Antwerp, Belgium

From Belgium to Europe: can European Local chapters work together and learn from each other?

Joost Schouppe

Because Belgium is small and complicated, federation is at the core of what we do. That means most of our projects are built to be scalable. Still, we are a tiny organization and can’t do as much as we would like.

We propose a two-part session on this subject.

First we explore the projects of OSMbe that could be interesting on a European scale: camera grants, State of the Map Europe and our corporate membership program.

Second, we invite the participants of the session to bring their ideas to the table. Which of their projects could be scaled up to Europe? What would a Europe-wide collaboration look like? Is there any sense in formal organization?

For the first part, we intend to invite guests who are involved in these projects.

Some context:
  • OSM Belgium has a small camera grant project, financed by Corporate Membership. We are talking with Meta to roll this out towards all of Europe.
  • Our project to run a State of the Map Europe is intended to be a first run of something that might be a new bi-yearly tradition, especially considering the likelihood of more international SotM’s happening outside of Europa
  • After years of unfocused discussion, we started a simple Corporate Membership program (explained here), which has been surprisingly successful (see here). It hasn’t just given us some financial freedom, but also an opportunity to be present at expensive tech conferences (thank you Anyways.eu), support tile infrastructure (thank you Geo6.be) and increase our available manpower (thank you TomTom).
  • We try to build all our projects in a scalable way, though it is not always easy to help them grow elsewhere. Examples are the very succesful Welcome Tool and EqualStreetnames. But our Road Completion project also runs on several areas. And our newer Traffic Sign project is also designed to be flexible (and the fully automated workflow Github Actions>MapRoulette is in itself interesting for other projects).

  • We hope to count with the presence of people active in Local Chapters and local communitties from around Europe!