Active Contributor Membership

The OpenStreetMap Foundation works best with a large membership base. The Foundation has decided that everyone who contributes significantly to the project should have a voice in how it is run. The Active Contributor Membership aims to increase the membership by providing a costless membership to the Foundation for anyone who contributes significantly to the project.

How does it work

The membership fee for associate membership, which normally is tied to the regular membership fee, may be waived if the person applying for membership can demonstrate that they have consistently made sizeable contributions to OpenStreetMap, for example by mapping (as of AGM 2019 vote ). We will automatically grant associate memberships to mappers who sign up for an Active Contributor Membership if they have contributed during at least 42 calendar days in the last year (365 days).

Not everyone contributes by mapping, and some of the most familiar names in our members list barely map. Some are very involved, for example, in organizing conferences, programming or advocacy. Those other forms of contribution should be recognised as well. If you do not map at all or less than the 42 days, then we expect you to write a paragraph or two about what you do for OpenStreetMap. The Board will then vote on your application.


FAQ

Why does this active contributor membership program exist?

By inviting more active community members to join the OSMF, we become more resilient against take-over attempts through massive signups. We believe that even mappers for whom £15 is not a lot of money would be more willing to join, if they are invited to a free membership due to their good work. Also, active contribution to the project is easier to assess than financial hardship and does not require the applicant to disclose personal information. The potential loss of individual membership fee income is not a threat to our financial stability. In fact, there are quite a few members who like to donate more than just £15. Those donations need not be tied to any membership.

How long is this membership valid?

Just like paid membership, membership under the active contributor program must be renewed annually. You will get a reminder, and you then can request the renewal, similar to the initial application. The check for mapping at least 42 calendar days in the last year will be carried out at the time you request the renewal, or alternatively you submit again a paragraph or two about what you do for OpenStreetMap.

What happens to the old fee waiver program?

The “financial hardship” and “lack of suitable money transfer” rule will be dropped entirely because even today, we expect someone joining under those rules to demonstrate some sort of contribution, so they would likely be eligible under the new rule as well.

Why 42 mapping days?

Mapping days is not perfect, but we need a benchmark that is objective, easy to verify, and simple for us to measure and implement.

Why 42 days? If we measure contributions in mapping days by OSMF members who map (83%), roughly half of them map more than 42 days per year. We would expect a “slightly exceptional” contribution in terms of mapping days.

How can I find out how many mapping days I have?

You can get an estimate from tools like Pascal Neis How did you contribute, which should be accurate enough for most purposes.

If you are technically versed and wish to verify your mapping days yourself, use the changesets api of osm to query your changesets. Then you can collect all unique dates in the created_at attributes of the changesets, and count how many unique days you have in the last 365 days.

Can’t this be cheated?

We also discussed abuse. When we receive an application, we contact the mentioned OpenStreetMap account(s) through the OSM messaging system to confirm they are owned by the applicant. You could of course make tiny contributions like wiggling a single node on 60 days, and maybe go undetected and get your membership. But that would be fraud, and the membership could be revoked if MWG finds out that the contributions are not meaningful.

Does paid mapping count?

The “active contributor program” is there to measure your engagement towards the project. In the first place, we think this is shown by volunteer activities for the project. If you do organizing or mapping for OSM as a part of your paid job, that is not necessarily a show of engagement with the project. By default, we would not include these activities as qualifying for this type of membership. But feel free to explain your contributions, and the Board will have a vote.

How are my changes divided into days for measuring 42 mapping days

For measuring the mapping days, the created at time stamp of each changeset is used. Typically, all changes in a change set have the same time stamp. A day is defined in UTC from midnight to midnight.

How do you handle privacy?

By law, every member of the OSMF can inspect the membership register (but we ask a few questions about what you want to do with it before handing it out). Who joined under which program is not revealed. The name, country, email and one of the osm account names will be shown.