jlevente’s Diary | Position statement for the 2023 OSM US Board Elections

By neub9
5 Min Read


mapper | scientist | human

TL;DR I am deeply involved in various aspects of OpenStreetMap (OSM). I am running for the OSM US board to expand my contributions beyond data creation, community organization, and research.

About me

I am Levente, originally from Hungary, now living in sunny South Florida for about a decade. I discovered OpenStreetMap in the early 2010s and was instantly captivated by it. It actually inspired me to pursue a career as a scientist, and much of my research is dedicated to understanding different aspects of the OSM project, its data, and its community. Now I am running for a seat on the OSM US Board to continue my longstanding commitment to the project in a new role.

During the day, I am a Research Assistant Professor and currently serve as the Assistant Director of GIScience at Florida International University. I also teach Environmental GIS there. Prior to FIU, I spent time at the University of Florida, earned my PhD in Geomatics, and held visiting appointments at various institutions. My industry experience includes working at Mapillary and serving as a full-stack GIS Developer. I have been an OsGeo Charter Member since 2023. While my background is in geography, my expertise extends into the computational and data-intensive side of the discipline, as well as computer science and data science.

My involvement in OSM

I understand that contributions to OSM are not limited to data creation. Below is a brief summary of the various ways I have been involved in OSM over the last 10+ years.

As a contributor

I made my first edit while in college, completing the street network of my village and neighboring areas in post-communist Hungary. Since then, I have continued to edit the map and have been instrumental in persuading organizations to release their data openly for OSM mapping and in data imports in Miami. My first SotM US was in 2015 in NYC.

As a community organizer and advocate

I recognized that South Florida was underrepresented in the OSM community and became involved with Maptime MIA, eventually becoming a co-organizer. I have been instrumental in organizing meetups and data imports. We are planning to re-launch activities in February 2024 with a sidewalk Mapathon with Meta (link TBD).

I have also been involved in the OSM Science conference series, aiming to promote the use of OSM in the sciences and build an active scientific community around it. I have had the privilege of co-chairing this initiative in 2019, 2020, 2022, and 2023. The latest proceedings are available here.

As a researcher

My research aims to understand the quality of OSM data and the community, delving into investigations such as cartographic vandalism, data fusion between OSM and Mapillary, or the use of generative AI as a mapping assistant. I have also conducted research on unconventional topics, such as Null Island. An interview about it by Bloomberg is available.

Plans as a member of the OSM US Board

My background and experience are diverse, and I plan to bring this to the OSM US Board if elected. I am an immigrant from Eastern Europe, with extensive academic and industry experience in the geospatial domain, and a deep commitment to open initiatives.

Specifically, my main contributions will be to:

  • Bring scientific rigor and data-driven insights into decision making

  • Create greater collaboration between US-based research and education institutions and encourage investigations using OSM data in different domains, as well as research into OSM data and community

  • Advocate for inclusion of marginalized communities as well as balance openness with indigenous data sovereignty

  • Actively listen to and work with the community

Thank you for considering me! You can connect with me online. OSM: jlevente. OSM Wiki: User:Jlevente. X: @juhaszlevi. LinkedIn: profile.


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