Working Group Minutes/SWG 2010-11-04

Minutes (DRAFT)

Inaugural formal meeting of the Strategic Working Group was held on IRC #osm-strategic on, 04 November 2010 at 5pm Nairobi time 1400GMT Meeting duration was capped at one hour.


  • mkl: Mikel Maron


  • rweait: Richard Weait
  • toffeehoff: Henk Hoff
  • MelaskiaGhost: Emilie Laffray
  • apmon_: Kai Krueger
  • wonderchook: Kate Chapman
  • twain47: Brian Quinion
  • Firefishy: Grant Slater
  • TomH: Tom Hughes
  • JonathanB: Johnathan Bennett
  • RichardF: Richard Fairhurst
  • chrisfl: Chris Fleming


  1. Policy around additional tile layers for the main page.
    • What are things we can all agree on?
    • What things need more input (form community or board or ? )?
    • What do we deliver from this process to the board?
    • How will we tackle the work? Who does what?


Grant provided reference to the existing new tile layer guidelines from the Technical Working Group. The relevant extract from the TWG minutes follow:

  • Clear purpose: The layer must provide more or significant information that other layers don’t.
  • Global coverage: The layer must work and be consistent world-wide.
  • Able to take the load: The server that the layer is served from must be able to keep up with the number of requests.
  • Non-commercial? There was a discussion about this. Can’t just add everything from 3rd party providers. Maybe limit to 1 layer per provider?

Draft guidelines for further discussion at next meeting

  1. Policy around additional tile layers for the main page.
    • What are things we can all agree on?
      • Acceptance of additional layers for the main page is not automatic
      1. Acceptance, if any, would be based on the following hard criteria.
        Internally supported
        The service provider / author must be in favor of having their tiles on
      2. Acceptance, if any, would be based on the following soft, and perhaps arbitrary criteria.
        Proposed tile layer should offer something unique in approach or execution.
        Global scope and coverage
        Proposed tile layer should cover the globe.
        This hugely arbitrary criteria includes pleasing aesthetics, social significance and benefit, humour, timeliness, newsworthiness, appeal to the community and many other arbitrary value judgments.
        Capable of meeting traffic demands
        Proposed tile layer service should be capable of accepting traffic volume from OSM.
        Reliable service
        Proposed tile layer service should be reliable.
        Non-commercial services preferred.
        Free and Open
        Free and Open style and stacks preferred.
        Up to date data
        Services maintaining minutely updates preferred.
    • What things need more input (from community or board or ? )?
      To Be Discussed
    • What do we deliver from this process to the board?
      To Be Discussed
    • How will we tackle the work? Who does what?
      To Be Discussed

