Call for Participation and Submission Guidelines


Call for Participation

The State of the Map (SotM) conference is the annual OpenStreetMap (OSM) conference run by the OpenStreetMap Foundation (OSMF). It is organised by the SotM Working Group, a team of volunteers. This year, SotM 2021 conference will be held online!

SotM 2021 is an opportunity for the OSM community to gather together virtually. We aspire to organize the SotM 2021 program with a wide range of OSM-relevant topics that will engage and inspire participants to share their knowledge, and harvest new ideas and insights for their own OSM projects. Apart from presentations, we value the interaction between listeners and speakers so we want to create an environment that boosts critical and healthy discussions, including contentious topics. We encourage contributions from all topics in the OSM ecosystem.

We would love to see your submission for one or more of these tracks:

  • OSM Basics
  • Community and Foundation
  • Mapping
  • Cartography
  • Software Development
  • Data Analysis & Data Model
  • User Experiences
  • Art & Creativity


Don’t worry too much about the track categories; they are there to help us organise the conference, but if you find it difficult to select the right track for your talk, choose the one that fits best and we are willing to make adjustments if necessary.

OSM Basics

OSM has grown a lot. Many newcomers or “newbies” have a great thirst for knowledge in areas that may seem uninteresting and basic to existing contributors. We reserve a number of slots for talks that help to satisfy this need. Considering we have a variety of participants from across the globe, it is important that you are an expert in the subject you want to talk about and is able to make it understandable. Please note in the submission what approximate level of previous knowledge is required for the participants.

Examples for this kind of talk are: Explaining the OSM data model; Education in OSM Editors or cartography tools; and Becoming a working group member. Please avoid submitting talks that require the participants to buy software or service subscriptions, create an account on a business platform, or a platform with user tracking.

Community and Foundation

Want to recount your experiences while building a community? Or talk about the vision of OSMF? Or maybe discuss the strategy of the Board? Reflection on community diversity and questions on etiquette are suitable for this track. Other possible topics include why become an OSMF member, working group experiences, and everything related to OSM, OSMF and communities.


This track is all about mapping, surveying, data collection, tagging; tips and reflections on OSM editors, or new editor features; reflections on automated mapping, organised editing and imports.


Possible topics can include cartography and data visualisation, rendering raster and vector maps, map styles, CartoCSS, usage of Kosmtik, maps with QGIS, printing maps and more. All your ideas on how to create a beautiful, fun, quirky and out-of-this-world map!

Software Development

This track awaits talks by or for developers of applications that make use of OSM data, e.g. OSM editors, (vector) tile servers, geocoding, routing, navigation, editor layer indices; tips and tricks with new PostGIS features, or new features of other tools and applications.

Data Analysis and Data Model

This track is dedicated to OSM data itself: analysis of OSM data quality; reflections about enhancing the data model; or discussing the way the OSM data is accessed through the API. Also submissions about deep learning are welcome in this track.

User Experiences

This track is all about the usage of OSM. Examples are how OSM is used in government, public transport, humanitarian response, and scientific context, among others, as well as OSM as an education tool in classrooms. You can present citizen projects that are using OSM data to understand and manage their environment.

Art & Creativity

This track provides a space to present your artistic and creative projects that use OSM data or theme to eg. create clothing, jewellery, 3D printed objects, engravings, visualizations, computer or mobile games, virtual worlds, augmented reality, flyers, postcards, etc.

Submission Types

Talk (20 minutes)

Prerecorded, classic talk of about 20 minutes for the talk itself followed by a 20 minutes live Q&A (questions and answers) session. This is the preferred submission type.

If your talk is accepted, we expect a short test video. We will review this video and provide you with feedback and support if needed. The final video has to be submitted some weeks before the conference.

Workshop (60–90 minutes)

We appreciate the submission of workshops, especially since visitors of previous SotMs often told us that they would apreciate the possibility to attend more workshops about basic OSM topics as well as about innovative technologies. Further topics could be basic OSM editing workshops using JOSM or iD. How to render a map? How to print a map? If you have an idea for a workshop that does not fit into a 90 minutes slot, please contact us (

We are reserving the term “workshop” for sessions in which the participants are actively involved, for example by following some steps on their own devices. Please communicate any requirements for participants in order to attend your proposed workshop regarding technical equipment. Please ensure that your participants shouldn’t be told to create an account at a business platform or a platform with user tracking. Or if so communicate that in an exposed way in your submission and provide guest accounts for your participants. We will provide video conference rooms for the workshops.

Panel Discussion (60-90 minutes)

Panels are for hot, controversial discussions around OSM community, mapping and data. Topics may cover for example diversity, legal questions or the future of the database. You should outline the format on how you intend to organise the discussion and make sure to invite the key players for the discussion. Panels may or may not include the audience. Do what works best for your topic. We will provide video conference rooms for the workshops. The deadline for panel discussion is some weeks before the conference (i.e. after the deadline for regular talks and workshops - see below), so that you have the opportunity to discuss current topics.


