Gender Performance in OSM Mapping, Does It Matter?

Zainab Ramadhanis

Playlists: 'sotm2020' videos starting here / audio

Plenty of research about behavioural differences between men and women for years ago. According to a scientific article in 2013 by Lewis, on average women may have better verbal memory and social cognition, whereas men may have better motor and spatial skills. Moreover, spatial skill is really needed for mapping, especially as a mapper volunteer in OSM that everyone can make their own map. It also has been known that male mappers more dominate OSM mapping than female mappers. Nevertheless, in some mapper communities, the number of female mappers more than male mappers, for example in Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team Indonesia. 19 from 30 mappers in HOT Indonesia are female, yet does it affect the performance and quality of mapping in OpenStreetMap?

It is true that men mappers more dominate OpenStreetMap (OSM) mapping than women mappers. Some mapper communities have the number of female mappers than males mappers. For instance in Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team Indonesia (HOT Indonesia), 19 from 30 mappers in HOT Indonesia are female. Moreover, it is a fact that men and women have some behavioural differences and it might affect their working performance, especially in OSM mapping. According to the number of changesets, addition, deletion and modification in OSM mapping that tracked through OSMCha, it can be seen the difference between female and male mappers when they are mapping some objects in OSM.

OSMCha offers many features for reviewing OSM, one of the features is to review a changeset and mapper details that include the mapper username, the number of changesets that mapper has contributed in OSM. Besides, it has changeset-map for visualising of changeset on OSM and the addition, deletion, and modification can be seen by other OSM users. Thus, through those data, it can be seen how is the difference between females and males when they are contributing data in OSM, also how the quality of OSM map that they create. I believe, those differences can be helpful for creating better data for OSM and invite another female to contribute in OSM.