Strategic Plan Process 2023

From OpenStreetMap Foundation


Home page for OSMF Strategic Planning

OSMF Strategic Planning Process - 2023 Planning Cycle

About the OpenStreetMap Foundation

The OpenStreetMap Foundation (OSMF) is an international not-for-profit organization supporting, but not controlling, the OpenStreetMap Project. It is dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free geospatial data and to providing geospatial data for anyone to use and share. You can read more on the about OSMF page.

Demand for the free OpenStreetMap data now increases by up to 30 percent per year. Growth is straining the project’s volunteer workforce and its computer systems. OpenStreetMap needs a strategy to help it manage and make the most of its volunteer resources and cope with a growth rate it did not expect.

OSMF, OSM and Strategy

The OpenStreetMap Foundation (OSMF) is responsible for ensuring that the OSM project has what is necessary to manage the growth in demand for its data and still thrive well into the future. The OSMF will also work on gathering local knowledge; on empowering volunteer mappers; on providing OSM mappers with the tools they need; on supporting volunteer working groups; on supporting Local Chapters and on collaborating across borders and across cultures.

Volunteers can only give limited time to OSM, so we need to use that time very efficiently and productively. By planning our work strategically, breaking tasks into small manageable projects, we empower our volunteers to contribute more and we keep OSM as a vibrant, fun movement. Volunteer contributors that make OSM the success story that it is today.

OSMF wants OSM to stay a free project, independent from influential donors. OSM is driven by volunteers and will not become another huge opaque and inaccessible NGO, with a large paid staff. Today, OSMF, which supports millions of OSM contributors and supports a growing demand for OSM data has just one paid staff member and three contractors who provide their services. Everything else is voluntary work. Our strategies will support developing volunteer resources and OSM will not be putting any emphasis on growth for growth's sake or on making any profit.

About the Strategic Planning Process

The Strategic Planning process is a way for the OpenStreetMap foundation to hear from the OSM community about what is needed by OSM contributors around the world and to then build all those contributions into a big organisational work programme.

It all starts with a request for contributions from all OSM mappers. The request for contributions is very open-ended. Send us anything that concerns you - obviously keep it limited to OSM matters. There are no limits on word count, format or language.

Contributions will all be collected and grouped together into common topics. There is also a sorting process in which very big or very broad requests are unbundled into smaller tasks, any overlaps between tasks are eliminated and a few puzzling suggestions that are unrelated to the work of OSM are set aside.

The curated contributions are then reworked and turned into prioritised tasks or projects that have budget suggestions, timespan suggestions and clear work descriptions. These tasks can then be implemented, though they are often forced to wait in line for available human and financial resources.

Your role in this planning process

We welcome all comments and suggestions from everybody connected to the OpenStreetMap community. Your role is to tell us what to you need to map better, to map more and to map happier.

You could also look at the current Strategic Plan Outline 2023 which you will find here:

In the Strategic Plan Outline 2023 find your area of interest or concern and check if we have covered your concern or if there is a gap. Then write to us to tell us that you love what we have in the plan, or that there is something missing that you'd like to see OSMF doing to improve conditions in some part of the world of OSM.

Language Policy

OSM is a global movement. Contributions should be in whatever language you are comfortable in. We will work to translate your contributions into English. If you know that your home language is not widely spoken outside your home region perhaps you could help us by contributing in any 2nd language that has a large number of speakers.

Where to send Contributions


You can send your comments to many possible places:

  • email Subject must include the word "Plan2023"
  • WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram or SMS to +27000000000. A dedicated phone line.
  • Apple proprietary formats - not my expertise. Need a dedicated phone line
  • OSM Community Pages
  • Mastodon - special user account "OSMFplan2023"
  • OSMF Members mailing list. Subject must include the word "Plan2023"
  • OSM mailing list. Subject must include the word "Plan2023"
  • OSM IRC channel (Can we create an "OSM Plan 2023" channel?)
  • Twitter - special user account "Plan2023"
  • OSM User account internal mail - Need a dedicated account. "Plan2023"

Protecting your Privacy

There are important privacy laws that control how and when can we collect lists of people's names. Your permission is very important. If you write to us with comments and suggestions please do clearly give us your permission to use your name or your OSM login name or tell us that you want to be anonymous. If you give us permission, then we will include your name with the comment you provide. If you say nothing, the comment will always be treated as anonymous.

Here are examples of privacy instructions you can give to us. You can choose to protect or to not protect your own privacy.

Privacy instructions:

  • You may use my full name in public documents
  • You may use only my first name in public documents
  • I wish to be anonymous in public documents
  • You may use my OSM login name in public documents