Open Street Map as potential early project

We met someone connected with perspective on the needs of OSM when we were at LinuxFest NW. Some continuation there is happening (he contacted higher-ups and sent me an email that he was waiting to hear back).

I added the project and note about it at https://gitlab.com/snowdrift/projects/issues/65 (not public, and we should change how we even handle these potential-project tracking, but that’s where we had it for now).

OSM is built by volunteers mostly but has substantial overhead costs (servers etc), they might be ideal for us because they have a massive audience and scope and yet the impact of modest success is real.

The ongoing costs they have in servers aren’t to deliver rivalrous service as much as to just run the system to even allow all the contributors etc., so it’s legitimate to think of that as the fixed costs of maintaining a public-goods project.

I hope we can get to where we have a better process for all this. I’m posting this to prompt @Salt and @msiep and anyone else who wants to help (@alignwaivers and @smichel17 maybe?) to be aware and to possibly help move forward on dialogues with OSM as a possible early project (get their perspectives, concerns, etc. and build our stuff to fit their needs)…

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My first impression is that OSM is an entire project ecosystem, making it particularly hard to convey where donations are going to (as opposed to projects with only one main deliverable). Having them as an early project would probably mean additional effort in clearing that up.

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Nevertheless, if just the OSM U.S. chapter is happy to talk to us about the prospects, they could be a great entity for early dialogue. I think it’s quite possible to end up with a situation that is good all around and where the clarity about donations is worth the effort to set up well.

I’m not particularly familiar, but my understanding is that the OSM project itself is mostly/only about curating the actual map data. Visualizing that data, navigation, etc, are done by third parties (eg, OSMAnd). So although their audience is massive, few people besides contributors or developers would interact with them directly.

I don’t have any direct personal connections to them. In the past I’ve been active on the bug tracker of StreetComplete, an app for contributing to OSM without having to learn their tagging schema.