Strategic Plan Process 2023

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Machine translations from English by DeepL

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 2023 Cycle of the Strategic Planning Process

The 2023 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.

For this 2023 Cycle, the Foundation has prepared a general letter of invitation to send to social media sites used by OSM participants, as well as directly to some of the other open mapping organisations.

OSMF Letter of Invitation to the Community

2023 Strategic Planning Cycle – Community Participation

The Board of the OpenStreetMap Foundation is revising its Strategic Plan, and invites all OSMF members and the OSM community to participate in this process.

The plan is quite large, so we want to discuss it with you in four phases over the next two months. In each phase we focus on a different aspect of strategic development for the OSMF.

The first phase will be “Cluster B: Community Development for OSM”. We are looking for your comments for only this section for the next two weeks.

If you click through the link to “Cluster B: Community Development for OSM” you will find all the strategems in that cluster listed there.

We would especially like your feedback on just four questions:

  • What is missing from the plan? Or put differently, what should we add to the plan?
  • Are there any inconsistencies in the plan? Does the plan seem to be well aligned with the OSMF Mission and the direction of the OSM movement? Where are any problems?
  • Which three strategems are most urgent? Which three must we do really quickly?
  • Which three strategems are very important? Which strategems are critical for OpenStreetMap to succeed and grow?

You may of course comment on anything else as well.

If there is debate on this topic on any of the hundreds of social media sites that host OSM-related discussions, you could help us greatly if a member of that site or channel please prepare a summary of the comments and post it (in English) to the team. We cannot follow all of the discussions on all social media ourselves but we do care to hear your voices.

We will mainly follow feedback in these two places:

You can send private comments to be read only by the strategy team at or you can write individually to Board members.

Due to our small team, we’d like comments to be in English. Machine translation from your language is fine. We have used and successfully but there are many others that work well.

Many Thanks

Craig Allan, Sarah Hoffmann, Allan Mustard

Language Policy

OSM is a global movement. Contributions should be in whatever language you are comfortable in.

Our working language is English so it would help our small team if you could also machine translate your contribution into English before sending or posting it. We find Google Translate and Deepl work well.

Protecting your Privacy

There are important privacy laws that control how and when can we collect lists of people's names. Your privacy is very important. If you want to write to us anonymously send your comment directly to a Board member and indicate that it should be anonymous.