Your submission does not fit into any of these submission types? Please get in touch with the program committee via email ( before the end of the call for participation.

Other session types

We plan to provide space for other session types which cannot be submitted in advance. Details will be announced before the conference.

Lightning Talk

Lightning talks will be prerecorded 5 minute videos. This will be announced separately.

Birds of a Feather

Birds of a Feather sessions are informal, spontaneous discussion rounds centered around a specific topic. It is not possible to submit a BoF session in advance. We plan to provide video conference rooms for BoF sessions.

Free Spaces

We will provide free spaces for working groups, local chapters, local groups, user groups for chitchat and more.

Rating Criteria

In rating submissions, we will apply the following criteria:

  • OSM as the subject: A submission where OSM is the main subject or an important ingredient will be rated higher than one that is more generic (e.g. a general talk about GIS software).
  • Preference of “open”: A submission about open data and open source software will be preferred over one that deals with proprietary data or proprietary software and closed platforms.
  • Preference of innovation: A submission about something new, or something not discussed at previous conferences, will be preferred over one that discusses more widely known issues (exception: OSM Basics).
  • We are hoping for talks from a multitude of speakers and hence we would prefer accepting a talk from a „new“ speaker over accepting a second talk from someone who has already an accepted talk.
  • We will also try to avoid accepting many talks from members of the same organisation.
  • We prefer talks from members of underrepresented groups.
  • We value transparency. We prefer submissions that disclose affiliations and sponsors of their work.

Sometimes we will make some changes or have suggestions:

  • We might ask if several speakers can merge their talks.
  • We might also ask if a change of format would be possible (for example we might suggest the lightning talk format instead of talk when we find it is not enough content for a complete talk, but an interesting subject)


The conference language of State of the Map is English. All presentations shall be held in English. It is an important aspect of the conference that participants can interact with the speaker for questions and discussion. Non-English participants are welcome to meet in Bird of Feather sessions (BoF).


Video recordings and slides of the lectures will be published under the Creative Commons Attribution International 3.0 or later (CC BY 3.0+) license.


State of the Map is a non-commercial event where neither the organisers nor the speakers are being paid. Speakers have to get a conference ticket just like everyone else. Details will be announced later.

Program Committee

Your submissions will be reviewed by a program committee consisting of OpenStreetMap community members from various parts of the world.

  • Christine Karch (chairwoman SotM Working Group, Germany)
  • Arun Ganesh (mapper and carthographer, India)
  • Benoît Fournier (mapper, France)
  • Gregory Marler (SotM Working Group, United Kingdom)
  • Ilya Zverev (forum moderator, Russia)
  • Jennings Anderson (researcher, United States)
  • Manfred Stock (lead program committee, mapper, Switzerland)
  • Mats’eliso Thobei (mapper, Lesotho and Ireland)
  • Miriam Gonzales (Geochicas, Mexico)
  • Omowonuola Akintola (mapper, Nigeria)
  • Sarah Hoffmann (developer, Germany)
  • Satochi Iida (OSMF Japan, Japan)
  • Sidorela Uku (mapper, Albania)
  • Séverin Menard (EOF, France, French-speaking West-African and Caribbean outreach)
  • Stefan Keller (Geometa Lab Campus Rapperswil, Eastern Switzerland University of Applied Sciences (FH OST), Switzerland)

The program committee is aware of possible conflict of interest situations. We try to balance that by having a well balanced composition of the committee. Nevertheless, we have imposed some rules upon ourselves to handle conflict of interest situations:

  • We do not rate submissions from our workmates, clients or relatives.
  • We act carefully and are aware about possible conflicts (especially the situation of horse trading). We act particularly carefully in cases we are related to a sponsor.
  • We communicate to other Program Committee members when we are in a conflict of interest situation.
  • We report any outside attempt of influencing their decisions to the chair of the SotM Working Group.

We hope this detailed “Call for Presentations” helps to increase the transparency of our program selection process. Questions are welcome. You can reach us at the following email address:

Timeline and Deadlines

  • 11 April 2021 23:59:59 UTC: Deadline talk and workshop submissions
  • 5 May 2021: Deadline academic talk submissions
  • End of April 2021: End of review phase, speakers will be informed
  • May 2021: Talk video production (test video and final video)
  • 6 June 2021 23:59:59 UTC: Deadline panel submissions
  • June 2021: Lightning talk video production
  • 9-11 July 2021: State of the Map

Submit your presentation

Please submit your presentation proposal to our submission form.

The SotM 2021 Program Committee, 21 February 2021