my avatartmpod

An Organic Summer

GSoC x OrganicMaps

May 15, 2024

TL;DR: I’ve been accepted into GSoC 2024, to work on alternate routes for OrganicMaps :D

As much as I dislike Google for their monopolistic and privacy invasive practices, among other things, one thing they tend to do nicely is their Summer of Code program, targeted at students and first time FOSS contributors. Through it, people can work on a public project, gaining experience while also helping the community.

I’ve wanted to participate ever since I entered university, but never really thought I’d be able to get in, for some reason. This year, I was looking for stuff to do during summer, something that would give me more experience in the field and my brother suggested GSoC once again. While I had been quick to discard that option before, now I was in the first year of my Master’s degree, which meant I may (or may not) be considered a “student” much longer, so I figured it was about time to give it a shot.

The idea was brewing, but due to a lot of course work and projects going on at the time, I put it in the background. After finishing most of that, I finally opened Google’s website and… My heart skipped a beat – the proposal deadline was in less than a week! 💀
Quickly, I went through the registered organization list and reduced it to 10 or so. After going through their idea lists, I picked my top 3:

However, due to the very tight deadline, I ended up discarding KDE and GCC. It is recommended to discuss your proposal with the maintainers and possible mentors before applying, and a quick glance at KDE’s and GCC’s mailing lists told me a lot of people were already lined up. :(

OrganicMaps’ proposal ideas were all very interesting, but one in particular caught my eye – alternate routes – which matched my specialization well (algorithms and performance optimization).

I swiftly typed a nice e-mail and sent it to OM’s maintainers, eagerly awaiting their response. I’ve been a long time OpenStreetMap and OrganicMaps user and contributor, making this an incredibly exciting prospect! I what love the community has accomplished, and I think OSM and its apps are an amazing community service.

To my genuine surprise, their response was not only quite prompt, but also very positive and welcoming! With a growing smile, I exchanged some more messages with them and finally composed and submitted my proposal.

In the beginning of May, I got the much awaited confirmation – I was in!

This is going to be an exciting and very fruitful summer, no doubt. 😃 I will likely be posting more about my experience, as well as my final report.