maps

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.

VIDEO: Civic Media Session: "Civic Maps"

Laura Kurgan, Pablo Rey

Maps, Geographic Information Systems, and spatial analysis are powerful tools that recently have become increasingly accessible to non-specialists. Dynamic maps with user created content are becoming part of daily life in the 1/3 world (developed countries and elites in the global South). There is a long history of maps as tools for civic engagement, with public participatory GIS and community engaged mapping playing key roles in (for example) indigenous land rights struggles, mapping health disparities, and the environmental justice movement's demonstration of the unequal spatial distribution of pollution. Most recently, new tools and platforms like Open Street Maps and Grassroots Mapping are democratizing maps even further.

What challenges still constrain the effective creation and use of Civic Maps? What tools and platforms are most promising? What steps can developers, practitioners, and researchers take to help build the field of civic mapping?

Download or watch below.

AT PBS IDEALAB: Helium Balloons with Digital Cameras Create Grassroots Maps

The latest C4FCM post from the Idea Lab blog:

NuVu Boston harbor flight

I'm getting ready for day five of a two-week workshop for high schoolers at Beaver Country Day School in a suburb of Boston. The subject is my project, Grassroots Mapping, which helps teach people -- often young people -- around the world how to be activist cartographers and how to make their own maps. There's a twist, however: Instead of just marking a Google Map, or walking around with a GPS tracker, we construct simple capsules to hold a cheap digital camera, and send the whole package up on a helium balloon or a kite.

Bike maps: Triumph of corporate solutions over grassroots?

Today, Google Maps is rolling out bicycle directions:
http://www.wired.com/autopia/2010/03/google-maps-for-bikes

There are a number of existing bike map providers, many of which have grown through community-provided, crowd-sourced data. One could argue that these projects have struggled to garner sufficient participation to really take off:

Now, all at once, Google is offering bike maps in 150 cities with relatively comprehensive routes. As the Wired article states, "No longer do [bikers] have to rely upon paper maps or open-source DIY map hacking...."