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OSM Data Import as an Outreach Tool to Trigger Community Growth? A Case Study in Miami

Levente Juhász, Hartwig H. Hochmair
ISPRS international journal of geo-information 2018 v.7 no.3 pp. -
case studies, community development, geographic information systems, motivation, outreach, Florida
This paper presents the results of a study that explored if and how an OpenStreetMap (OSM) data import task can contribute to OSM community growth. Different outreach techniques were used to introduce a building import task to three targeted OSM user groups. First, existing OSM members were contacted and asked to join the data import project. Second, several local community events were organized with Maptime Miami to engage local mappers in OSM contribution activities. Third, the import task was introduced as an extra credit assignment in two GIS courses at the University of Florida. The paper analyzes spatio-temporal user contributions of these target groups to assess the effectiveness of the different outreach techniques for recruitment and retention of OSM contributors. Results suggest that the type of prospective users that were contacted through our outreach efforts, and their different motivations play a major role in their editing activity. Results also revealed differences in editing patterns between newly recruited users and already established mappers. More specifically, long-term engagement of newly registered OSM mappers did not succeed, whereas already established contributors continued to import and improve data. In general, we found that an OSM data import project can add valuable data to the map, but also that encouraging long-term engagement of new users, whether it be within the academic environment or outside, proved to be challenging.