Next meeting set for same IRC and UTC time on 11 November 2010

IRC log

(09:59:41 AM) rweait: HI all.  I've started logging this so we can distill notes for "minutes" or something .
(10:00:11 AM) mkl: thanks Richard
(10:00:33 AM) mkl: I was going to ask if someone would volunteer to be notetaker
(10:01:08 AM) mkl: Richard? :)
(10:01:16 AM) rweait: I'll summarize for the OSMF blog too if there are no objections. 
(10:01:30 AM) mkl: Before we start, can we get a quick checkin from everyone in the room?
(10:01:41 AM) mkl: rweait, that would be great
(10:01:58 AM) mkl: I'll start ... Mikel here
(10:02:04 AM) toffehoff: Henk here
(10:02:16 AM) rweait: Richard Weait here
(10:03:05 AM) MelaskiaGhost: Emilie Laffray (but AFK)
(10:03:14 AM) mkl: ping: apmon_ christfl  TomH twain47 wonderchook
(10:03:29 AM) apmon_: Kai here
(10:03:38 AM) wonderchook: Kate Chapman here
(10:03:39 AM) twain47: Brian here
(10:04:02 AM) Firefishy [] entered the room.
(10:04:08 AM) mkl: Brian who? :)
(10:04:26 AM) twain47: Quinion
(10:04:31 AM) mkl: ok welcome
(10:04:34 AM) rweait: "Brian of awesome nominatim fame."
(10:04:59 AM) mkl: cool. Firefishy is Grant, and TomH is TomH :)
(10:05:04 AM) mkl: ok, let's start
(10:05:21 AM) mkl: So welcome. Let me lay out how I see this meeting can go.
(10:06:14 AM) mkl: The first meeting of any official sense for Strategic. So in a sense, how we approach the issue before us on tiles can shape how we work in the future (and there are already issues on the backburner).
(10:06:29 AM) mkl: So in no particular order, for discussion...
(10:06:49 AM) mkl: What are the issues we need to consider around a policy for tile sets on the site?
(10:06:58 AM) mkl: What are the things we can all agree on?
(10:07:11 AM) mkl: What things need more input (from the community, from the Board, etc)?
(10:07:24 AM) mkl: What do we deliver out of this process back to the Board?
(10:07:50 AM) mkl: Finally, how will we tackle the work ... ie who does what?
(10:08:02 AM) mkl: Make sense?
(10:08:13 AM) rweait: So, "just tiles" today?  
(10:08:43 AM) toffehoff: ... and how we go on from now on.
(10:08:52 AM) Firefishy: rweait:
(10:09:07 AM) mkl: I'm suggesting that we exhaust tiles a bit before going on to the other issues, which are thornier...
(10:09:26 AM) mkl: toffehoff ... yes, do we decide to do weekly 1 hr chats like this?
(10:10:00 AM) Firefishy: rweait: "Policy on inclusion of alternative tile layers on the main page" is listed on second page.
(10:10:50 AM) mkl: Firefishy: I'll paste this in
(10:10:54 AM) rweait: Firefishy brings up existing policy on tiles.  As quick summary: from Technical Working Group minutes:  
(10:11:08 AM) mkl:   Clear purpose: The layer must provide more or significant information that other
(10:11:08 AM) mkl:     layers don’t.
(10:11:08 AM) mkl:   Global coverage: The layer must work and be consistent world-wide.
(10:11:08 AM) mkl:   Able to take the load: The server that the layer is served from must be able to
(10:11:08 AM) mkl:     keep up with the number of requests.
(10:11:09 AM) mkl:   Non-commercial? There was a discussion about this. Can’t just add
(10:11:09 AM) mkl:     everything from 3rd party providers. Maybe limit to 1 layer per provider?
(10:11:35 AM) chrisfl left the room (quit: Remote host closed the connection).
(10:11:49 AM) rweait: I would add: "If there is to be a policy on adding tile layers, a policy on removing them is important too. "
(10:12:45 AM) mkl: We should also consider presentation. This would be a good opportunity to redesign the layers tab to be more comprehensible.
(10:13:21 AM) rweait: mkl, your email suggested there was a "Clear and Present Offer" :-) of some sort.  Is it too early to discuss those details to frame the general discussion?
(10:13:42 AM) chrisfl [] entered the room.
(10:13:58 AM) mkl: sorry rweait, not sure what you're talking about
(10:15:01 AM) mkl: no offers that I'm aware of. really the request was about MapQuest tiles
(10:15:28 AM) mkl: which brings up the question of non-commercial and commercial tiles
(10:15:34 AM) rweait: mkl's email "Here's the email that touched off the issue of tile layers...."  re MQ tiles. 
