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Ten years of HOT, for me this has been 7.5 years of involvement with HOT. I found HOT while browsing the OSM wiki looking for ways to contribute. My first edits would probably not pass Ralph Aytoun’s eyes today (nor would I be happy with them), my first tasks on the Tasking Manager (version 2 at the time) got invalidated and I had to deal with a certain level of frustration. But after some practicing my work improved. After a while project managers contacted me asking me if I wanted to tackle some more difficult jobs.

These were the times when HOT led some import projects in Africa, mostly points of interest or roads collected by humanitarian organizations on the ground. Project managers in those days were Séverin Menard and Rafael Ávila Coya - they taught me a lot about tools and practices. These were also the times when HOT did not yet attract that many contributors. Hard to believe nowadays! Have a look at Tasking Manager project 1299 and find out which ‘crowd’ was contributing…

I saw the rise in contributors and the associated problems with data quality, even more so when I started validating projects. I figured that we needed to improve guidance and support for new contributors. In the end this introduced me to the Training Working Group, which in those days was led by Nick Allen. LearnOSM would not be where it is today without him.

In 2016 I attended my first conferences, the HOT Summit and SotM in Brussels and for the first time met all those people in person. Personal contacts greatly enhance mutual understanding and are something I sorely miss this year.

What is the gist of my story? If you are new to all this then don’t worry if not everything works according to plan. Errors are meant to teach you how to improve. After a while you will. And with some experience please find ways how to help others with less experience. Get involved with working groups and help to sustain the success of HOT over the next ten years.

Michael Heißmeier, August 2020