Fri 31 Jul 2020 6:22PM

OSMF consultation: Advisory Board

R RobJN Public Seen by 47

Hi all. The osmf are consulting on changes to their advisory board. Currently this has both local chapter representatives (me for our local chapter) and gold+ corporate member representatives. The proposal is to split this in two.


If you want me to pass any comments on, please feel free to post them here.



Nick Ananin Sun 2 Aug 2020 6:48PM

Given that local challenges can be quite different, it probably does make sense to split the work load. As far as names, perhaps alternatives might be Global Advisory Board (e.g. strategic overview, focus on large programmes e.g. HOT, data standards etc.) and Local Advisory Boards (what is more relevant to local communities, national or similar focus) to reflect the geographical nature of future challenges. This may also help identify the level of collaboration with various agencies e.g. GAB works closely with global Humanitarian Aid Organisations to support their needs. Increasingly we may need to be aware of the purpose of making maps and the political aspects that this may involve. In terms of membership, it does make sense for a flexible approach, primarily as mapping will become more complex (e.g. increase use of AI, political imperatives) and may call on specific skills to be brought in at different levels. Interesting times!

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Deleted account Tue 4 Aug 2020 2:19PM

I'm not from UK, I'm from Argentina, but since this has to do with the international Board, I feel that it's proper to share my opinion.

I don't know what it would mean to separate the Advisory board from the Board, but if the output of that will be giving the Advisory board a comptroller character, I think it will be the right thing.

Indeed having Facebook and Bing as gold corporate members gives me quite much of a shiver.
Why is Facebook a member of the board? Do they want to buy OSM? They have just bought Mapillary, also GitHub, and it wouldn't surprise me if some months later I would read in the news that they announced ownership of the Foundation, turning it into a for-profit organization, just like Fox did with National Geographic.

Both Facebook and Microsoft have been taken to court for being accused of selling private user data to the military and political parties.
Facebook has even been told to be the successor of LifeLog, a black-budget project from DARPA, an agency from the US Department of Defense.
Bill Gates' foundation is a share holder of Monsanto,
a company which has already been sentenced to pay a billionaire fine for the loads of people who have suffered cancer because they used their poison named Round Up.

Why is the OSMF accepting criminals as members of the board??
Did the OSMF ever have ethics standards for accepting new members?
And if it did, does it think the above mentioned court cases do not have any relevance to the application process??

If OSMF actually cares about keeping things clean and transparent, they should at least recognise the existence of these problems.
OSGeo does not have any of this companies as members of its board, nor companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, Twitter, IBM, etc. OSMF should follow the example of OSGeo.
If you think that would be too problematic, why doesn't OSMF apply to be a community project of OSGeo?? OSMF would get funds, infrastructure and guidance.

Please keep the project out of the hands of companies with dark, desctructive purposes.

On the other hand, I can even suggest you an ethic crowdfunding website, the Spanish "Goteo"
Although they help projects of lots of different topics, they specialize on open source software.
Their website is available in many languages, including English and Spanish.

At last, I coincide with @Nick on the names he suggested for the possible new body of OSMF.

I hope this message to ever get to the office of the Board.


Francisco Ferioli Marco.


Nick Ananin Tue 4 Aug 2020 4:07PM

Francisco, I guess this is not the focus of the consultation but is still a valid point. My first thought was that startups do get taken over e.g. MySql/Oracle and Mapillary/Facebook. The reason these happen are diverse (re Mapillary see https://medium.com/@joemorrison/why-on-earth-did-facebook-just-acquire-mapillary-9838405272f8).
In relation to OSM - this is perhaps slightly different in so far as it is a not-for-profit organisation.

So on that point, I think it is vital that the mapping community is clearer about the purpose of OSM (see https://wiki.osmfoundation.org/wiki/Mission_Statement). Clarity of purpose is important if we are to understand the potential value - particularly in terms of social, economic and environmental challenges of the future. If spatial data is not freely shared for the common good, then we will fail to deliver the true value (N.B. this is not monetary value). A tiny example is that in the UK address data is not freely shared - this had an impact near where I live when someone had a heart attack but the first responder could not find the address. Additionally, address data has some errors but there is no easy way to collaborate with the agencies involved. Therefore if we can use the 'muscle' of these big companies for the common good (i.e. not simply for competitive advantage, keeping it truly open), then it something that the OSMF board(s) need to seriously consider, we must be bold but also wise.

On that note, it will be interesting to follow the future of What3Words 🙂


Deleted account Tue 4 Aug 2020 5:36PM

I understand UK's problem, but I don't think asking for help to them is the solution.

I think it shouldn't be called "muscle", but rather "informational weaponry".
Facebook and Microsoft are not peaceful organizations, nor do promote peace.
They systematically cooperate in sustaining black ops.

Let's say Facebook has the street surveying power of 10 other companies, why asking for help to Facebook instead of those 10 companies?? Is it too difficult trying to convince 10 more companies to offer funds when your name is "OpenStreetMap"??

Big open source organizations are constantly favouring companies which business model is based on illegal activities, helping them to clean a dirt so fatty that can't even be cleaned with alcohol, namely, their corporate image.

I am not saying that being big makes you bad, indeed I think the rest of the gold corporate members are quite good companies which provide important benefits to the development of humanity, bringing great contributions to science and public data.
So why couldn't OSMF call for more companies of that kind?? Or is it just indispensable to have Facebook and Bing in the board of directors??

I repeat, OSGeo doesn't have any of these two companies on its board and they manage not only to work perfectly, bringing software of great quality, but they also are able to support 3rd party projects with their own money, so I think any argument of the like "there's no more money available" is just invalid.

Seriously, using a friendly/weak/indulgent approach to Private User Data Inc. is not something honest, honourable, not even "wise".


RobJN Wed 5 Aug 2020 10:42AM

@Francisco Ferioli Marco: The "Advisory Board" is not the same as the Company Board or Directors. It is better described as an "Advice group". So Facebook and others do NOT sit on the (Company) Board. However they do belong to an advise group that the Board can turn to to ask questions. As you see, the Board also turns to the osmf-talk and talk mailing lists to ask questions.

The proposal here is to split the Advise Group into two separate groups; one for companies and one for local community chapters.