[Talk-us] How to get more publicity?

Kai Krueger kakrueger at gmail.com
Thu Jul 7 02:50:13 BST 2011


Over the past, there have be a number of discussions about why the US OSM
community is not as successful as those in the UK and Germany, blaming to
various degrees e.g. data imports, usability or other aspects. However, for
these factors to influence OSM uptake, people need to have heard of OSM to
begin with.

To see how much of a problem this is, I went out and asked random people
working in hiking, biking and other outdoor shops here in Boulder, CO if
they knew about OSM. Out of the couple of dozen people I have asked, not a
single person had ever heard of OSM. Once I explained to them what OSM was,
most of them thought it was an interesting idea and would have a look at it.

Given that those were perhaps some of the most favorable conditions to
stumble upon people who have heard about OSM, it is clear that OSM has a
publicity problem in the US.  

The question thus is how can we increase awareness of OSM?

One obvious way is to try and get more press coverage about OSM. Looking at
http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/OpenStreetMap_in_the_media however, there
doesn't seem to have been much coverage this year yet in the US and a bunch
of it was HOT related.

Can we as a community encourage more press coverage?

Although, national mainstream press would have the highest reach, it is
probably much harder to convince them that a story about OSM would be in the
interest of their readers. It might also be harder to then convince the
readers that OSM is in their best interest.

Contacting local and specialist magazins might thus make it easier to
construct a compelling story for their readers and thus increase the
willingness of the media to report about it.

So perhaps we could start by identifying the various special interest groups
to which OSM has more to offer than the established map providers like
Google Maps. Then collect concrete examples of what OSM has to offer them
beyond the existing providers in these specialist domains, and finally
coordinate contacting these specialist magazines to explain to them why it
would be in the best interest of their readers to bring a story on OSM.

Have people done things like this? How was the reaction of the media to
these kind of contacts?

Do people have other ideas of how to increase awareness of OSM? E.g. booths
on relevant trade shows? Are there things that OSM-US as an organisation can


P.S. perhaps interestingly, non of the people I talked to, after explaining
OSM, asked if this is similar to Google Map Maker. So perhaps Google Map
Maker also has a publicity problem. But that isn't really our concern... ;-)

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