[Talk-us] Some observations and motivation

Martijn van Exel m at rtijn.org
Fri Jul 20 16:27:14 BST 2012

Hey Alexander,

On Fri, Jul 20, 2012 at 8:18 AM, Alexander Jones <happy5214 at gmail.com> wrote:
> I know that this probably isn't the best forum for what I'm about to write,
> but I feel this should be heard by a wide audience. And yes, this is on-
> topic.
> So, let's stop bickering, and make it even better.

I don't think there is a wrong place to say these things.

One of the challenges of OpenStreetMap is that there is so many
communication channels: forum, IRC, mailing lists (many of them), wiki
talk pages, groups on third party web sites. It can be hard to figure
out which to use for which question or message. I'm often not sure
myself, and I have been with OSM since 2007.

Another challenge is that there are dozens if not hundreds of useful
tools to work with, visualize, analyze, convert and edit OSM data.
Most of these are geared towards users with some degree of technology
savvy. There is no lack of attempts to develop simpler tools in order
to reach a much wider audience, both on the contributor and the third
party developer side of things. Some of these attempts come from
inside the community (see Richard Fairhursts new iD editor[1] for
example). Some come from commercial third parties building a business
model around OSM: Cloudmade with MapZen and various developer tools,
MapQuest with various data and developer tools and services, and most
recently DevelopmentSeed with TileMill, MapBox and their work possibly
coming out of a Knight Foundation grant[2] (not awarded yet).

What I'm saying is: there is a lot of positive energy in and around
OpenStreetMap, and there are a lot of projects that could use your
(and all of our) help. If you're not a developer, there's also lots of
rewarding work beyond mapping for you. Help clean up and reorganize
the wiki. Help improve www.openstreetmap.us. Volunteer to help out at
the upcoming State Of The Map (US) conference. In any case: don't let
yourself be distracted by the occasional round of bickering. It
happens, and if you DNFTT, it will die down pretty quickly.

Happy mapping,

[1] http://opengeodata.org/building-a-friendly-editor-for-openstreetmap
[2] http://newschallenge1.tumblr.com/post/19450699629/new-contribution-tools-for-openstreetmap

martijn van exel

More information about the Talk-us mailing list