On June 10, 2010, Serge Wroclawski announced the launch of the “new OpenStreetMap United States Web site.” Thirteen years later to the day, I had the privilege of making much the same announcement onstage at State of the Map US 2023 in Richmond: OpenStreetMap US has a fresh new home on the web.Photo courtesy of Elliott Plack.
The moment capped a long-running desire for a site suited to the modern needs of our organization, stemming from a 2020 request for proposals. A new openstreetmap.us was a major goal when I joined OSM US as Tech Lead in 2022. I’m excited to give you a tour of the new site, but first a bit of history.
When OpenStreetMap US was founded in April 2010, our public face was simply a wiki page. A few months later the founders launched our first website, a basic WordPress blog (shown below via the Wayback Machine). From the start, blog posts have been central as a way to announce news, organize events, highlight community work, and generally document our history. To date, there are over 300 posts.
The only major redesign since 2010 occurred in the spring of 2013 when the site went from this:
The change corresponded with a move from WordPress to Jekyll, a static site generator. The revamped site came with a flashy homepage highlighting the community, event, and map components of our mission. This basic design would remain largely unchanged for ten years when on the eve of State of the Map US 2023, openstreetmap.us looked like this:
So why a new website?
Well, because a lot has changed!
OpenStreetMap US, as an organization, has grown to host a whole slate of programs and projects, community-led charter projects, an annual in-person conference, an annual virtual conference, periodic Mappy Hours, an archive of hundreds of recorded talks, an organizational membership program, a tasking manager, a public Slack workspace… not to mention overseeing the regular business of memberships and elections. We needed a place where people could easily discover and explore all of our initiatives.
The 2023 redesign
My goals for the redesign were those of any good website, and essentially boil down to:
- Simplicity: let the content speak for itself, don’t bog it down with needless chrome
- Navigability: everything should be easy to find and well-linked
- Whimsy: have some fun with it :)
The new homepage starts off with a splash reminiscent of the old site, but scrolling down reveals a “home screen”-like area with little “app icons” for every major page on the site. This high-level overview is useful if you’re not exactly sure what you’re looking for, or where it might be hiding.
This homepage also features an interactive map for the first time on openstreetmap.us. The Americana map style is being actively designed by our US community members and is the perfect way to showcase OpenStreetMap in the United States.
Each project and program now has its own page with brand-consistent custom styling. The page gives a quick overview and provides links out to more info on the web.
Our conferences also have their own pages, where news items and recorded talks are compiled.
You can now browse and watch recorded talks from our conferences and Mappy Hours right here on the website. This makes it easier to find and share talks, and to see more by the same speaker. Not all past talks are uploaded yet, but they will be in the coming months. In the meantime, you can browse our YouTube channel.
One of my favorite new pages is the Learn page, where we’ve compiled recorded talks grouped by category. It’s a whole new way to check out OpenStreetMap-related content and makes it easier to keep up with topics you care about.
This is just a taste of the new website—I encourage you to spend some time exploring it. I guarantee you’ll learn something new about OpenStreetMap US. Check back regularly as we continue to build out pages and add even more content.
No one knows what the next 13 years hold for OpenStreetMap US, but we invite you to come along for the ride at openstreetmap.us.