luiscape | MIT Center for Civic Media

Recent blog posts by luiscape

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
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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:
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.