weeklyOSM 542


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Proposed features/vaccination 1 | © the-asca | map data © OpenStreetMap contributors |

Breaking news

  • The election of OSMF board members at the Annual General Meeting 2020 for the three seats in play this year led to the election of Tobias Knerr (re-elected for another term), Jean-Marc Liotier, and Eugene Alvin Villar (user seav). The resolution to make changes to the Articles of Association (which we reported earlier) and three others all succeeded.


  • [1] The German OSM Forum is discussing (de) > en how to map German COVID-19 vaccination centres, whose locations are currently being published in the local media. They are also asking if anyone wants to publish a map of these centres. A proposal can be voted on until 22 December. There is also a wiki page and a first map based on uMap. A much more detailed overpass turbo query can be found here.
  • Discussions about hazard tags continue on the tagging list, with particular attention to the best tag to use for the common ‘falling rocks’ road sign. Various different types of unstable landforms (landslides, rock falls, mudslides, frost heave) were noted, but Kevin Kenny pointed out that nearly always the actual immediate hazard which drivers may encounter is that of already fallen rocks.
  • Brexit will bring many changes to the United Kingdom, some of which impinge on mapping. Brian Prangle asked, on the UK mailing list, about how to tag Inland Border Facilities. Jerry Clough (SK53) tried to find vaguely equivalent examples from around the world, but concludes that they are often not tagged in detail.
  • Minh Nguyen is asking for help adding businesses in Silicon Valley. You can participate in the associated MapRoulette tasks, even if you do not live in the area.
  • The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is observed every year on 3 December, and OpenStreetMap marks this day by saying ‘Our aim is to be the best world map for accessibility’. The statement is backed with a list of helpful resources and hints related to OSM and accessibility.
  • Graeme Fitzpatrick is suggesting changing existing tags for coastguard bases to landuse=military with emergency=marine_rescue. Details of the proposal are on the wiki.


  • Alexandre Duclaux shared (fr) an updated overview of the OpenStreetMap project, which he conducted for Suez Smart Solutions in November, for French-speaking contributors who may wish to reuse all or part of its content.


  • Frederik Ramm, from the Data Working Group (user woodpeck), notified the Swedish community about an undiscussed import of a Lantmäteriet dataset. The import has been conducted in a covert manner, by using (presumably hacked) OpenStreetMap user accounts, many of whom do not live in or have never before mapped in Sweden.

OpenStreetMap Foundation

  • In the run-up to the elections for the OSMF Board of Directors, there were again some heated and overheated discussions on the Talk and OSMF-Talk mailing lists:
    • Michal Migurski’s (Facebook) invitation to virtual consultation hours led to a question about the relationship between him and Facebook. Michal repeated that Facebook adhered to ‘best practices’ in terms of attribution. Richard Fairhurst pointed out that this claim is not true, Martin Koppenhoefer highligted the conflict of interest, and Jochen Topf called out the re-framing of the issue. Christoph Hormann criticised Michal for evasive responses to the questions and asked other companies to take a stand with respect to Facebook’s treatment of the attribution requirements.
    • Mateusz Konieczny and Alexandre Oliviera examined Michal’s remarks point by point (1, 2).
    • Andy Mabett pointed out a huge contradiction in Michal’s statements. On the one hand, Michal claims to speak as an individual, while on the other hand he stands for election to represent the interests of large companies.
    • ndrw6 wrote that employees of companies like Facebook, which fulfil the attribution requirements evasively rather than proactively, should not be on the OSMF Board.
  • During discussions about Facebook’s strange ODbL interpretation (see above), Frederik Ramm drew a comparison of Michal Migurski’s handling of the licence with a notorious phrase about sexual assault used by Donald Trump in a 2005 interview, thus triggering a particularly heated discussion:
    • Clifford Snow criticised the tone of voice, while Stevea reminded the audience that inappropriate topics should not be hushed up. Mateusz Konieczny noted that the same thing could have been said without referring to either Trump or genitalia. Martin Koppenhoefer replied that clear and unambiguous language was appropriate for major grievances.
    • Rory McCann said that Frederik’s email could be seen as diminishing the seriousness of a type of crime which is already treated too lightly by many cultures and communities.
    • Responding to the controversy, Frederik wrote a second email trying to provide more context as to why he used the Trump quote and provided a more detailed comparison of Facebook and Trump.
  • In a welcome innovation Allan Mustard, chair of OSMF, made his annual report available in advance of the Annual General Meeting, which was held on Saturday 12 December.
  • Joost Schouppe analysed which countries are over- and under-represented in the membership of the OpenStreetMap Foundation. He calls for mappers from under-represented countries to be made aware of the Active Contributors Membership programme.

