Resources for Civic Mapping: Toolkits and How-Tos

Some toolkits and how-tos for the CivicMaps Toolkit research file.

Title: Envisioning Development toolkits
Description: A set of 3 toolkits developed by the Center for Urban Pedagogy in NYC: Affordable Housing, Zoning, and Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (last two are in progress). All 3 relate to specific NYC policies. Affordable Housing toolkit includes a guidebook (“first-ever illustrated compendium of NYC affordable housing programs”, freely downloadable or puchaseable in book form), a felt chart for comparing and explaining affordable housing policies (purchaseable?), and an online map showing income demographics and rents in NYC.
External link:
Location: New York, NY 40.7142° N, 74.0064° W
Name of organization: Center for Urban Pedagogy
Category: toolkit and downloadable pdf guidebook
Tags: community organizing, policy, advocacy, analog

Title: Balloon Mapping
Description: Resources for taking aerial images and using them to make maps. Instructions, video tutorials and downloadable pdf guides for making balloon/kite mapping kits (basic kit is also purchaseable online) & for organizing sets of images and combining them as maps. PLOTS also developed open-source browser-based map-making software, MapKnitter.
External link:
Location: Cambridge, MA 42°22′25″N 71°06′38″W
Name of organization: Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science
Category: collection of web-based resources including pdf manual
Tags: research, citizen science, balloon mapping, aerial imagery, community organizing

Title: Maps for Advocacy: An Introduction to Geographical Mapping Techniques
Description: Extensive introduction to philosophical and practical aspects of mapping in relation to policy change directed at advocacy organizations. Starts with a great section of case studies, followed by a how-to section (“Tools and Technology”) and a section on data sources. At the back of the manual is a glossary, a graphic index, and a one-page guide to making a simple map.
External link:…
Location: Berlin, Germany 52.5233° N, 13.4127° E
Name of Organization: Tactical Technology Collective
Category: downloadable pdf guide
Tags: NGO, policy, advocacy, research, mobile, analog

Title: MAP-it
Description: A toolkit for physical mapping (ie, using paper) by stakeholder groups created by university research groups in Belgium in collaboration with arts and digital media centers. Mapping materials including a mapping icon set are available for purchase or download. This Cultivating Communities blogpost about artists who used & modified the toolkit is helpful.
External link to resource:
Location: Genk, Belgium 50.9667° N, 5.5000° E
Name of organization/company/individual: MAP-it is the result of a collaborative project between research group Social Spaces (Media, Arts & Design Faculty),Cultural Studies (University of Leuven), Z33 – house for contemporary art, the Expertise Center for Digital Media(UHasselt) and BAM. The project was made possible by IvOK funding.
Category: toolkit
Tags: university, research, arts, media, community organizing

Title: Noise Mapping Toolkit
Description: Toolkit developed to collect and map noise data. Developed by UK org, Mapping for Change, but can be applied elsewhere. Includes introduction to noise measurement, list of materials and suggested sources, instructions for using noise meters (as well as instructions for collecting noise data without them), and a brief guide to analyzing and presenting data.
External link:…
Location: London, UK 51.5171° N, 0.1062° W
Name of Organization: Mapping for Change (partnership of London 21 Sustainability Network and University College London)
Category: downloadable pdf manual
Tags: advocacy, community organizing, research, noise


Resources related to youth mapping:

Title: Mapped! A Youth Community Mapping Toolkit for Vancouver
Description: A resource manual for organizations who wish to engage youth in community planning and to introduce them to the planning profession. The PDF document includes guides for organizing workshops and for helping youth create guide books + case studies and “lessons learned & resources.”
External link to resource:…
Location (Lat/Long): Vancouver, BC 49.2505° N, 123.1119° W
Name of organization/company/individual: The International Centre for Sustainable Cities
Category: downloadable pdf manual
Tags: university, research, education, community organizing, youth

Title: UN Habitat Mapping Community Guide: A Youth Community Mapping Toolkit for East Africa
Description: 42-page guidebook explaining, advocating for, and suggesting resources, methods and materials for participatory mapping, especially “community asset mapping”, by youth groups in East Africa. Guidebook is directed at adults leading workshops with youth. Content shifts between specific instructions for leading workshops or gathering data to more general information about mapping. Methods discussed include “table-top mapping”, “technological mapping” (ie using GPS) and photovisioning (ie relating photos of a place to map data). Section 4 includes examples of completed mapping projects, Section 5 is about how maps can be shared and used to advocate for policy change.
External link to resource:…
Location (Lat/Long): Nairobi, Kenya 1° 00′ N and 38° 00′ E
Name of organization/company/individual: UN Habitat (United Nations Human Settlements Programme)
Category (software (downloadable, online), toolkit): downloadable pdf manual (with Scribd account)
Tags: research, education, community organizing, policy, advocacy

Title: uMAP
Description: Website developed by University of Colorado planning professor that provides resources for “adult facilitators” of participatory mapping projects by youth groups. In general, website and linked resources offer nothing new, but there are some interesting projects under “Map Gallery” and “Projects.” Tagline, “the truth about your community.” In English and Spanish.
External link:
Location: Denver, CO 39.7392° N, 104.9842° W
Name of organization/individual: Dr. Pamela J. Wridt, Children / Youth and Environments Center for Research & Design, College of Architecture & Planning, University of Colorado Denver
Category: website
Tags: youth, community organizing, education, city planning


Open-source mapping software I encountered while looking into toolkits and how-tos:

Title: Shareabouts
Description: Web application for crowdsourced mapping, intended to be customized by users for specific purposes, ex. collecting input on suitable locations for a bikeshare program, etc.
External Link:
Location: New York, NY 40.7142° N, 74.0064° W
Name of organization: Civic Works group at OpenPlans
Category: open-source software
Tags: crowdsourcing, mobile, advocacy, community organizing

Title: Modest Maps
Description: “Lightweight javascript library for designers and developers who want to use interactive maps in their own projects.”
External link:
Name of organization: MapBox, bloom, stamen

Title: Zee Maps
Description: Free web-based map-making software. Upgradeable but there is a lot of functionality is in the free version. So say the testimonials.
External link:
Name of organization: Zee Source


Some organizations that seem like they should have relevant stuff but don’t:

Policy Link, “national research and action institute” that promotes social and economic equity, has a collection of 27 interesting but outdated equitable development toolkits, including a Community Mapping toolkit last updated in 2002.

Community Youth Mapping, a national organization with an outdated website that supports youth mapping in the form of “canvassing the neighborhood” to find places to go and things to do they would not otherwise have known about.

Center for Community Mapping in New Jersey, “empowering public and communities with mapping technology.” No toolkits, how-tos, or case studies on their website.