OpenStreetMap local outreach for new communities

rweait's picture
welcoming sign at the entrance to the subdivision

Telling people about OpenStreetMap is fun. Seeing the lights come on when somebody gets it is gratifying. And that sort of face-to-face advocacy has been the most effective way to add new mappers to the community. That has been the case since the early days in English pubs and it is still the case now.

Face-to-face discussions are an effective way to share our enthusiasm for OpenStreetMap because we can ask about the background and interest of the person with whom we are speaking. We can then talk about OSM in terms of the great cycle map layer when speaking to cyclists, or in terms of Free Software licenses or geo-data for business depending on our audience.

Attached is a flyer that aims to start that conversation with a very specific audience. I've distributed this flyer in a newly built neighbourhood that is not shown on commercial maps. This won't be as effective as a face-to-face discussion with each neighbour, but I hope that it will gain the attention of a few people. OpenStreetMap can always use a few new contributors.

This example is from a new neighbourhood in Cambridge Ontario that is not shown on any commercial maps yet.

Let me know how successful this is in your neighbourhood.

How to use the new community flyer

Map the new area. Perform a basic survey of the new neighbourhood and add the data to OpenStreetMap.
Customize the flyer text with local contact information and meetup groups for curious potential mappers.
Print the map of the new area on the back of the printed flyer.
Consider starting a new OpenStreetMap Meetup group and use the new OpenStreetMap topic supported by


This article was originally published on Wed, 08/19/2009 - 13:52.