Local chapter news

  • FOSSGIS announced (de) > en a number of events for 2021. The main conference is scheduled to be held in Rapperswil, Switzerland in June, but some online events will occur in the interim, including FOSSGIS-Update (de) > en on 28 January 2021.
  • The OSM local community in the Democractic Republic of the Congo (OSM RDC) was welcomed as the first local chapter of the OSMF in Africa.

Humanitarian OSM

  • Map Kibera reported on their work supporting COVID-19 community initiatives in informal settlements of Kibera, Kenya, by providing a tracker map and supporting them remotely in the use of various tools for conferences and data collection.
  • HOT has launched a second round of funding from the Community Impact Microgrants, supported by Facebook. In this round, six grants of $5000 will be available, three in the East Africa region and three in the Asia region, for projects that focus on a community mapping project that responds to a local challenge. Applications will close on Sunday 31 January 2021.
  • HOT, with support from ESRI, is offering a microgrant opportunity at the 2020 Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Summit: the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Summit Grant 2020. One grant of $5000 will be available for an OSM community that attends at least one of the sessions at the summit. In addition to being provided support, mentoring, and training during the grant period, one team member will attend and present their project at the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Summit 2021 (date and location TBD).
  • Kontur wrote about how their Disaster Ninja tool is used in response planning by HOT. Russell Deffner (Response Coordinator) tells us how he uses this tool for humanitarian mapping projects, and how population data helps optimise disaster response mapping.
  • Tyler Radford, Executive Director of HOT, shared a message at the 2020 Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Summit with his thoughts on the future of the relationship between HOT and the wider humanitarian mapping community, focusing on de-emphasising HOT as an organisation, putting greater emphasis on the wider community, and amplifying community voices.


  • OSM mapper empers has created an anonymous survey to study differences between first time mappers and long time mappers. You can take the survey here.


  • Hauke Stieler has created the simple Android app GeoNotes to easily and quickly create and manage georeferenced notes on a map while collecting data outside.
  • OpenTripPlanner (OTP), a long-standing open-source software package for multi-modal routing, reached a significant milestone with the release of version 2.0. OTP was originally developed collaboratively to meet the needs of TriMet, the public transit authority for Greater Portland, Oregon. It makes use of a range of open data: notably OSM and GTFS (General Transit Feed Specification). OTP has been widely used for over 10 years in many parts of the world.Entur, a state-owned Norwegian company dedicated to providing digital infrastructure for the public transport sector, has developed the new version over 2 years. The codebase has been entirely refactored using a more modular design to improve maintainability. Functionality and performance have also been improved, notably the routing algorithm has been replaced, and additional transit feeds (SIRI, NaTEX) are now handled.


  • Jochen Topf provided some background on recent work on osm2pgsql (used to import OSM data into a PostgreSQL/PostGIS database), in particular the work paid for by OSMF.
  • The SimpleTaskManager by Hauke Stieler is now also available in German, Japanese (thanks to miurahr), and partly Chinese. In the latest update it also received a new user interface for project creation.

Did you know …

  • … about the the OSM Purity Self-Test? Answer the questions, sum up your points and divide by the number of questions to get an average score. Add your score to the list below. It is in average-score decreasing order. If your average score is above 2, you might need therapy for your OSM addiction.
  • show me the way?

