The Belgian perspective to building an OpenStreetMap community

Mission, strategy & implementation

Our mission

Support and grow the OpenStreetMap community in Belgium

Mission, strategy & implementation


non-mappers -> mappers


mappers -> community


community -> organisation


organisation -> networked organisation


Community-first and radically 'open':

  • extremely welcoming
  • open leadership
  • open collaboration
  • not radically 'open-source'



Be extremely welcoming!


  • Don't exclude anyone!
  • Value different skills
  • Always be nice, yes a code of conduct!
  • Don't punish mistakes but encourage improvement.




Crazy about mapping

be a club you

want to part of

be welcoming

show appreciation

grow diversity

Welcoming tool


  • Send a message to every mapper with a first edit in Belgium
  • Invite them to our channels
  • Be nice even if they make mistakes and offer guidance and reassurance.


Welcoming tool

The language issue

Open leadership!


  • Don't do everything yourself!
  • Give others credit and have them take the lead.
  • Value different skill sets equally.
  • Listen to community feedback all the time and act accordingly.
  • Assume you won't be around forever.




Open leadership!

Just do it already

And start doing meetups



to expand your team

not great

to grow the total number

of mappers

Open collaboration!


  • Work with other 'open' minded organizations!
  • Build a network around OSM users and contributing organizations.
  • Recognize contributions from partners.
  • Don't be afraid of companies, but not naive either.




Open collaboration!

  • Help companies to help OSM win!
  • Help partner organizations to map specific to their need.
  • Build tools to collaborate easier with governments.




open Summer of code

Building tools for quality checking and error correction for the Brussels government.

Come to our road-completion talk on Monday @ 09:30!


Share the workload of organizing a conference!

Radically open but not radically open-source!


Radically open but

not radically open-source!


Radically open but not radically open-source!


  • OSM it not an open-source software project.
  • Keep focus on mapping not software.
  • Promote OSS everywhere but use what works best.
  • Don't exclude anyone! Even those not using OSS.




Learned from experience...

Do as little as possible!

Talk like an organisation


newsletter is not community-oriënted, we have a wiki for that!

Having a paid employee helps a lot!

Thank you Dries!


...thank you Open Knowledge Belgium!

Talk in places people might not have heard you before...

Ever answered an OSM question with a sigh?


"Why can't we just import all the buildings?

But 'machine learning', why still map?

Why is it so difficult to map an area?

Don't we need a code of conduct?"


Can't someone else do it?

What the global community can do for us?

Give us a voice, we became a local chapter...

Be a club you want to join!

Let's make this
a priority

  • following diaries
  • community index
  • reviewmychange
  • massive local messaging through
  • basic statistics
  • extended membership waiver for OSMF
  • microfunding (domain, meetup,...)
  • local group website templates
  • dedicated channel
  • stickers and promo material
  • godfather program

 Be positive!


We are winning!