OpenStreetMap US is excited to expand our membership model to offer non-voting, organizational memberships for companies, educational institutions, nonprofits and government agencies. In 2010, OpenStreetMap US was founded as a membership organization by five volunteer board members. Over the past 12 years, the volunteer board and our individual members have been the backbone of the organization. OSM US has thrived as an organization and a US community in part due to member feedback, support, active voting, and passionate participation.
This membership expansion aligns with other organizational models in the OSM ecosystem such as the OpenStreetMap Foundation, OSM Belgium, OSM UK, and OSM Japan. The inclusion of the OSM US organizational membership tiers was inspired by these models, with a focus on offering US organizations an avenue to effectively give back and support the growth of our community. Organizational memberships will also encourage active participation from entities in the US using OSM rather than passive consumption of the data.
As the organization continues to grow, so do our funding needs. In an effort to manage growth while honoring our foundation as a membership organization, we look to investment from organizations to provide a reliable and sustainable funding source for OpenStreetMap US. This structure will also strengthen our ability to support the State of the Map US conference AND maximize our impact through our national programming initiatives such as TeachOSM, community engagement, and events throughout the year. Organizational members will also have the benefit of adding State of the Map US sponsorship to their membership at a reduced rate.
We have also made some changes to our individual membership model. First, we are adding a Professional membership level that will provide opportunities for networking, skill building and sharing, and professional development. Second, we have decided to make voting status optional. While we rely on our members to vote for the board of directors and other important changes to the bylaws, many of our members might not want to participate in the organization in this way and it has proven difficult to achieve a quorum during board elections. This will be addressed by making voting status optional and allowing members who seek more involvement to self-select. In the weeks leading up to the 2023 board of directors election, we will follow up with each individual member to confirm your choice.
You can find more information about organizational membership here. Please share this opportunity with your employer or organization that would benefit from greater engagement with OpenStreetMap US. Also, for monthly OSM US news, events and community highlights, be sure to sign up for the newsletter here!