[Talk-us] Steady increase in the number of mappers in the US

stevea steveaOSM at softworkers.com
Fri Jul 19 18:11:01 UTC 2013

Some ideas and thoughts in no particular order:

1)  There are a lot of mappers out there who use OSM data without 
even knowing it:  I'm talking about smartphone users with built-in 
GPS + an app that taps into OSM data (too many to list, yes, and 
still in the minority, but they are out there).  Quite related are 
users (like me) who have a non-smartphone GPS (Garmin brand is very 
well supported) and all they need to know is there is an easy 
download solution of a Lambertus-derived/daveh-produced map-on-a-chip 
that puts OSM on their Garmin device.  For people like hikers, 
mountain bikers and outdoors/sports enthusiasts who get into 
backcountry not well-supported by more commercial maps, having a map 
with tracks and trails is a huge boon.  ESPECIALLY as we stress that 
these data are EDITABLE, and by YOU!  I know for a fact that "a map 
that I can improve" inspires me deeply to go out there and get 
mapping of my local (and not-so-local) surroundings.  Others, with 
this simple educational message, will follow if we get this message 
out there correctly.

2)  The recent work on National Parks means we could use 
opportunities at NPs (ranger stations, infosign kiosks, gift 
shops...) to promote OSM.  "Uncle Sam wants YOU to improve this map!" 
is a bit cheesy, but something along those lines could work, and I 
mean in partnership with the parks, and right AT the parks. 
Especially with how NPs get high traffic in summer, we'd get a great 
deal of exposure right now.  The message needs to stick once folks 
leave the park so they "take the OSM spirit home with them."

3)  Something needs to target people on the Internet who are bored 
(with social media, whatever else is out there that gets ho-hum 
quickly) and the unemployed, underemployed or retired with the 
message that contributing to OSM is a great way to spend time.  It 
makes or keeps your technical skills sharp (if that is in fact your 
inclination), it builds community not just within OSM but within YOU, 
and it has that "feel good" volunteer spirit of giving back to the 
greater good (like writing for Wikipedia or helping out at a soup 

4)  Some of this might be done with carefully targeted ads on the 
'net.  Yes, this costs money, but not a lot.  If the OSM-US spends 
ANY money on "outreach" these ideas should be incorporated into those 
budget talks.  It shouldn't cost much to ramp up a simple banner ad 
that blends better aspects of the ideas in this thread and properly 
sparks new volunteers to join and begin contributing to OSM.


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