Advisory Board/Minutes/2021-11-02

From OpenStreetMap Foundation

Draft minutes. Please note that these minutes are not formally approved.

The OSMF Board of Directors had a meeting at this BigBlueButton videoroom with members of the Advisory Board on 2021-11-02.

  • The meeting was open to observers.


Board members

  • Allan Mustard (Chairing)
  • Amanda McCann
  • Eugene Alvin Villar
  • Guillaume Rischard
  • Jean-Marc Liotier
  • Mikel Maron
  • Tobias Knerr

Officers and board

Minutes by Dorothea Kazazi

Local Chapter representatives

Corporate Member representatives

  • Facebook - Marc Prioleau
  • Bing - Harsh Govind


  • 16 guests, including ~5 from Microsoft

Open to all OSMF members.

You are welcome to ask questions or to comment (via voice or on the chat) at the end of the meeting.

  • Please mute your microphone when you join, and to preserve bandwidth, refrain from turning on your webcam.
  • If you are in a low-bandwidth environment, you may benefit from using BigBlueButton's low-bandwidth settings. To access them, click on the 3 dots, on the top-right of the videoroom's black window.
  • The videoroom opens ~ 20' before the meeting.

Not Present

Gold Corporate Member representatives

  • Mapbox
  • Esri
  • Grab
  • GraphHopper

Local Chapters representatives

Esri presentation - ESRI ArcGIS Datasets year in review

Andrew Turner / Deane Kensok (Esri - Gold OSMF Corporate Member)

Deferred to next meeting, due to absence of presenters.

Microsoft presentation - MapBuilder, an experiment to build the best map

Tim Smith / Ninoslav Petrovic / Harsh Govind (Microsoft - Gold OSMF Corporate Member)

Presentation by Tim Smith (Microsoft).


What comes next

  • Microsoft has around 1 billion users around the world.
  • Microsoft users see OSM data but don't know that there is a community behind the map and the mapping experience.

Goal: empower the OSM community with Microsoft's user-base, bringing new mappers to OSM.

Current phase: experimentation.

Live demonstration

<placeholder for any images>

Microsoft has added to their iD interface:

  • Location search.
  • Feedback button which directs to Microsoft.
  • Account login button.

Controls and measures

Quality is a priority.

On oversight

  • Team of long-time OSM editors overseeing the process.
  • When a user submits a change to OSM, the Microsoft maps team is notified and might correct/revert the edit.

It does not scale, so not suggesting to put a huge number of users through such an experiment.


  • Want to simulate a single-sign-on.
  • Users are logged-in to their Microsoft accounts and their edits are submitted via a proxy OSM account.
  • Not an ideal solution.

Request for feedback: would like to hear ( input on how a scalable solution for OSM would look like.

Request for feedback

Address provided:

Other points mentioned

  • Billing users is far in the future.
  • Focused on specific countries for editing.

Questions and comments

On MapBuilder availability

  • The option to edit the Bing map does not seem available - is it available to specific accounts at this monment? (Jóhannes Birgir Jensson, Iceland local chapter)

Harsh Govind and Nikola Todic (Microsoft)
> Yes, we want to keep this experiment controlled and not open it to thousands of people.
> We'll keep it small, until we know how we can scale it and which areas to open up.
> We are currently validating each edit that is coming through - which is not scalable.

On open sourcing the MapBuilder code

  • This is a fork of iD. Is the source code somewhere we can look at? (Amanda McCann, board of Directors)

Nikola Todic (Microsoft)
> We want to open-source it, in collaboration with other developer communities. Reach out to us to figure out the best strategy.

The code is currently not under a share-alike licence.

On single OSM account for all edits from MapBuilder

Edits from MapbBuilder currently seem to appear under this OSM account:

Nikola Todic (Microsoft)
> We're looking for help from the OSM engineering community.

Comments by board members

  • Make sure users are agreeing to the Contributor terms (which are presented to contributors when they register for an OSM account). (Amanda McCann)
  • Better not to have a single account, as it will likely get blocked. (Amanda McCann)
  • The Organised Editing Guidelines actually recommend separate individual accounts, to make it easier to get in touch with the person. (Guillaume Rischard)

On Software Dispute resolution panel account

Harsh Govind (Microsoft)
> We're not there yet. The focus has been on how to motivate our users.
> It's on our radar.

On current use of MapBuilder

  • Cool to see using it in Australia - where else are you using it? (Guillaume Rischard, board of Directors)

Harsh Govind (Microsoft)
> Launched in 5 countries and adding more. Future countries will be visible on the Github page.
> Currently using it in Australia, South America and buildings all over the world.

On update of Bing maps and issues with objects being added multiple times

  • How long does it take for the edits to get back to Bing maps? Have you had any issues with objects being added multiple times before it goes live? (CJ Malone, guest).

Nikola Todic (Microsoft)
> Currently 1-2 weeks to get back to Bing maps.
> Edits go to OSM right away.
> We don't have issues with duplicate edits so far - it's a small number of users.

On not sending users to the openstreetmap website

  • What were your reasons for not sending the user to OSM site to edit but on your site? (Tobias Knerr, board of Directors)

Harsh Govind (Microsoft)
> Quality: If you send users to there is no way of keeping quality in check. Users are not trained or attended any mapping event.
> User experience: We are careful about the experience the user gets - once you're on site you don't want to send the user to different places and confuse them. We have advisors on this and want to motivate users to stay on site.
> This is an experiment to see what works out.

