luiscape's blog

CivicMaps Toolkit: wrapping up the semester at CMS-860

This semester was a blast studying at Civic. I took Sasha Costanza-Chock's Introduction to Civic Media where we studied a series of civic engagement aspects that include media (in a large sense). One of the objective of the course is to get students to work on a civic media project their are passionate about and present the results in the end of the semester. In my case, I decided to work with the CivicMaps Toolkit.

For me, maps are really important for civic engagement. For a while I've been focusing on how the application of technology and innovation can enhance humanitarian action. It is well-known for many how the field changed drastically during the Haiti earthquake response. It was then when the Crisis Mapping community became internationally recognized for using new tools that included social media, networked collaboration and online crowdsourcing to collect, analyze and share information on where to send responders. I am a member of the Crisis Mappers community since then.

Five Resources for Civic Mapping

Title: KoBoMap
Featured Image: http://www.kobotoolbox.org/sites/m/images/KoBoMap_0.png
Description: KoBoMap is part of the KoBo Toolbox, a set of open-source tools for data collection and analysis currently under development at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. Probably the greatest thing about KoBo is that it has the limited internet connectivity in mind in all its products, adding offline syncing capabilities to all of them. In essence, you can collect, analyze, sync and map your data without having access to the internet.
External Link: http://www.kobotoolbox.org/products/kobomap
Location: Cambridge, MA (42.373939,-71.122624)
Name of Organization: KoBo Toolbox currently developed at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
Category: Toolkit (containing mobile apps, software and online platforms)
Tags: research, data collection, survey, offline capabilities

Four Tools for Civic Mapping

Last weekend (Oct. 11 through 14) was filled with enormous amounts of maps and data at the International Conference of Crisis Mappers (ICCM). Every year the conference gathers enthusiasts, professionals, geeks and wonks from everywhere to discuss humanitarian (information) technology to its best. New ideas were proposed, demos shown, a simulation took place, and a hackaton coded its way away. In a beautiful way, ICCM this year was an spectacular meeting overflowing with passion, creativity and hard work. 

Building Change, One Map at a Time*

 

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we not only have immeasurable amounts of information available about the human experience in the planet, but are generating much more than we can possibly digest. The suggestive term “digital exhaust” is a common description of that phenomenon in today’s academic literature.

Building Change, One Map at a Time*

 

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we not only have immeasurable amounts of information available about the human experience in the planet, but are generating much more than we can possibly digest. The suggestive term “digital exhaust” is a common description of that phenomenon in today’s academic literature.

Creating a Civic Maps Toolkit for Grassroots Mapping Projects

 

Civic Mapping or, in other words, mapping information for civic engagement, has taken quite an interesting turn in the last few years. Technology has become more accessible and data more available, but the essential difference is that there is a growing interest in using maps to display information.

Maps can be great aids to decision-making as we all know very well. They have been used many times throughout the history of humanity, and probably one of its most important elements is that maps give a spatial reference to information, giving decision-makers great insights. On that regard, with so much data available nowadays, the barrier to contextualize information spatially has diminished, and much more data can be put into a map.

Basic Elements for a Connected Society

It is important to debate digital inclusion because having access to the digital world opens virtually infinite possibilities for humans to question, build and eventually change their reality. The digital society has brought humanity together more than any other invention in human kind. Providing equal access to all humans is among the most fundamental achievements necessary for a fairer planet. Regrettably, providing digital inclusion isn't yet a priority for many. In this blog post I discuss the most basic elements necessary to provide a society with the access to the digital world and how those principles are not met in my home city: La Habana, Cuba.

In very few words digital inclusion requires (at least) three elements on its side to take place: (a) existing infrastructure, (b) a permissive socio-economic environment, and (c) a favorable public decision-making/political structure.

First Impressions on Civic Media

 

My name is Luis Capelo (http://www.luiscapelo.info/) and as a Master in Public Policy focusing on Science and Technology at the Harvard Kennedy School, Intro to Civic Media could not be more stimulating – and challenging. My framework of analysis has been crafted to think of innovation, technology and development from the perspective of the policy-maker; from the side of big institutions or governments. In that framework the understood as ‘the public’ – the “civic” in civic media – is the end objective of policies or, at its best, a mass to be surveyed, that provides some sort of validation mechanism for the policies being designed – after all, if people do not make use of the policies so carefully planned, time and resources were wasted. Civic Media is not quite about that for a number of reasons.