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Alex Barth

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    The following blog post is written by Alex Barth, data lead at MapBox, a Knight News Challenge winner. Photo credit: Justin Miller. Over the weekend of June 8 - 9, the annual State of the Map U.S. conference will bring together OpenStreetMap users from all over the world in San Francisco. This will be the largest OpenStreetMap gathering to date and Knight-funded OpenStreetMap infrastructure improvements will be a key topic. OpenStreetMap, the free and editable map of the world, is in a phase of unprecedented growth. Earlier this year, the project passed the 1 million registered user threshold. This was just a little over a year after it passed the 500,000 user mark. Every week the project adds over 1,000 new mappers. Together they are creating the most comprehensive free and open map of the world, powering applications in humanitarian aid, government, the news and businesses. This growth creates new challenges and opportunities for the community-run infrastructure of OpenStreetMap.org. This is why the Knight Foundation's $575,000 grant to improve OpenStreetMap infrastructure is so timely. A direct outcome of this investment is the launch of a new OpenStreetMap editor earlier this month, radically improving the learning curve for newcomers to OpenStreetMap while providing a powerful and fast tool to advanced mappers. The editor is entirely built with open source software.