I’m reviving that discussion because I think we have an increasing need to bring clarity in the different things that are being done by “TransforMap”.
For those who haven’t been very active some of this contribution may be a bit obscure, please hang on. You may scroll down and look for the “Proposal” and then come back to the beginning for understanding the background of my proposal (it is so far only my personal view).
So first let me explain my current thinking which stems from personal frustration as a core contributor, exchanges with people who feel like outsiders, and a my latest analysis of TransforMap.
It seems that some actors that are developing relevant maps are not so happy with the fact that TransforMap (as a whole) is at the same time:
- an effort to improve interoperability of maps and exchange of data, in order to create a data commons/ecosystem about and for the transformation.
- one map under a URL (now transformap.co) that the crowd can edit, embed in websites, with a proposed taxonomy. A map that has (blurry) borders (i.e. insiders and outsiders).
- some kind of an informal service provider (through Get Active and Ecobytes) to SSEDAS partners by putting together their map (within a TransforMap database).
There is some kind of a conflict of interest here. The one map we’re trying to put together may be seen as (and will de facto be) a competitor to other existing maps that may be very similar because they are crosscutting: Karte von Morgen, L’Italia che Cambia, OpenGreeeMap, Carte des Colibris, etc. And at the same time we would try to support inter-operability of those maps and channel their data to one map under one specific URL.
How far is this perception justified? I’m asking myself (this is a direct question to those who are operating (a) map(s) : @SamRossiter @Luca @Wendy @wellemut…).
Honestly, we have to recognize that we are trying to do a few different things at the same time. I believe we should spend the time to look at the broader picture and not just dive into the technical development where we just develop features without really systematically assessing the needs of our communities.
This is very much connected to the need to have a roadmap. We need to better define our mission, to avoid being sidetracked (how many hours are spent to import data from SSEDAS partners into OSM?).
More than ever we need to establish a distinction between the various activities we are involved in. From the initial call from Silke to create one map, our incremental understanding of the problem at hand led us to go much further: especially towards inter-operability. And it’s good. Because there is much more than just creating another map.
Concretely, in working together, we have also been experiencing the problem that we have a very heterogeneous community behind TransforMap: activists with no technical knowledge and maps specialists. We can’t get all those people to work together all the time, it’s not productive. We should make it clear. At the same time technicians cannot run and develop stuff that is disconnected from the needs of the activists and the existing maps we want to serve (those are completely missing in the discussion so far!).
#A rough proposal
So let me put together a proposal on how to reorganize ourselves, throwing some ideas that could look like some embryonary epic user stories.
[Note for those who are not familiar with agile development, a user story is a description of what a user could experience using a new system like an app, a website. When those require a lot of work they are called epics.]
Because we want to serve existing maps and not become a centralizing body, should we change the TransforMap name towards ‘TransforMapS’ and focus on showcasing the existing maps on a TransforMapS website?
- Such website would allow to discover an existing map that may fit your needs by filtering along themes (epic 1)
- or, if there isn’t anything that suits your needs, enable you to create one map with one click like Umap with per default an open license, using a data standard and the connection to the data commons/ecosystem of MMM (epic 2).
- On this ‘TransforMapS’ website, once could also use a maps viewer (and data importer for scientists) by adding its own selection of maps and seeing the points aggregated from many maps (something like http://wirbleibenalle.org/?page_id=2561) - epic 3.
- This website would need some kind of a TransforMaps Assembly that decides which maps should be listed on the website. This Assembly is made of activists who don’t have necessarily technical skills. (epic 4)
##MMM (or any other name that would make sense)
MMM is the community/collective of transformation mappers. MMM is the discussion place (an evolved version/section of this current forum - epic 5) for transformation mappers to develop inter-operability standards, APIs, vizualize their taxonomies/ontologies to find alignment, develop new icons, etc. This is a hub that will direct towards other collaboration platforms that suits specficic needs (Github, ontology server, …). This is where the data commons of alternative economies as well as the technical stack is being aggregated and (when needed) partly co-produced.
The MMM inventory of maps (http://mmm.3oe.de) would be (is) completely open (mini epic 6) No normative boundaries being set, just characteristics being specified (tech spec., licenses, normative characteristics…). From this crowd-sourced inventory, are chosen some maps to be displayed on TransforMaps.
#The issue of creating a new organization
We never really opened that discussion while we have often alluded to it (this also needs a specific discussion thread!). I believe that we need an independent organization to hold liabilities, trademarks, and manage funding in an independent manner, serving clear commons-oriented goals and identified constituencies (communities).
Form and governance: That would be a TransforMapS association or something similar (foundation maybe). Its membership should be mainly composed of the organizations/individuals that are active in mapping the transformation: the TransforMapS Assembly. New members would be coopted by the founding members.
Activities and mandate: It would not develop itself software, tools. It would subcontract service providers for the MMM forum, its website and vizualization tools, and give out mini grants to (MMM) mappers to build up shared infrastructure and develop inter-operability standards. It would have a mandate to raise funding and be mostly operated by volunteers. In its charter it would be clear that its goal is to support communities and individuals that are mapping the transformation by giving them visibility as well as contributing to a data commons and an open source mapping ecosystem.
Question to all: what do you think? (don’t be shy to answer on just small bits or the whole, or just tell me that it’s too cryptic )
Specific question to core contributors: How far can the current activities under SSEDAS and CHEST could be rescoped under such a rationale (in case it would receive support) - please distinguish the TransforMapS and MMM from the organization part, they are different issues.
ping to core contributors (check https://discourse.transformap.co/admin/users/list/active: some users have read thousands of posts: those are what I call “core contributors”) @almereyda @josefkreitmayer @Silke @species @gandhiano @toka …
… and wider community @SamRossiter @Giuliana @Luca @Wendy @wellemut @klaus @rene @EllenFriedman @daniel @Simon_Sarazin @TDoennebrink