Advisory Board/Minutes/2020-10-09

From OpenStreetMap Foundation

Draft minutes.



Board members

  • Allan Mustard (chairing)
  • Rory McCann
  • Tobias Knerr


Advisory Board Corporate Member representatives

  • Bing/Microsoft - Harsh Govind
  • Facebook - Marc Prioleau (Drishtie Patel on parental leave)
  • Mapbox - Tom Lee

Advisory Board representatives and their affiliations

Not present

  • Grab representative - Vinay Jayanthi
  • Esri representative - Andrew Turner
  • Guillaume Rischard (OSMF board of Directors)'
  • Joost Schouppe (OSMF board of Directors)
  • Mikel Maron (OSMF board of Directors)
  • Paul Norman (OSMF board of Directors)

Minutes by Dorothea Kazazi

Points have been mostly organised per speaker and might not be presented in their original order. Most OSMF board of Directors points were made by Allan, unless noted otherwise.

Attribution guidelines

The board of directors had received a draft attribution guideline by the Licensing Working Group (LWG) and is working on its text.

Attribution related meetings, excluding recurring board and LWG meetings

Attribution related board minutes:

Attribution guidance related LWG minutes:

OSMF members related discussions:

  • Attribution guideline status update: 2019 Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec
  • Attribution: board letter to Facebook: 2019 Oct, Nov
  • Board has reached impasse with Licensing Working Group (LWG).
  • Board suggested to LWG a videomeeting for discussion and resolving differences.

Tom Lee (Mapbox)
LWG related

  • Impression that LWG members are frustrated and would like to dig in to specific edits that have been made to original proposal.
  • From call earlier this week, few of us heard different accounting of where things laid with LWG, who expected red-lined version of attribution guidelines.
  • Hope that conversation with LWG will occur.
  • Shouldn't speak on behalf of the LWG.
  • The LWG is the body that answers legal questions and their work and advice is being ignored.

On current draft of guidelines

  • Personal understanding that there are serious problems with the guidelines and the solution is not right around the corner.
  • Efforts appreciated but neither Guillaume Rischard (OSMF board of Directors) and Paul Norman (OSMF board of Directors) who modified the original draft are lawyers and they signed-up [for requests from LWG such as the red-line] when they decided to change the LWG draft.
  • Red lines have to be done manually and what was tried was with an automated tool.
  • Kathleen Lu (LWG and Mapbox) mentioned that Guillaume agreed during LWG call to provide red-lined version.

On the guidelines, in general

  • Document has to be consistent with the licence and also be readable.
  • Corporate community licensing status quo reflects a consensus developed some years ago and was well received for quite a while.
  • Sense of community has changed and it is reasonable to reflect that - but it probably won't stop changing and there's a risk of continued divergence from what the licence fundamentals allow.

Allan Mustard (OSMF board of Directors)

  • We, as non lawyers, cannot provide red-lines like the LWG wants and that would require an investment of time more than the member of the board can do.
  • Diffs were provided to the LWG and the board can provide explanations.
  • Board is keenly aware of community sentiment and wants the guidelines to be accepted by the community.
  • Not huge divergence between the LWG and the board versions.
    • Certain amount of moving text within the document.
    • Some things were considered redundant with other text in the document and were deleted.
    • Viewed the document as lay-people who would like to use it for safe-harbour.
  • Guillaume Rischard and Paul Norman prefer to invest time in having a videoconference with the LWG and answer questions orally rather than spending time to produce a red-line.
  • LWG work and advice is not being ignored.
  • The board wants to have the dialogue going with the LWG.

Rory McCann (OSMF board of Directors)

  • Talked about the red-line request during screen-to-screen board meeting a week ago.
  • Email suggesting meeting sent to LWG by Allan today.

Harsh Govind (Microsoft)

  • Understanding from conversation from Kathleen Lu that there were some technical glitches in comparing the two documents.
  • Offer to the OSMF board of Directors to reach out if they need help in that direction.

Strategic plan creation

The strategic plan was discussed at two different sections of the meeting. For readability, the minutes from both sections have been merged.

Creation of a strategic plan was a decision during October 2020 screen-to-screen meeting of the OSMF board of Directors of Directors.

Plan for draft:

  • where the board wants the project to be after a few years.
  • what it's going to get to get there.
  • what financial and non-financial resources.
  • volunteerism in Working Groups (WGs), Working Group structure.

Allan might reach out to representatives of companies on the Advisory Board regarding this topic.