(10:16:16 AM) mkl: Yea, was a suggestion from the community. They also contacted MQ (via Hurricane) who said it was fine with them.
(10:16:48 AM) apmon_: The email was by me
(10:17:18 AM) mkl: My opinion, there's lots of uses of OSM data, tiles show this off well. Some of the uses are commercial, so they should be highlighted as well.
(10:17:36 AM) chrisfl: Sorry I'm late... network problems....
(10:17:54 AM) rweait: Welcome  chrisfl
(10:17:56 AM) mkl: I think the first criteria from TWG is good for judging this ... is there a Clear purpose to this new tile set
(10:18:06 AM) mkl: apmon_: got it now!
(10:18:37 AM) apmon_: My motivation was: I'd like to see more diversity shown for osm. Tiles is the easiest way. So far there haven't been any providers that meet the technical requirements. MQ is afaik the first one. Hence I asked
(10:19:07 AM) twain47: I think the main reason for the community interest in MQ tiles was the country specific rendering
(10:19:11 AM) mkl: But when considering CloudMade, with hundreds (thousands?) or tilesets, we would judge that 1 or 2 would demonstrate what the MapStyler does
(10:19:20 AM) apmon_: well, CM was another provider, but CM already has some
(10:19:50 AM) chrisfl: We need to come up with a good set of criteria, both Technical (relativity easy) and a soft set - we want to be able to add title layers but don't want to be overrun.
(10:20:15 AM) rweait: Would there be a limit on the number of layers we would "promote" as being available on tile switcher?
(10:20:29 AM) mkl: twain47: that brings up an interesting issue of tile localisation too ... if say Wikipedia's localized tile set was ready to handle the load (it's not as far as i know) we could offer tiles in your language
(10:20:44 AM) mkl: Perhaps promotion could follow the Featured model
(10:20:59 AM) Firefishy: chrisfl: you missed this from sysadmin/tech-group. See page 2 'Policy on inclusion of alternative tile layers on the main page'
(10:21:00 AM) mkl: Put a cap on the total number there, but have some kind of rotation
(10:21:12 AM) twain47: rweait: and then just pick the 'x' best/most interesting available tile sets for the front page?
(10:21:46 AM) rweait: Featured Layer of the Month?  I like it, but worry that somebody might link to feature (January) and get Feature (Jun) as a nasty surprise. 
(10:21:49 AM) mkl: These choices could also be editable by the user, if we wanted to get really involved
(10:22:10 AM) mkl: rweait: I don't follow
(10:22:27 AM) twain47: that just moved the problem back - then you are picking the default sets
(10:23:11 AM) JonathanB [] entered the room.
(10:23:11 AM) rweait: If we are rotating them.  the layer link will either change each month (thus going stale each month for 404s) or stay the same (and next month you get a different result layer from the same layer code)
(10:23:18 AM) mkl: no, just in case there was interest in that. of course, defaults are still the issue
(10:24:00 AM) rweait: Featured Layer of the Month doesn't have to be on the layer switcher.  It could link to the native server. 
(10:24:30 AM) mkl: yea, I don't think we're talking about hosting them through
(10:24:43 AM) mkl: but rather linking to tile sets through the OpenLayers layer switcher
(10:25:11 AM) twain47: can I suggest Featured Layer of the Month is a problem for another day
(10:25:28 AM) twain47: at the moment there are not 10 sets who even WANT to be on the front page!
(10:25:30 AM) RichardF [] entered the room.
(10:25:35 AM) mkl: In reality, how many are there?
(10:25:37 AM) mkl: yes
(10:25:39 AM) toffehoff: Are we now discussing presentation? (and not criteria which tiles we want to show?)
(10:26:01 AM) mkl: henk ... we've gotten into a discussion of both
(10:26:22 AM) mkl: what else do we need to think about for criteria?
(10:26:23 AM) toffehoff: Thought so ;-)
(10:27:05 AM) mkl: i think we can make a recommendation on both ... or at least a recommendation that some presentation work is needed, within some set of constraints, informed by ideas
(10:27:43 AM) mkl: email also mentions http://www.ö , or 
(10:27:44 AM) apmon_: I am not aware of any others than MQ and CM currently. and may at some point become possible, but I don't think they are quite ready yet
