Annual Report of the Directors 2022

2022, Uncategorized

Prior to the AGM

General Description of the company’s activities and impact

OpenStreetMap United Kingdom CIC (OSMUK) represents mappers in the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man and the Channel Isles, and the interests of the map itself. As of 17th August 2022 the membership stands at 107, of whom 5 are corporate members, which is a small increase from the period 2020-2021.

Summary of activities in 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022

As a group, we continued to share the word about OpenStreetMap and UK mappers. This ranged from mapping waste and recycling centres during the CodeTheCity hack weekends, to Andy Mabbett presenting to the Data Management Association and the British Computing Society. The latter is an example of where having an official organisation provides a route for companies or groups to ask for assistance.

Sometimes in the conversations on the mailing list we can see that something is going awry. We then try to get the right people talking to each other. We liaised between the GB community and an organiser of organised mapping in Wales. We also held calls with the organisers of the Transport for London cycle infrastructure data conflation project that had restarted after a hiatus during Covid restrictions.

The National Trust’s Paths and Trails Project has also restarted and is preparing to launch. We have held calls with them to advise on their next steps (pun intended).

The Ordnance Survey’s highly successful ‘OS Maps’ mobile app, popular with walkers, ironically uses OpenStreetMap data (via Mapbox) for the most accurate and up-to-date footpaths. We have tried to encourage Mapbox to start distinguishing between walkable and private paths.

We provisioned Land Registry polygons as a tiles layer to aid alignment of aerial imagery that is used by contributors to OpenStreetMap (OSM), improving accuracy of map editing.

After winning an OSMF Microgrant we produced a set of leaflets to publicise OSM in the UK. These were then published under an open licence so that other groups or countries could reuse or adapt them.

Another project that successfully raised funding was the UK Addressing Project. Donations were gratefully received from the likes of Meta and OpenCage to build tools to improve the quantity and quality of addressing. Work was carried out to review the tagging guidelines for UK addresses and the ‘envelopes tool’ was created to give a view of addresses more understandable by the general public. A custom scheme for MapComplete has been built and is now going through performance and tuning.

It wasn’t all good news however. Much time and effort was spent wrestling with the CiviCRM software that manages memberships and payments. We also needed to find a new accountant after ours went absent-without-leave. An accountant with relevant experience has now been appointed, but all this detracts from the actual task of doing things.

Each quarter of the year we arrange a project to focus on improving a particular subject area and encouraging members to work together and share information. The quarterly projects organised this year included Waste and Recycling infrastructure, Buildings in Northern Ireland and Retail. There is a measured up-tick in activity tied to quarterly projects.

We have assisted companies and local authorities who wished to use OpenStreetMap in the UK and advertised opportunities to the talent pool to help connect them with the community.