  • Look at demand for the services in 5 years and work out what hardware and other resources we would need.
  • Do we only want to offer the products that we do..?
  • If we want to go global, do we need additional data centres in other parts of the world? Is there a role in hosting that for companies or for local chapters or other entities?
  • How many Site Reliability Engineers?
  • We would like to get feedback from people knowledgeable in the technology who can answer these sort of questions.

Other point mentioned:

  • Growth has found OpenStreetMap, we have not seeked growth. Only this year we are responding in a meaningful way.

Platform stabilisation

One of the top issues mentioned in 23 of 40 calls Allan had so far.

  • We have done a lot, improved in terms of volume of hardware.
  • We'll hire a full-time a senior site reliability engineer.

Thanks were given to the companies that contributed with funds.

Corollary: Quincy Morgan was contracted to work full time on iD and is holding weekly meetings with anyone who wants to provide input on how iD can be improved.

On vector tiles

Do we really want to do that?

  • Would need investment in programming and money.
  • There are private companies doing vector tiles and that would take business away from them. Let them do it and we provide the data.
  • What ramifications does that have for us strategically, in terms of the services we will offer versus the services the commercial ecosystem around us offers.

On application programming interface API

In 5 years do we need to shift to another platform or do we need a different software product?

Allan Mustard (OSMF board of Directors)

  • There's always going to be controversy and friction.
  • Almost everybody agrees that we need to stabilise the platform and move past what was referred as the "Saturday afternoon mapping club mentality".
  • No fundamental change in how data is collected or that is going to be a mapper/volunteer driven project.
  • We have a unique opportunity, as we are global and dispersed, to continue to make it a volunteer project.
  • Interest of having the best database possible.

On local chapters
Local Chapters (LCs) now in: South and North America, Asia, soon in Africa.

  • Want stable, accessible platform.
  • Interested in data quality.
  • Can answer questions when it pertains to data. Will be happy to talk to companies.

Suggestion: Addition to the strategic plan: concept of widely dispersed global control to data collection and management.

Marc Prioleau (Facebook)

  • Using a strategic plan to get alignment of thinking.
  • Most details change as time passes, but you can have a common strategic baseline to think about changes.
  • A lot of heat and friction is because people have different points of view on how OSM and the platform should be.
  • Corporate perspective on the strategic plan is not that misaligned.
  • Suggestion to have our issues on the table to be considered.

Tom Lee (Mapbox)

  • The outlined framework looks solid.
  • Near impossibility of getting imports done.
  • Companies have somewhat different perspective than the tile serving parts of the community.
    • Which audiences does OSMF want to serve?
    • Reasons to question the sustainability of tile provision.

Allan Mustard (OSMF board of Directors)

  • Common thread: concern about data quality.
  • Common perspective: have better DB possible.

On imports

On geocoding

  • A lot of demand for geocoding data.

On Operations Working Group (OWG)

  • OWG worked on crackdown of people who abuse tile usage.
  • Help appreciated on recruiting people who can aid with this issue.

On services and products that OSMF offers

  • The Foundation shouldn't be competing with the commercial ecosystem built around OSM data.
  • We need to look what products and services we offer.

Rory McCann (OSMF board of Directors)

  • Ideas and perspectives are welcome.


  • Strategic vision looking for next 5 years, in terms of persons and funds needed.
  • We have enough funds to sustain us for a year or longer but we'll need ongoing income stream to cover this expenditure.
  • In the worst case where the money dries up, we can go back to all volunteer operation, on donated equipment.
  • We don't want to go towards a path of unrestricted growth (need to figure out the number of personnel needed to keep the platform stable and reliable).

Useful for OSMF to know information about companies internal fiscal year/budget cycles to put requests for money.

Details about timing were provided by Harsh Govind.

Question from Harsh Govind (Microsoft): How are funds distributed? Are they constrained to specific line item..?

  • Not constrained, unless constraint placed by donor.
  • At least one donor put a constrain on what not to be funded.
  • 120,000 USD /year paid on operations, hardware replacements/etc.
  • Additional cost for persons: iD developer, Senior Site Reliability Engineer.
  • Current budget for administrative support, some subscriptions, 0 travel budget for now.
  • Right now all funds go together.

Insights and thoughts from Advisory Board corporate members are welcome.

Marc Prioleau (Facebook)

  • Facebook provided non-restricted funds.
  • Intentions and expectations for funds mentioned during conversation with the board.
  • Would like a bigger vision of where iD is going.
  • Non-contractual provision of funds.

Harsh Govind (Microsoft)

  • Funds asked from top to stabilise infrastructure of project.
  • Knowing the funds are going on infrastructure stabilisation helps to make a case when asking for them from the top.
  • Knowing whether constraints can be placed, helps too.