(10:27:48 AM) mkl: are these also candidates?
(10:27:56 AM) mkl: or would they not handle the load
(10:27:57 AM) mkl: ?
(10:27:58 AM) rweait: Criteria for inclusion: Social (Interesting, Relevant, Unique, Timely) and technical (Capable)
(10:28:26 AM) apmon_: oepnvkarte is not worldwide afaik and can
(10:28:31 AM) mkl: i think the load handling depends on whether they're shown by default, or require the layer switcher
(10:28:39 AM) apmon_: and can't handle the load hikebikemap is on
(10:28:53 AM) mkl: if requires a switch, then the load will be much less
(10:29:19 AM) mkl: for instance, any idea how much traffic opencyclemap gets from
(10:29:27 AM) apmon_: About a year ago I asked on talk-de if anyone knew a layer that could be included. But there was no response, other than potentially
(10:29:34 AM) toffehoff: are you both refering to the mail of Kai?
(10:29:38 AM) mkl: yea
(10:29:45 AM) mkl: apmon_ == Kai
(10:31:09 AM) mkl: Ok we've hit the 30 minute mark. Want to keep this to one hour.
(10:31:23 AM) toffehoff: I'm reading the mail as "we need a set of guidelines to select tile-layers".
(10:32:02 AM) apmon_: Andy would obviously know more, but I think it was on the order of a couple of mbit/s for OCM
(10:32:06 AM) rweait: I'd like the guidelines to be flexible enough that OSMF can add and remove layers at a whim.  
(10:32:41 AM) mkl: Yes ... have we touched on all criteria and considerations?
(10:33:01 AM) mkl: rweait: agreed, we should be clear about who makes those choices in the OSMF
(10:33:25 AM) apmon_: toffehoff, I think currently there is no immediate need for a policy, as there are so few options anyway. But if we don't set one now, it will be much harder later on
(10:33:53 AM) rweait: there seems to be much overlap in interest and "authority" between Strategic, technical WG, communication WG at a minimum ;-)
(10:33:55 AM) mkl: If we expand to a commercial provider, we need a policy, as there will be questions
(10:34:27 AM) mkl: we might just kick that decision up to the Board
(10:34:44 AM) toffehoff: what decision?
(10:34:44 AM) apmon_: well, we already have with CM, but yes I also think we need the policy to keep conspiracy theories to a reasonable level
(10:35:07 AM) mkl: no cloudmade tiles yet there
(10:35:22 AM) rweait: noname was CM, wasn't it?
(10:35:37 AM) toffehoff: they are
(10:35:41 AM) rweait: and OCM was CM sponsored at least.
(10:35:49 AM) mkl: ok, didn't know. and i guess cyclemap is on CM servers. though neither are commercial services
(10:36:20 AM) apmon_: OCM is no longer on CM servers (although it was), but imho still sponsered by them
(10:36:25 AM) mkl: so question: would we want to include an example style from CM StyleEditor
(10:36:48 AM) mkl: it is significantly different and useful example of the use of OSM data
(10:37:07 AM) mkl: though inclusion could be treading towards an advertisement for a commercial service
(10:37:43 AM) toffehoff: Can we say: we prefer non-commercial examples.
(10:38:10 AM) mkl: we could, but then in practice most of the current new candidates are not
(10:38:16 AM) apmon_: as long as it is unbiased, I am not sure there is such a problem with commercial
(10:38:24 AM) toffehoff: If there is going to be an example of a similar project we can switch from CM to the non-commercial
(10:38:24 AM) apmon_: Open style sheet would be a bigger issue to me
(10:38:46 AM) toffehoff: issue in pro or con?
(10:38:52 AM) mkl: toffehoff: that seems sensible
(10:39:02 AM) mkl: open style sheet?
(10:39:20 AM) MelaskiaGhost: mkl, open source Mapnik style sheet
(10:39:21 AM) apmon_: toffehoff, well, I suspect noone sees it as an advantage to having a closed source style sheet?!
(10:39:35 AM) RichardF: OCM has a closed-source stylesheet. I wouldn't want to lose OCM.
(10:39:37 AM) apmon_: but it probably shouldn't be an exclusion either
(10:39:53 AM) toffehoff: apmon_: ok
(10:40:14 AM) apmon_: RichardF, I agree I wouldn't want to lose it either, but that is imho a bigger issue than if the hosting is commercial or not
(10:40:17 AM) mkl: so another criteria to look at it
(10:41:01 AM) apmon_: and so far that has been the complaint about OCM, not that it has been hosted by CM
