State of Independence

Richard Fairhurst

Playlists: 'sotm2022' videos starting here / audio

OpenStreetMap is the human-made map of the world. But how can one tiny human still make a difference in a project used by megacorps and crucial to millions of app and website users every day? How does OSM retain its individualism in a world that wants it to be consistent, orderly and predictable? Is it game over for the experimental, iconoclastic, independent map? Richard Fairhurst offers a challenging but upbeat look at the changing landscape for the OpenStreetMap mapper, user and developer.

2004: A crazy hobby project. One street mapped. One small mailing list.
2013: Edited by thousands every day. Beloved by hobbyists. Trialled by a few adventurous companies.
2022: The world's map. Worth billions. Used by everyone.

What happened?

Is there still a place for the individual in OSM, as mapper, user, or developer? How do you build with OSM when your competitors have free money on tap? Can OSM retain its iconoclasm and individualism when the Silicon Valley behemoths are involved?

Richard Fairhurst is still as idealistic as in 2004 (but maybe a little calmer) and thinks that corporate OSM and independent OSM can co-exist, and better still, benefit from each other. In a wide-ranging, rollicking and occasionally factually accurate talk, he'll look at the OpenStreetMap economy in 2022 and how individuals can still make a difference. Expect: the secretive Kindred of the Kibbo Kift, situationists, books about pubs, bouncing phones.