Building Mapping Communities: HOT + Maptime + rainbows + puppies
Hi! My name is Lyzi Diamond.
So what is Maptime? And what does it have to do with HOT?
This story starts in June of 2013 with two incredible women.
Alyssa Wright speaking at State of the Map US 2013
Beth Schechter (and me)
At SOTMUS 2013, Alyssa spoke about diversity in OSM.
Her talk was inspiring. (If you saw it, you know what I mean!)
Beth was so inspired, she literally set aside some time to make maps.
At the same time, I was up in Portland, Oregon trying to create some "map time" of my own.
Beth, with her colleagues Alan and Camille, turned their meetup into Maptime.
When I turned mine into MaptimePDX, theirs became MaptimeSF.
Then OpenGeoCLE in Cleveland. Then MaptimeNYC. MaptimeME. MaptimeNullIsland.
Fast forward to now...
... and many, many others.
So what is this Maptime thing? How did it grow so quickly? And why am I talking about it at the HOT Summit?
Maptime is a collection of beginner-focused community groups
for learning geospatial technology, techniques, and concepts,
particularly using open source tools and hands-on practice and exercises.
Maptime is about excitement and encouragement around learning.
We believe maps are totally awesome and super valuable for cognitive development, social awareness, and building community beyond superficial differences.
One of my favorite things about Maptime is how the community has emerged organically.
Chapters happen where there are excited organizers and people who want to learn.
Each chapter has a different model depending on its organizers and attendees.
Some chapters focus on tutorials, while some prefer project nights and mapathons.
We have central communication (using Slack and Twitter), but there are no mandates from HQ.
So let's fast forward again. April 25, 2015.
As of April 27th:
This is a huge lift from an amazing community of mappers.
Today is May 2nd.
The inimitable Andrew Wiseman reached out to the Maptime Slack channel on April 26th...
... but by then the organizing was already underway.
Of course, this is a drop in the bucket.
But it illustrates a point worth making explicitly.
Maptime exists because community, inclusivity, and accessibility are important and necessary components of positive learning experiences.
Community. Inclusivity. Accessibility.
Does this sound familiar?
It should come as no surprise, then, that Maptime and OpenStreetMap are a natural pair.
Any guesses what the most popular Maptime meetup topic is?
But it can be hard to teach about OpenStreetMap.
OSM has its own language and a huge ecosystem with tons of use cases.
There are an overwhelming number of users who make one or two edits to OSM and never edit again.
It's no surprise that the OpenStreetMap community can be difficult for beginners.
But look around. Do you see that here?
Maptime and HOT are obviously different communities with different goals.
For both of these communities, we turn our focus to beginners.
Community. Inclusivity. Accessibility.
OpenStreetMap has its own language and teaching is a full-time job.
Open source technology communities all have similar problems.
It is difficult to join an open source community as a beginner...
... and it's difficult for an open source community to open itself up to beginners.
Open source projects in our time typically start when people with a common skillset have a common problem or frustration that they want to solve together.
Doing that in the open means more people will contribute and it will mature faster.
But there comes a time when the project has users who are not the same as the developers.
This is a problem without a solution.
But HOT and Maptime are a shiny beacon of shinyness because we make it real.
We provide entry points for beginners to mapping.
We take the time for training and explanation with the understanding that these things are difficult.
Put another way:
Not just the obvious empathy of humanitarian and educational work.
Empathy for every human being.
Maptime and OpenStreetMap are both projects focused on making the world a better place through collaboration, shared knowledge, and exchange of information.
To make it just a little more meta:
We can use our awesome communities to make the rest of the open source mapping world just a little more awesome.
We can continue doing what we're doing here today: telling our story.
We can keep meeting and keep working and keep building.
We're doing the hardest work already.
Let's keep going.