Local Chapters/Congress 201708

From OpenStreetMap Foundation

OSMF Local Chapter Congress during State of the Map 2017, Japan

Date: Sunday 20 August, 2017
Location: Aizu-Wakamatsu City Culture Center, Japan

Description in SotM program
So much of OpenStreetMap happens in Local Chapters. There’s an incredible diversity of cultures and geography represented in our local groups, yet we have so much in common. There is much to learn about organizing and closely supporting mapping communities, outside of the usual skills of making maps and working with tech. Let’s gather leaders in Local Chapters to figure out what kinds of organizational efforts we can share together.


  • Board members: Martijn (Lead), Frederik, Ilya and Paul
  • Total: ~35 mappers, two of which were also at last year's congress
  • Participants' countries (umap): Italy (Local Chapter), Switzerland (Local Chapter), UK (Local Chapter), France (Local Chapter), Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Niger, Senegal, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Canada, US, Russia, Germany, Albania, Greece.
  • Some participants were from Stroly (SotM sponsor), Georepublic (SotM Sponsor), MapAction, World Bank


Expressed wish to become a Local Chapter

  • Germany (will apply soon)
  • Niger
  • Albania (currently building community)

Expressed wish or tried to become a legal organisation

  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Taiwan (tried to - couldn't sustain it)
  • Bangladesh (difficult to get a licence as an NGO)
  • Russia (expensive to maintain)

Challenges faced by local groups

  • Becoming a legal entity (long process, cost of registration and maintenance, trademark transfer)
  • Growing the community
  • Having mapping communities with different languages in the same country
  • Contacting other OSM communities on an organisational level
  • Dispersed mapping communities
  • What works in one community might not work in others (e.g. Swiss welcome message)
  • Working in a terse environment and being associated through OSM with political activists

Goals stated

  • Becoming a Local Chapter
  • Getting better data and improving the map
  • Introducing OSM in geography curriculum
  • Promoting the idea of crowd-sourced mapping
  • Improving the toolset and skills of the people to use GIS
  • Get the government and companies to use open data
  • Hosting the State of the Map conference

Various suggestions during discussion

OSMF related

  • Potential semi-formal recognition of local groups prior to becoming a Local Chapter
  • OSMF to support Local Chapters in order to improve local (country) services
  • Foundation acting as a point of contact between local groups that face/have faced similar problems


  • Maybe set-up a donation pipeline as a requirement to become a Local Chapter.

Local group related

  • Translation of the Italian short introductory OSM video
  • Having a country-wide OSM conference together with another big open-source country conference helps


  • Documentation on wiki of solved problems that local communities face
  • Make local groups findable and list them

Other news

Taiwan civic hack conference in September

Questions & Answers

Why does the Foundation want us to join? In need of money?

Money is not an issue, the Foundation does not get money from the Local Chapters.

What is the advantage of becoming a Local Chapter?

  • Use name
  • Represent the Foundation in interactions with governments, companies
  • Feedback channel with Advisory Board

Comment: "Why join the Foundation?" might be the wrong question to ask and might be better to change to "How can I support the Foundation?"

Next step

If you are interested please join the Local Chapters mailing list to continue discussion.