Local Chapters and Communities Working Group/Meeting minutes/2020-02-17

From OpenStreetMap Foundation

News and updates

The following is a summary by Eugene of news and updates from the period between the January and February meetings that involve the LCCWG and are not otherwise included in ongoing tasks and action items of the WG. The views expressed are not official positions of the LCCWG and are provided here as input (and pre-read material) for the February meeting.

Supporting local communities to become Local Chapters

Allan Mustard (OSMF Chair) had a call with the OSM India community regarding becoming a Local Chapter and got feedback that the process is time-consuming, expensive, and needs a lot of paperwork. Allan then sent a message to the osmf-talk mailing list and the LCCWG wondering if the OSMF can help defray expenses for these Local Chapters-to-be and asked if the LCCWG can look into this and come up with a proposal.

Several OSMF and LCCWG members replied with various comments and suggestions with the general sentiment that it should be okay for the OSMF to help with expenses but only for those groups that are already “established”. In other words, the OSMF should not try to force the creation Local Chapters if the community does not exist or if they are not yet ready. Alternatively, a another suggestion was that the OSMF should come up with a lightweight model of affiliation.

Involvement of LCCWG in Local Chapter application process

Back when the LCCWG was submitted for recognition to the Board, Heather Leson, then Board Director, asked if the WG is open to mentoring Local Chapters-to-be. The LCCWG's official position was:

“[The LCCWG] currently cannot do mentoring due to a lack of resources but could probably do it in the future once the WG has lots of experience. In the meantime, groups that are applying can certainly ask questions and seek advice on the local-chapters@openstreetmap.org mailing list or the OSM-community-building Telegram/Riot/IRC channel.”

Recently, during the call for feedback on the application of OSM Czech Republic as a Local Chapter, Simon Poole asked if the LCCWG was involved in the application process, while Allan Mustard thinks that the LCCWG should be engaged in the process.

FOSS Policy

Tobias Knerr (a Board director) contacted the LCCWG last February 6 to ask whether having an “explicit commitment that essential communications would at least *also* be accessible through an open, preferably self-hosted, platform” impact the WG's activities. (See also the Foundation's existing FOSS Policy.)

A few WG members replied to Tobias essentially saying that there will be no impact to general communications, but using proprietary channels to contact individual Local Chapters and communities themselves is still needed. In addition, the WG already uses open channels and platforms for all of its essential internal communications.

Meeting started at 17:02 UTC.



  • Ben - BE
  • Clifford - US
  • Eugene - PH
  • Maggie - US
  • Rob - UK

Not present

  • Joost - BE (with apologies)
  • Patrick - CH
  • Stefano - IT


Approval of the 2020-01-20 meeting minutes

Local Chapters and Communities Working Group/Meeting minutes/2020-01-20

  • Unanimously approved after some feedback from Rob and Maggie regarding a couple of items on the minutes.

WG aims

Based on the previous meeting minutes, Rob raised some matters relating to how the WG's tasks fall under the current aims of the WG. For example, Rob said that he expected Microcosm to be in the second aim instead of the first. He sees the following broad tasks that the WG should pursue:

  1. Directly helping new groups establish themselves;
  2. Directly helping existing groups to get bigger;
  3. Creating/fostering an environment where new and existing groups can help each other (without relying on LCCWG as an intermediary);
  4. Reviewing/improving the Local Chapters affiliation scheme.

After some more discussion, the WG agreed to continue with the current 3 aims and revisit this in the future after some ongoing tasks have been completed (such as the survey) which would further inform the WG's work and objectives.

Previous action items

Items in bold and highlighted are updates in status or new action items.
Assigned Item Status Source
Eugene Send an email to the osmf-talk list about the re-launch of the WG and solicit members who want to join the WG Done, see mailing list post (2020-02-02) 2019-09 meeting
Eugene Publish WG ToR to the local-chapters list Done by updating the LCCWG page on the OSMF website to reflect the current status of the WG, incorporate the approved Terms of Reference into the page, and do other updates and improvements (2020-01-31) SotM 2019 LCC
All Create a page at the OSM Wiki to provide a curated list of these projects/tools and to promote this as widely as possible Ongoing: “OSMCAL”, “Welcome Mat” and “Building inclusive spaces” sections have been added 2019-10, 2019-11 meetings
Clifford Run a survey with existing chapters and chapters-to-be to get their views why they applied/will apply to become a chapter Draft survey created
(see agenda item 2.3.1 below for succeeding discussion)
2019-11 meeting
Joost Update the OSMF Website to reflect the current status of the LCCWG Done (2020-01-20) 2020-01 meeting
Maggie, Rob Steer WG discussion in preparation for the Local Chapters Congress session at SotM 2020 Ongoing 2020-01 meeting
Joost Create a GitLab repository for the LCCWG Done (2020-01-21)
(see agenda item 3.3 below for further discussion)
2020-01 meeting
None Do a comparison of features of various OSM websites Informally started by Joost 2020-01 meeting

Focus items

Per the Terms of Reference, WG members should work on the focus items.

