OpenStreetMap describes itself as "a project that creates and distributes free geographic data for the world. We started it because most maps you think of as free actually have legal or technical restrictions on their use, holding back people from using them in creative, productive, or unexpected ways [...] The main way that users participate in OpenStreetMap is by editing the map. With a free user account, you can make improvements to the map that fix issues and add data for everyone".
It was initiated by a non-governmental organisation/charity and encourages people to participate through an online platform and research & learning. OpenStreetMap is global in orientation and concerned with research, knowledge production & information access.
It was launched in August 2004 and is ongoing. Over 1 million people are involved.