Episode 28

What "OpenStreetMap US" is with Maggie Cawley & Alyssa Wright


March 13th, 2020

37 mins 30 secs

Your Hosts
Special Guests

About this Episode

Sponsored By:

#28 Cover art uses imagery by Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team © OpenStreetMap contributors.


Justin Dorfman | Richard Littauer


Maggie Cawley
OpenStreetMap US

Alyssa Wright
OpenStreetMap US | Open Source Collective

Show Notes

In this episode Justin and Richard talk with Maggie Cawley, Executive Director of the American OpenStreetMap US and Alyssa Wright, current Board Member of OpenStreetMap US. If you’ve never heard of OpenStreetMap US you will learn all about what it is, how you can use it, how you can edit it (YES, it’s editable like Wikipedia), and how it differs from Google Maps.

1:40** What is OpenStreetMap and OpenStreetMap US? How are they different? The ladies also share how many people are all together in the OpenStreetMap world in their biosphere and how many contributing editors there are.

04:41 Justin wonders how the map data is licensed and was it a hard sell to the community or an easy one?

08:24 OSMF and OSM US are slighty different. Richard is interested to know what Maggie and Alyssa are doing for each one and how do they see them growing.

10:43 Richard wants to know the Code of Conduct and was questioning if it was just started or did it change.

12:40 Justin wants to know what percentage Craig, from Craigslist, give to their annual budget. Also, regarding sustainability, the discussion of what it costs to run OpenStreetMap as a service is answered.

13:34 Maggie talks about who is involved in their membership which is made of many different people.

17:00 Richard wonders if anything is difficult now and what does sustainability look like and if there are any problems. The ladies talk about all the challenges there have been.

23:09 Why would people use OSM vs. Google Maps? Empowerment is a big factor with OSM.

27:18 Justin wonders how Maggie and Alyssa deal with possible misinformation from bad edits, especially with the earthquakes or tornados or if there have been any issues.

32:04 The ladies answer some questions from Richard regarding what sustainability means for OSM and how do you make sure everyone is working on the same product, doing it with the same intention, but with the same sort of guidance.


05:43 “ODbL, it’s a unique license.”

15:15 “I always point to my phone, it’s like, you know, this is essentially a map that we’re carrying around with us constantly and whether we’re talking about data privacy in our location, movement, or crime statistics or this Coronavirus, this is grounded in space, and we’re grounded in space.”

21:08 “Billions of people in this world do not have an address. So, without an address that means you don’t have a legal right to your land.”

23:17 “It’s very well known that Google is going to map where they have commercial interest.”


  • 34:07 Justin’s spotlight this week is Dracula PRO-Episode 27.
  • 34:40 Richard’s spotlight is Leaflet JS.
  • 34:57 Maggie’s spotlight is QGIS project.
  • 35:17 Alyssa’s spotlight is PostGIS community.


Maggie Cawley Twitter

Alyssa Wright Twitter

State of the Map U.S. Conference

Craigslist Charitable Fund Donation



OpenStreetMap on Slack




Dracula Pro-Episode27

Leaflet JS

Support Sustain