July 31st, 2019 12:58

OSMF Local Chapters criteria

Jez Nicholson (Director)
Jez Nicholson (Director) Public Seen by 199

OSMUK is officially affiliated with the OpenStreetMap Foundation OSMF as the UK's Local Chapter. There was a question on OSMF-Talk that asks what the joining criteria should be, i.e. how do you identify the 'official' Local Chapter of OSM in a country in such a way that it doesn't stop organisations with limited resources or red tape to battle with, whilst avoiding fake ones. https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/osmf-talk/2019-July/006131.html

We'd like to join in the discussion in a positive manner. Personally, I believe that the discussion drifted away from the original question, and that we should focus on that.


RobJN (Director)

RobJN (Director) August 1st, 2019 18:05

My concern is that there is a lot of discussion about red tape and protecting trademarks but very little about the benefit of even having a Local Chapter. So far all I see is the following:

For example you get a seat at the table of the advisory board, you get legitimacy, you get to use the OSMF trademarks to promote your organisation.

With the exception of the legitimacy argument (which is kind of helpful in a few of our interactions), the others are all false offers. The Advisory Board is inactive and delivers no benefit to the Local Chapter and given that OSM relies on grass-roots support the whole concept of OSMF starting to banish groups from using "OSM" is a non-starter and a sure fire way to kill of the community spirit.

I think in order to determine an answer to Joost's question, the OSMF Board have to first answer why they feel the need to have Local Chapters in the first place. For me it comes to one of 4 things:

  • Flow of information from the top (OSMF) down to the Local Chapters. This might include the OSMF suggesting some strategic goals.
  • Flow of information from the bottom upwards to OSMF. For example the Local Chapters representing their community in decision making by the OSMF.
  • Flow of money from OSMF to Local Chapters to support the grass-roots.
  • Flow of money from the Local Chapters to the OSMF to support the project and global initiatives.

As far as I can see, it fundamentally has to be one or more of these things and the OSMF need to set out which before they consider rules for becoming a Local Chapter.

I propose a response to OSMF along the lines of what I set out above.

Brian Prangle

Brian Prangle August 1st, 2019 20:11

Couldn't agree more Rob - it's all internally facing process-driven stuff which is a sure fire way to kill any enthusiasm stone dead.To me the whole idea of local chapters is to increase the size and reach of resources available to OSM so as to give organisations and mappers a local base they can work with rather than some remote global outfit with limited bandwidth for local engagement. Go forit!

RobJN (Director)

RobJN (Director) August 10th, 2019 15:59

Cheers Brian. I have drafted something and shared with OSMUK Board first. Ideally this would be an open letter if my fellow Directors are supportive of that.

RobJN (Director)

RobJN (Director) September 5th, 2019 19:14

Hi all. This took a bit longer than expected but today I sent the attached letter to the OSMF.