(10:42:09 AM) mkl: but it's a stellar example of how OSM data can be used, and i would think that's the most important criteria
(10:42:54 AM) rweait: mkl It's way up there on "criteria"
(10:43:33 AM) mkl: i think open style sheet is a fair criteria, but if stylesheet is closed, its not a total barrier
(10:44:21 AM) mkl: ultimately, with these criteria, it's going to be up to someone to apply them. there will be no way to make that a formula
(10:45:37 AM) mkl: so we have unique purpose, global coverage, scalable, non-commercial preferred (but not absolute), open style prefered (but not absolute)
(10:45:41 AM) mkl: any other criteria?
(10:45:47 AM) mkl: can we add "pretty"? :)
(10:46:10 AM) rweait: how about "interesting" that can include pretty.
(10:46:22 AM) apmon_: both tile hoster and style author have to want it
(10:46:22 AM) chrisfl: Should show an aspect not currently covered by existing layers?
(10:46:37 AM) mkl: apmon_ good point
(10:46:45 AM) rweait:  chrisfl: "unique"
(10:46:53 AM) chrisfl: yes sorry
(10:47:06 AM) rweait: np.  Worth saying again. ;-)
(10:47:15 AM) mkl: anything else on criteria, or are we happy?
(10:47:17 AM) toffehoff: Scalable covers the technical issues, is it?
(10:47:18 AM) mkl: uniquely happy
(10:47:28 AM) toffehoff: interestingly happy
(10:47:34 AM) mkl: any other technical issues to consider Firefishy / TomH ?
(10:47:40 AM) RichardF: if not "pretty", there should be some degree of artistic competence, yes
(10:47:49 AM) apmon_: unique should cover technical aspects too.
(10:47:51 AM) rweait: scalable and "reliable" perhaps? 
(10:48:01 AM) apmon_: wanted by the community
(10:48:12 AM) chrisfl: Do we have timely updates included in the technical criteria?
(10:48:46 AM) mkl: new ones: reliable, reliable, desired by community, timely
(10:48:49 AM) toffehoff: chrisfl: we should..... and define "timely" 
(10:49:02 AM) rweait: chrisfl: I'd say yes a critria but not an absolute? 
(10:49:07 AM) mkl: we can't be too strict on that ...
(10:49:29 AM) toffehoff: Are these criteria or guidelines then?
(10:49:53 AM) rweait: Here's one that fails on most everything, ...
(10:50:05 AM) rweait: except a high level of cool 
(10:50:15 AM) mkl: "guidelines" i guess gives more leeway to the decision maker
(10:50:16 AM) chrisfl: yes but the tile layer should have some kind of commitment to stay up to date.
(10:50:38 AM) mkl: ok 10 minutes to one hour
(10:50:59 AM) apmon_: "timely" would imho be a week or two.
(10:51:15 AM) mkl: let's leave criteria/guidelines to these, and if anyone thinks of more we can bring them up in the follow up to the meeting
(10:51:16 AM) rweait: Who do requests / objections / appeals get fed to, and to whom do they answer? 
(10:52:14 AM) mkl: Good question. I think we also need to add the question of how the tiles are presented.
(10:52:22 AM) mkl: the choice of tiles, i mean
(10:53:10 AM) rweait: If we "define" presentation we may be limiting ourselves from a Really Cool Thing in future?
(10:53:15 AM) mkl: any other questions that need more exploration?
(10:53:30 AM) toffehoff: Next meeting / frequency
(10:53:30 AM) rweait: OL Layer Switcher seems like a good default. 
(10:54:01 AM) mkl: I would say at the very least the labels there need to be more clear, and some short description could be helpful.
(10:54:42 AM) mkl: same time next week?
(10:54:52 AM) mkl: rweait: can you do a write up?
(10:55:03 AM) chrisfl: Sounds goog to me.
(10:55:13 AM) rweait: Shall do.  I'll post it to osmf web site and link from strategic mailing list. 
(10:55:18 AM) mkl: the end goal of this would be a policy recommendation to the board. i reckon we can at least have this planned by next meeting.
(10:55:29 AM) mkl: then we'd only need to have someone write that :)
(10:56:11 AM) rweait: I'll have the summary and this log up in a few hours.  
(10:56:15 AM) mkl: i'll also introduce the other policy issues we've been asked to look at, over the strategic list
(10:56:19 AM) rweait: any need to continue the log?  
(10:56:20 AM) mkl: another pot of tea first?
(10:56:31 AM) rweait: :-)
(10:56:37 AM) mkl: anything else, anyone?
(10:57:05 AM) rweait: *** logging ends ***