Special Message for GIS Professionals interested in OpenStreetMap

From: Serge
Sent on: Monday, August 27, 2012 3:28 PM
In the last week or so, we've had a ton of new members of the meetup, and I'm 
thrilled to see our numbers jump more than 20% in just a week.

I'm excited that we see interest by individuals and organizations about our 
project. Knowing that this project, which I've been a part of for four of its eight 
years has grown so dramatically in such a short time makes me very proud of my roles in our community (contributor, developer, community organizer).

I'm sure many of you are wondering "How can I (or my organization) contribute to OSM?"

This is a question I receive a lot, and my answer is this:

  The best way for you or your organization to contribute to OSM is to join our 
  community.

Being part of our community is the single most important thing you can do. That 
means come to our meetings, join our lists (which you've already done partially if 
you're reading this), and most importantly, become an active OSM contributor. That 
means you should have an account, and you should be mapping your own local area, 
fixing roads, adding points of interest, etc.

That is how you contribute to OpenStreetMap, through direct community engagement 
by joining and contributing.

I'm sure this issue of external datasets and imports will come up. I know because 
I've seen it come up before, both in the local (Washington, DC) and national 
contexts.

While I have no doubts whatsoever about the positive intentions of those doing 
imports, as the saying goes "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" and 
imports have caused immense harm to OSM, both to our data quality and to our 
community.

Many elder statesmen of the OSM community take an entirely anti-imports stance. I 
do not, but having seen the mass damage they've done, I feel very strongly that 
imports as they've been done up to now are not tenable and will destroy the 
delicate US community, which is just now starting to grow and take hold.

I look forward to talking to you new members directly, and I hope that you become 
active individual contributors, that you come tonight to our social meetup, and or 
to a future mapping party with a GPS and notepad.

- Serge

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