Since its humble beginnings in the UK in 2004 the OpenStreetMap project has grown to become a global phenomenon. From the international OpenStreetMap Foundation, to local communities such as those here in the UK, OpenStreetMap is supported by numerous organisations and groups.
Despite this, until 2017, there was no legal entity representing the needs of the OpenStreetMap community in the UK. This made it harder to access funding, engage with stakeholders (especially those who are are more used to engaging with organisations), sell merchandise, or provide services.
So, welcome to OpenStreetMap United Kingdom not-for-profit Community Interest Company (C.I.C); we’re here to undertake activities which benefit the community.
How we operate
As a non-profit company we have a board of volunteer directors and meet regularly with our community to discuss priorities and projects. We practise “radical openness” meaning that as-far-as-possible discussions and decisions are made in public.
Many of our decisions, and the discussions leading to them, take place on our Loomio.
Our financial year runs 1 April-31 March, and our Annual General Meeting is normally held a couple of months after the end of the year to allow for accounts to be finalised (it was much later in 2020 due to COVID-19). Each year, at least two of the five directors stand down (though they are allowed to stand for re-election) to make an opportunity for new people with fresh ideas to come in. All members are notified of the date, time and place of the AGM more than 45 days in advance. Quorum at AGMs is 10% of the membership.
In December, our accountants file our confirmation statement with Companies House and we file our annual report with the CIC regulator. As a limited company, we pay Corporation Tax on any profits and this must also be paid in December. By March, our accountants must also file annual accounts with HMRC. The annual reports and accounts for past years can be found under Company documents and must be approved at the AGM.
Board meetings are held once every month, and approved minutes can be found under Minutes. The quorum for a board meeting is 3, but most months, all directors are present.
Strategy for 2019/2020
We built the basic organisation in Year 1 (2017-18), and widened our promotion in Year 2 (2018-19). Year 3 (2019-20) concentrates on connecting with businesses and organisations, and increasing opportunities for members.
- Use the quarterly projects to partner with another organisation to leverage their membership/supporters.
- Pursue a role as a lobby group. That is, getting OSM on the radar of large organisations.
- Proactive outreach to businesses, organisations and academia to show them a front door to using and contributing to OSM.
- Enhance / nurture the Talent Directory.
- Help shape tagging guidelines.
- Develop guidelines to work out when OSM UK should and should not support a mechanical edit / data import.
- A micro-grant programme to support those who want to help us grow the community via talks, workshops, etc.
- Focus on map fixes (e.g. a quarterly project on Notes, Fixmes).
- Assist with conflating TfL Cycle Infrastructure Data into OSM.
- Create a budget.