This "proxy" editing workflow might work for organized editing if got matured. (just an impression) (Satoshi IIDA / 飯田 哲, Japan local chapter)

Presence in the Engineering Working Group

Harsh Govind (Microsoft)
> No. We will look at it.

Companies don't have representatives on OSMF Working Groups. (Amanda McCann, board of Directors)

On contributor terms and licence

Comments by Allan Mustard and Amanda McCann (board of Directors)

  • Need to make sure that users are aware of the contributor terms and that they are donating data under our licence.

Suggestion: You might want to talk with the OSMF Licensing Working Group (LWG).

Other suggestions

  • Make a video of the presentation for the wider OSM community (suggestion by Amanda McCann).
  • This could be a presentation for the international State of the Map conference or regional ones (suggestion by Allan Mustard).

OSMF Microgrants

Suggested by: Amanda McCann (OSMF Board)

  • Microgrants paused at the moment.
  • The board is focusing efforts in finance on different things at the moment.
  • Microgrants need to be incorporated into the regular budget in order to have a proper planning cycle and not be an extra-budgetary expenditure.

Please see the related October 29 board meeting minutes.

Ability of local chapters to block users?

Suggested by: Peter Vojtek (Freemap Slovakia - Local Chapter)

Do you find it a dangerous idea if local chapters would have the privilege to block users? (instead of proceeding via Data Working Group (DWG))

  • The Local Chapter in Slovakia is scanning OSM activity in the country, and if there is any malicious activity they begin interaction with the person under the changesets.
  • In a few cases, it is necessary to escalate the issue to the Data Working Group (DWG) and ask for a van. This sometimes slows the process, because it is necessary to explain the situation to the DWG in English, while the discussion with the user is in Slovak.

Suggestion: Have the privilege to ban users on a local level.

Comments by board members

  • A balance needs to be found between local knowledge of local communities and global norms.
  • Territoriality: There are examples of local communities getting very territorial and excluding outsiders. Mappers can be either local or remote. That's why it's important to keep the Data Working Group (DWG) in the loop.
  • Having a single group avoids situations where there might be disagreements between the two teams (local, DWG).

On applying to be a Data Working Group member

Have those involved in that work in Slovakia volunteered for the DWG? (Christoph Hormann, guest).

  • No one from Slovakia is a member in the DWG. It might solve this problem.

Allan Mustard (board of Directors) and Guillaume Rischard (board of Directors and DWG member):
> One can apply to become a member by sending an email to
> Criteria for determining the outcome of the application include:
> Reputation.
> People unbiased without a personal agenda.
> Familiarity with different tools.

Related: DWG membership policy.

The word "Street" in OpenStreetMap

Suggested by: Peter Vojtek (Freemap Slovakia - Local Chapter)

Do other local chapters find the word "Street" in OpenStreetMap meaningful?

In Slovakia, lot of our activity is related to non-urban mapping (hiking trails, outdoor cycling trails), and the word "street" is deterring a portion of our potential "customers".

Issue emerged while discussing renaming Freemap Slovakia to OSM Slovakia - disagreement by some members.

> The name is terrible and not descriptive.
> Stuck with the name due to name recognition and trademarks.
> Local Chapter (LC) can have different name. E.g. German local chapter (FOSSGIS)

Other comments

  • It would be a significant thing to change so would need a lot of consideration. Right now we probably have other priorities. (Rob Nickerson, UK local chapter)
  • OpenGeoDatabase is actually one of the domain names owned by Steve Coast before. (Eugene Alvin Villar, board of Directors).

New OSMF State of the Map safety policy

Suggested by Amanda McCann (OSMF Board)

This State of the Map safety policy was approved by the OpenStreetMap Foundation board on 2021-10-29.

On difficulty to get local teams coming forward to organise the international State of the Map conference

Comments by Rob Nickerson, UK local chapter:

  • Low quality applications to host the international State of the Map conference (SotM) in the past years and very few.
  • Problem even before the pandemic.
  • The UK group is considered to be one of the most active communities, and the fact that they're not willing to come forward to host SotM suggests a deeper problem.

Mikel Maron (board of Directors)
> For 2020 we had the successful application of South Africa, which we were excited about.
> For 2021 an in-person SotM did not make sense and it was online.
> Not surprising that there are a few applications, as it is a big undertaking.


  • Schedule smaller SotMs. (Amanda McCann, board of Directors)
  • OSMF to make a targeted survey on why we don't get volunteers on SotM hosting. (Rob Nickerson, UK local chapter)
  • Increase diversity: Finding a company that is willing to sponsor broadband costs for people to join meetings for organising SotM. (Rob Nickerson, UK local chapter)

Other points mentioned

  • There probably won't be an in-person SotM in 2022.
  • Wikimedia has hired staff that takes care of organising Wikimania. And they let the local team of volunteers take care of the program, but WikiMedia Foundation handles logistics and the hard stuff (Eugene Alvin Villar, board of Directors).

OSMF board election 2021 - Reminder for submission of community questions

Reminder by the Secretary that people can still submit questions to the OSMF board candidates for the 2021 election.

Next Advisory Board meeting

Secretary to start scheduling the next Advisory Board meeting after the Annual General Meeting.

Meeting adjourned ~ 52' after start.