At the last SOSM board meeting we had a short discussion about membership levels and what kind of numbers that we should expect. The discussion led to two actions, on the one hand we decided that we would, as an experiment, mail all new contributors with a short welcome mail, and on the other hand it piqued my curiosity how many contributors we have historically had and what the current growth rates are (having the numbers handy tends to help when talking to the media too).
The last time I generated overall contributor numbers for Switzerland was a good two years ago and was then at over 6’000, the current number is just over 9’000. The value was generated from a full history extract of Switzerland from November 2013, further inspection of the extract shows that the oldest node in Switzerland was added on August the 15th, 2005. There may have been older anonymous contributions or contributions that were removed during the licence change, but this is the best date we have. This would indicate a growth rate of over 1’000 contributors per year, this number seems to be further supported by the 104 welcome mails we have sent to new mappers over the last 4 weeks.
Naturally Switzerland has a certain influx of non-domestic mappers, on the one hand due to neighbouring countries with strong OSM communities, on the other hand due to its popularity as a tourist destination. But as we know from a pure count point of view, larger, mobile mappers are a small minority and shouldn’t effect the above numbers significantly.