Mikel leads the Community Team at Mapbox, building diverse collaborations centered on amazing mapping tools and open data, to make positive change on complex, global problems.
As Presidential Innovation Fellow at the US State Department Mikel drove OpenStreetMap adoption across federal agencies. He is co-founder of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, co-founder of Map Kibera and GroundTruth Initiative, and current proud Board member of the OpenStreetMap Foundation. He holds a master’s degree in Evolutionary and Adaptive Systems from the University of Sussex, and bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from UC Santa Cruz.
This talk with survey the bright and dark history of companies and professional involvement in OpenStreetMap, lay out the challenges that we face now, and chart steps forward to figuring this out together. I want to reset the vision of the position of companies in OSM, starting by connecting back in time to when it was all more fluid in our community. Only later did some draw a sharp distinction between volunteer and professional activities in our project. The reality of the relationship of companies and professionals in OpenStreetMap from the very earliest days until today is ... complicated. There's incredible mutual benefit and purpose. There are super hard issues to address when large amounts of resources are mustered, among the constellation of many kinds of actors and motivations in OpenStreetMap. The reality is that OpenStreetMap is transformative, and that companies in OSM first come for the data, may fumble along the way, and stay for the shared mission to change how maps are made in the open.