Data Working Group/DWG Membership Policy

From OpenStreetMap Foundation

This policy has been finalized by the Data Working Group in June 2019 and explains who can become a DWG member and how.

DWG Membership

The DWG is regularly adding new members. Historically we've had about 2-3 new people join every year, but we also have people leaving. DWG is actively looking for suitable people in the community and will ask them if they are interested in joining. However, you can also contact us directly if you are interested in joining.

We might not always be in a position to take on new people because we're still onboarding previous newcomers, so don't be discouraged if we ask you to stand by.

Requirements and Expectations

We are looking for people who have a solid history of editing, repairing damage, writing changeset comments, solving problems with others, and constructive interaction with the OSM community. This will typically be obvious from their public footprint on OSM (mailing lists, forums, diaries, edit history, changeset comments). However, these are not hard criteria; enthusiasm and dedication can make up for the lack of any of these.

You should be able to invest about 10 hours per month for DWG work. We don't expect you to count the hours or report to anyone, but experience has shown that this is a realistic level of engagement; if you consistently spend less time than that you will not be able to follow the day-to-day work and it will become difficult for you to make a positive contribution to decision-making.

We don't currently have meetings but when we do they are usually on IRC and can often take 2-3 hours.

If we have two candidates who are otherwise equal, we will prefer the candidate from a region or speaking a language not yet represented in DWG.

Ideally, new members will be able to make a contribution across the breadth of DWG activity, with a solid participation in everyday business (which is done mainly through an issue tracking system and comprises investigating OSM edits, many email exchanges with people who are upset about one thing or another, and ultimately, the blocking of users or the reverting of edits) as well as doing their share when it comes to developing complex decisions and policies. We are less interested in specialists who will work "only for country X", "only for topic Y", or "only for writing policies".

DWG members are generally expected to use their real name when communicating with third parties in their DWG role, but exceptions are possible.

You can only ever join DWG as a private individual, not as a representative of a business or other organisation. If you are working for a business or other organisation - whether they contribute data to OSM, or just use OSM, or maybe don't care for OSM - then you are still welcome, but your DWG work must be completely separate from your employment. You must not receive payment or other remuneration specifically for your DWG work. Your DWG work must not be in any way influenced by your colleagues or superiors at work or be subject to an employment contract. Our Conflict of Interest Policy lays this out in more detail.

While you cannot join DWG as a representative of a business or other organisation, DWG is interested in good relations with companies and organisations that do lots of editing, and we're happy to have a chat and note down your contact details in case there should ever be issues with the work done by your organisation.


If you apply, one existing DWG member will handle your application and might ask you some questions about your experience if this is not already obvious. This DWG member will then either recommend to accept or decline your application, and the other DWG members will discuss if necessary. Most cases are decided unanimously but it is also possible for the DWG to have a vote. If your application is declined, we will tell you why, and will often recommend that you apply again at a later time, or that you join a different working group we consider more suitable.

Leaving the DWG

You can leave the DWG at any time (ideally after successfully closing your open tickets).

Someone who has not participated in three successive IRC meetings or not handled any tickets for six months automatically ceases to be a member of DWG, but may reapply at any time.