Many local groups have arisen to work specifically on mapping in communities in resource-constrained locations around the world. Many global organizations have also undertaken projects in the international development context that seek to collect map data while at the same time supporting the growth of the local OSM community. Improving OSM maps for humanitarian, development, and democracy purposes has become an imperative. However, sustaining these efforts has been difficult to achieve.
This panel will frame the issue of sustainability of mapping groups and map data globally. What does being sustainable mean for an OSM community? Participants will share stories about a particular challenge they’ve faced in keeping their efforts going, from various vantage points in the OSM global ecosystem. The format will be short presentations followed by a talk show style discussion. Panelists will focus on key tensions such as maintaining data quality vs. attracting new mappers; operating in a very resource-constrained environment; the role of INGOs and international support; different levels of engagement from governmental to grassroots. How can we promote knowledge sharing and mentorship across communities? Borrowing from Wikimedia, we will look at the social, political, technical, and economic barriers preventing people from accessing and contributing to free knowledge.