) talks about itself as 
"MapUganda" and only mentions OpenStreetMap in the context of "All 
activities are set up around the global OpenStreetMap (OSM) project".  
Yet even that seems doubtful since the only map shown on the starting 


does not seem to be based on OpenStreetMap data.  I am kind of wondering 
if we have two different organizations here or MapUganda as a GIS 
consulting/training company has rebranded itself as OpenStreetMap Uganda 
for the purpose of applying for local chapter status.

Second, looking at the constitution in ARTICLE 3: OBJECTIVES the only 
mentioning of OpenStreetMap and Open Data is in "Provide training in 
OpenStreetMap and open data".  All of the other objectives could likewise 
be pursued on the basis of proprietary tools and data.  In other words:  
While the local chapter agreement requires the local chapters to work 
towards the goals of OpenStreetMap and to promote OpenStreetMap i do not 
see this in substance being mandated by the constitution itself.

Looking over the website the absence of any primarily OpenStreetMap 
related activity (i.e. activity where OSM is not just a tool for an 
outside purpose but a goal in itself) is striking.  Typical activities of 
local OSM communities elsewhere like outreach to citizens to become 
volunteer mappers sharing their local knowledge, promotion of OSM data 
use to civil society, companies and government, running communication 
channels and tools for the local OSM community etc. seem to be missing.
Considering the organization seems quite a few years of history and seems 
to be financially in a fairly healthy shape this is remarkable.

In other words:  I am unable based on the information i looked at to
find clear indications that the organization applying here practically
fulfills in substance the functions for the local OSM community a local 
OSM chapter typically has.  That i am not seeing that obviously does not 
mean it is not there.  But i'd like to specifically ask for references to 
such activity.

Third, the current membership fee is indicated to be UGX 50k per year 
which translates to EUR 11.30.  For a European country that would be a 
pretty decent rate (probably below average of the current local chapters 
we have).  But considering the EUR ~17 the OSMF charges is often 
considered a significant hurdle in many parts of the world i wonder if 
some people familiar with the wage and price structure in Uganda could 
comment on how big of a hurdle the UGX 50k per year are for a volunteer 
mapper in country, in particular in rural areas.

Christoph Hormann

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