Building local community cohesion

We will explore and develop ideas for the Foundation support the growth of Local Chapters and local communities, including helping mappers communicate or meet up with other local mappers, and working to reduce the challenges created by the fragmented nature of OSM.


What can the LCCWG do to further support this initiative and have it move forward?

  • Action item: Maggie and Clifford to take the initiative to find ways or resources to push this feature forward.

Building local communities OSM Wiki page

Previous action item:

  • Add Welcome Mat - Now done
  • Add welcoming tools
  • Add a section about “building inclusive spaces” - Now done

The WG agreed to leave this item on the back burner for now and focus on other items.

Facilitating a global exchange of ideas

We will aim to provide Local Chapters and local communities with venues and communication channels to exchange ideas and share best practices in growing their communities. This may include reviving/managing the local-chapters mailing list and organizing sessions like the Local Chapters Congress during State of the Map or other events.

Local Chapters Congress at SotM 2020

  • Action item: Eugene will ask Board on behalf of the WG for funding for 2 WG members to attend SotM 2020.
  • Maggie again suggested submitting a lightning talk that will introduce the WG and encourage people to join.
  • Action item: WG to brainstorm content for the LCC over the coming months.

Comparison of OSM websites

In the January meeting, the WG agreed to run a comparison of the features of various OSM websites run by various Local Chapters and communities. The idea is that this can provide information on improving the OSM website, but more importantly for the WG's work, the comparison can be used as a source for Local Chapters and local communities for when they create or improve their own websites.

  • Who wants to lead this task?
  • The expected timeline/due dates, expected output, and next steps for doing this comparison were not discussed.

Improving the Local Chapters affiliation scheme

We will review the role of Local Chapters within the Foundation and the interactions between them. Based on our findings we will make recommendations to the Board as to how the affiliation scheme can be improved to provide a stronger case for local communities to eventually become Local Chapters, or possibly suggest creating new affiliation models such as less-formal user groups.

Local Chapters survey

Clifford has created the draft survey, has solicited feedback from the LCCWG members, and has updated the survey based on the initial feedback.

  • Do we need to have the survey translated?
    • The WG agreed not to proactively translate the survey but could request the community to do volunteer translations.
  • Which Local Chapters, chapters-to-be, and communities should we target with this survey?
    • The WG agreed that existing and applying Local Chapters would be targeted as well as many local communities as possible.
  • What is the expected timeline for running the survey?
    • The WG agreed to send out the survey on March 1st then leave open for 2 months (until the end of April).
  • The expected output and next steps after doing this durvey were not discussed.

User group affiliation scheme

Based on previous discussion, there doesn't seem to be any real opposition to the Foundation having a lighter affiliation scheme such as recognizing user groups. Should we push forward with a proposal to have the Foundation also recognize informal (non-government-registered) groups and communities? If yes, what is the expected relationship between the Foundation and such user groups (we need a framework similar to the Local Chapter template agreement).

  • The WG agreed to put this in the back burner for now.
  • Action item: Eugene will formulate a question to be added to the survey regarding the user group option.

Involvement of LCCWG in the Local Chapter application process

Please refer to the “Involvement of LCCWG in Local Chapter application process” news and updates item above for background.

Should the LCCWG be involved in the Local Chapter application process? This means we would change our current position (Nov 2019) on supporting the establishment of new Local Chapters? If yes, what should the involvement be? Rob proposed a new position: As long as the local community can put in the work to find answers themselves, the LCCWG will help with basic review and make recommendations to the Board if financial support is needed.

  • The WG agreed to have passive involvement for now so that we get familiar with the application process with the view to eventually becoming more involved in the future.
  • Action item: The WG agreed to work with OSM India as a trial in supporting local groups way before they apply to become a local chapter, ask Allan for copy of his notes, and also ask OSM India to also fill out the survey.

Other items

Call for Microgrants Committee volunteers

Joost has put out the call for volunteers to join the OSMF Microgrants Committee. What can the LCCWG do to support the Microgrants program since this will likely involve Local Chapters and communities?

  • Clifford stated that groups asking for help in growing their communities via the microgrants program can approach the WG.

FOSS Policy

Please refer to the “FOSS Policy” news and updates item above for background.

Is the WG happy with the responses to Tobias so far? Is there any need to respond further?

  • The WG agreed that there is no need to respond further. We have already generally expressed our views.

GitLab repository

Now that the WG has a GitLab repository, should we close the old GitHub repository?

  • Action item: Eugene to request Joost to archive the GitHub repository and also add a link there pointing to the new GitLab repository.
  • The WG agreed to use the repo issue tracker to track the WG's action items.
    • Action item: Eugene to create issues for our action items. WG members will send to Eugene their GitLab user names.

Next meeting

Next meeting will on March 16 (third Monday), 17:00 UTC.

  • Clifford already put a notice that he cannot attend this meeting.

Meeting ended at 18:36 UTC.