Why OSM is not known more widely - about consequences of not enforcing attribution requirements
2021-07-11, 18:00–18:20 (UTC), Track 1 - Talks

Describes current situation of people using and appreciating OpenStreetMap data without being aware at all about its source.

Describes how it violates OpenStreetMap license and proposes to start enforcing it.


OpenStreetMap is not really known among people.

But it does not mean that they are not using it.

I was talking with a pair of tourists using maps.me to navigate. They commented that OpenStreetMap sounds like an interesting project. But it seemed to them to be an unnecessary duplicate of maps.me with its great maps.

They were completely unaware that all useful data displayed by maps.me is from the OpenStreetMap.

OSM data can be used by anyone, with few requirements. One of them is requirement to clearly and prominently state source of data.

Despite this, many companies somehow fail to include a proper attribution. Including ones that are incredibly wealthy and ones that put massive effort into designing their applications.

How can we change that situation?

Many people who would contribute are unaware that OpenStreetMap exists. We are losing potential contributors. Especially among people not interested already in open data and maps.

It is one of reasons why demographics of OpenStreetMap are so diverged from overall population. One needs to be quite unusual to be even aware that it exists and that this data is widely used.

Due to obvious conflict of interest between OpenStreetMap community and corporations using this data fixing this problem will not be easy. But we should try.


Talk keywords

promotion diversity attribution odbl

OpenStreetMap mapper, developer and creator.

I am involved in mapping, developing editing software (especially StreetComplete) and using OpenStreetMap data for various purposes.

I am trying to help other mappers - either by answering when people ask for help or by improving existing resources, like OSM Wiki pages, editors, presets and validators.