OpenStreetMap Belgium started as a tiny group of mappers doing meetups. Over the years more and more people started showing up and with the increasing usage and visibility of OpenStreetMap it was time to start organizing ourselves better. The invitation from Open Knowledge Belgium to join them as a working group, giving us the structure we needed without all the overhead, came at the perfect time. From then until now we have been actively supporting OpenStreetMap by co-organizing FOSS4G Belgium, the Open Belgium yearly conference, meetups, mapathons and many other OSM related events. This all escalated a bit with the organizing of SotM in 2016, which was a great boost for our community. We are very happy to be able to join the OSMF as a local chapter and we hope we can have continued positive impact on the OpenStreetMap project both on a local level and internationally.
The OpenStreetMap Belgium chapter is for outreach. www.osm.be was built with this in mind. We offer free tiles for Belgium to help with the switch to OSM. We promote open source by doing projects with the Open Summer of Code, for example building a mapping tool that shows local government that their data was successfully integrated into OSM. We are also a “single point of contact” for people outside the community, making it easier for them to communicate with the project. At the same time, being an official voice helps to get the project be taken more seriously. As part of the wider OpenStreetMap movement, we try to support international friends in other countries – directly or through Missing Maps and related projects.
In short, everyone interested in OpenStreetMap in Belgium is part of our community. First of all we have our mappers. But we also have people volunteering in a range of activities, or helping with building software, organizing mapathons or help with other OpenStreetMap related events. Our goal is to make everyone feel welcome and if you are still reading this we probably already consider you part of our community.
So, if everyone is part of the community then what's OpenStreetMap Belgium all about? Our main mission is to facilitate mapping activities in Belgium and make sure everyone feels welcome. You can call us 'crazy' about mapping, perhaps a bit more than the average community member. If you want to help to improve and grow the mapping community in Belgium, to make even more people crazy about mapping, OpenStreetMap Belgium is the right place for you!