Other “geo” things

  • Google Design blogged about their minimalist approach to colour on Google Maps.
  • The deadline for submitting CoRe papers for the virtual 18th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (ISCRAM 2021) has been extended to 21 December.
  • Just like Mapillary, Google now allows user generated Street View photos, taken with a mobile app, to be added in areas where it has low coverage. While users have been able to submit Street View imagery in the past, it required a special 360-degree camera. This new feature just makes use of an Android phone camera.
  • Komoot, a German-based portal and app for outdoor activities which uses OSM, has had a change in its share ownership (de) > en. The state of Brandenburg’s innovation fund (BFB Frühphasenfonds Brandenburg) originally supported the firm with a, reportedly, 1 million Euro investment for 15% of the share capital. This investment has now been realised, and has been sold, with both René Banko (of Karstadt Kaufhof) and Berlin-based June Fund expressing interest. The latter was successful.
  • The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory used machine learning approaches to estimate traffic density across the entire road network of a metropolis (Los Angeles) from the road network and sparse data on actual traffic density and journey times. Sounds like a very useful approach in association with OSM, but you need a heavy duty supercomputer.

Upcoming Events

Berlin150. Berlin-Brandenburg Stammtisch (Online)2020-12-11germany
BerlinOSM-Verkehrswende #18 (Online)2020-12-15germany
Cologne Bonn Airport134. Bonner OSM-Stammtisch (Online)2020-12-15germany
NottinghamNottingham pub meetup2020-12-15united kingdom
LyonRencontre mensuelle (virtuelle)2020-12-15france

Note: If you like to see your event here, please put it into the calendar. Only data which is there, will appear in weeklyOSM. Please check your event in our public calendar preview and correct it, where appropriate.

This weeklyOSM was produced by AnisKoutsi, Climate_Ben, MatthiasMatthias, Nordpfeil, NunoMASAzevedo, PierZen, Polyglot, RicoElectrico, rogehm, SK53, TheSwavu, derFred, hauke-stieler.

9 Replies to “weeklyOSM 542”

  1. Small correction: In context of the Facebook attribution discussion on talk i did not ask “other companies to take a stand”, i suggested *employees of companies* in the OSM context to take a stand independent of the position and the interests of their employer.

  2. How could weeklyOSM not report on the biggest stories of the week, if not in years, the circulation of “A Call to Take Action and Confront Systemic Offensive Behaviour in the OSM Community.” The document has been signed by 36 organizations and over than 250 individuals. The document was circulated well before the election results which you published.

    By not including the a report on the call to action weeklyOSM is making a statement, that the opinions of people who want a respectful community are not worth writing about.

    I urge the editors of weeklyOSM to create there own ethical standards. I believe it’s the duty of the weeklyOSM editors is to seek truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues.

    1. Could you please include politeness into your ethical standards and submit news that you want to have in WeeklyOSM like we do?

  3. Never heard of “A Call to Take Action and Confront Systemic Offensive Behaviour in the OSM Community.“ This news writers do this job in their free time and don’t make political statements, they maybe also didn’t hear about it.
    Maybe you should contribute by yourself to the osm news. It’s easy possible.

  4. Unfortunately, we were not able to report on it by the deadline of Weekly #542 on December 7. Of course we follow every important news in the OSM world. We ask for your indulgence if a matter falls victim to the editorial deadline and thus does not appear until a week later.

    The Weekly Editorial Team

  5. It might just be the result of the WeeklyOSM editorial process: so as to provide sufficient time for translations, the submissions for the Sunday edition are automatically closed each Monday at 24:00 UTC, which means that a discussion occurring later during the week cannot be a story the following weekend.

  6. The statement Clifford mentions and the discussion of it and Heather Leson’s oil-on-stormy-water comments on the list and at the AGM surely merit a full write-up?

    They haven’t got even a passing mention: not a single woman is mentioned here.

    I was wondering how big this issue is, but here’s some pretty clear evidence that it’s a problem.