OpenStreetMap US is excited to announce a new way in which we support projects and programs that align with our mission to support the OpenStreetMap project in the United States through education, fostering awareness, ensuring broad availability of data, continuous quality improvement, and an active community: OpenStreetMap US Charter Projects.
To explain what Charter Projects are about, let’s take the example of TeachOSM. OpenStreetMap US has had a close relationship with TeachOSM, the project that promotes the use of OpenStreetMap in educational settings, since 2016. This relationship has been beneficial for both TeachOSM and OpenStreetMap US: TeachOSM has been able to tap into the resources of OpenStreetMap US to promote and help fund the project, while OpenStreetMap US has been able to further its mission through TeachOSM.
Following the success of this collaboration, OpenStreetMap US has been looking for a way to formalize this type of relationship and open the door to more initiatives, projects and programs that would benefit from a strong relationship with OpenStreetMap US. Taking inspiration from other technology non-profits such as Code For Society, we designed our new Charter Projects Program to enable this. We’re very excited to officially present this program to you today, and open the initial round of applications!
With the Charter Projects Program, OpenStreetMap US actively encourages the development of tools, programs and services that contribute to the growth and sustainability of the OpenStreetMap platform in the United States, and beyond. It is loosely based on the fiscal sponsorship model for governance of non-profit organizations. Projects are given a home and the ability to fundraise through the OpenStreetMap US organization. The existing maintainers or contributors still control the project, but OpenStreetMap US will support the development of a neutral, well-documented governance process.
You can read about the Program in more detail in the Guidelines Document, which lays out the benefits, the kinds of initiatives we are looking for, and the procedure to apply.
The first round of applications is open now until the end of the year. If you think your initiative may be a good fit to become an official OSM US Charter Project, we would love to learn more and get to know you! A great way to get started is by reading the Guidelines and the Template Agreement. We will also host an information session at the virtual Connect 2020 conference Saturday October 31, 11am to 12pm ET to answer your questions.
We are aiming to consider the compatibility of your applications and select any Charter Projects in early 2021. We are looking to build strong, long term relationships with our Charters, which is why we are taking a few months for our first call for applications.