Coordinating improved communication between the academic and OpenStreetMap communities

Sunday 09:30, S.1.3

Peter Mooney ¹, Joost Schouppe ², Frank Ostermann ³, 30 minutes

¹ Maynooth University, Department of Computer Science, Maynooth, Ireland; ² OpenStreetMap Belgium; ³ Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands

For well over a decade now there has been substantial interest on OpenStreetMap (OSM) from the academic research community. The incredible success of OSM is an intriguing source of potential research for academics. Based on our collective observations as academics, OSM contributors, and users of OSM data, there is much room for improvement in the interactions between the academic research and OSM communities. There are two sides to this story. One one side the OSM community often learns only very late (or sometimes never) about research results generated from academic research on OSM itself. On the other side the academic research community has often little information, or understanding, on what the most important research and scientific concerns for the OSM community actually are. Subsequently, a large amount of academic research is carried out on OSM in complete isolation from the OSM community itself. How can we work towards creating better connections and collaborations between the scientific/academic research communities and the OSM community?

In our SOTM conference presentation we shall look to propose a starting point for meetings, discussions and collaborations between the academic/scientific community and the OSM community. A first step in this direction has been the establishment of the OSM Science mailing list [1] in January 2018. The Science mailing list has many functions including: encouraging academics to look for feedback and support on your planned OSM surveys (BEFORE they are undertaken), providing a means for OSM contributors to pitch or propose problems and challenges, based on OSM, to the academic community (and vice-versa), talk and critically evaluate recent scientific research on OSM, etc. However, bigger steps lie ahead. In our presentation we shall concentrate on two key issues: (1) How to improve communication structurally and in a sustainable way between both the OSM community and the academic research community; (2) How we can move forward and enable co-created research?

One potential target outcome from SOTM 2018 would be agreement to work towards establishment of a more structured global survey that proposes research ideas based on suggestions generated by the OSM community and academics/researchers

[1] https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/science