Saturday, September 24, 2011

What is Volunteered Geographic Information/Crowdsourcing?

Shawn Simpson explores the definition and use cases for volunteered geographic information in public safety and local government.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Amazon Mapping

The New Social Cartography Project of the Amazon collaborates with indigenous and other communities in Brazil to map their territories, combining traditional knowledge with scientific, legal and policy expertise. More than 100 communities have taken part so far—mapping more than a million hectares, or 2.5 million acres. This video is an example of how one map was made. Learn more by visiting the

Source: Amazon Mapping from Ford Foundation

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Interview with Leonard Odambo, President of the Indigenous Peoples Association, MINAPYGA, Ikobé, Gabon.

Leonard Odambo, President of MINAPYGA talks about how participatory mapping is supporting community rights in Gabon (in French). Second in size only to the Amazon, the Congo Basin rainforest is a vital regulator of regional climate, a carbon store of global significance and a massive reserve of biodiversity, hosting over 10,000 species of plants, 1,000 species of birds and 400 species of mammals. It is also home to up to 40 million forest dependent people including an estimated 500,000 indigenous "Pygmies", characterized by a largely hunter-gatherer, semi-nomadic existence.

For more information please visit
Read also: Redessiner sa forêt en 3D

Launch of the Participatory Mapping Project in the CAR

Emmanuel Bizot, Minister of Water, Forests, Hunting and Fishing for the Central African Republic speaks at the launch of the participatory mapping project that seeks to literally and figuratively put CAR indigenous peoples on the map.

The Minister speaks about the benefit of collaborative actions between governmental and non-governmental organisations and the need to include indigenous people in the policy-making process. He acknowledges the need to recognise and respect the rights of indigenous people over utilisation and management of the natural resources of the forests in which they live.

For more information please visit

A Participatory Video made by Chivoko Village, Solomon Islands

Conservation Story Blong Chivoko" was made by the men and women of the remote coastal village of Chivoko, accessible only by sea on the north-west tip of Choiseul Island, one of the Solomon Islands. Chivoko's tribal land is one of the last remaining intact and unlogged forests in the Solomon islands. Their reefs are important spawning sites for the grouper fish which come to lay their eggs every year for 2 months around May. Their story is an insight into the problems they are facing with increased pressure from logging companies, increasing population, declining forest and marine resources, and ensuing climate change. They provide solutions which may help other Solomon Island and other communities around the world, to also safeguard the abundance of resources for future generations to come ...

More information on a Participatory 3D Model done in Chivoko village in 2009 is available here.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

E-Book launch: Participatory GIS and Land Planning

Dr Françoise Orban-Ferauge, or Françoise to many of her friends in the Philippines, will be launching her e-book "PGIS and Land Planning: Life Experiences for People Empowerment and Community Transformation" on 23 August 2011 at the University of Saint La Salle in Bacolod City.

The book highlights the effectiveness of "participation" as the key ingredient of good Participatory Geographic Information Systems (PGIS) practice. It positively invites the reader to reflect about it through the sharing of a range of experiences and case studies. Learning from numerous applications mainly led by the author in the Philippines, this e-book aims to clarify the notions of Participatory Geography, People's Empowerment, Quadripartite Partnership, and Power Sharing, in an action-oriented research that highlights the use of GIS. The role and responsibility of the scientists are analyzed, facing the ethical challenges and the limits of the approach.

PGIS practice is about empowering ordinary people in adding value and authority to their spatial knowledge through the use of geographic information technologies and maps as a media to effectively communicate by increasingly using Web 2.0 applications and related multimedia.

Dr Orban-Ferauge was awarded the 2008 Signum Lasallanum Award for her passion and energy for co-development that bridges technology with social advancement and generates hope and synergy among many international communities and partners. She recently retired as the Head of the Department of Geography, University of Namur in Belgium but continues to actively engage with Philippine-based research organizations. At ESSC, she continues to support and actively engage with the Institute's work in upland communities and resource management.

The e-book was written in collaboration with V. Aguilar, E. Alarcon, A. Carmona, N. Daix, B. Denil, A. Ignacio, J. Martinez, M. McCall, G. Miscione, E. Olivarez, M. Pandan, G. Rambaldi, R. Teruel, and J. Verplanke.

Download a pdf version of the book.

Mediating voices and communicating realities: Using information crowdsourcing tools, open data initiatives and digital media to support and protect the vulnerable and marginalised

This report published by IDS, investigates how the next generation of information and communication technologies (ICTs) — such as open mapping and open source crowdsourcing platforms — can empower vulnerable communities and build local capacity.

It is based on an investigation of how initiatives such as Map Kibera, an online community information source based in Kenya, contribute to creating shared information resources. The empirical data also provide insights into the hurdles and opportunities facing marginalised communities using these innovative communication tools. The report also presents results from interviews of leaders of ICT initiatives deployed to support post-reconstruction efforts in Haiti.

It outlines the challenges of using ICT for development, including the need to balance short-term individual benefits with longer-term agendas and the responsibility of those in charge to build trusting relationships to diffuse tensions emerging from free information sharing.

The study highlights the role of open-source social entrepreneurs as a new development actor, and the opportunities for collaboration between development and technology practitioners. The report suggests a follow-up research agenda to build upon this initial investigation.

Click here to download the document.

Monday, September 05, 2011

The Manus MOSAIC - Participatory 3D modeling for climate change adaptation across Manus Province, Papua New Guinea

At the Manus Province Climate Change Seminar ‘Manus Way Forward’, October 2010, over 70 participants presented and shared experiences, expertise and ideas on how to adapt to climate change impacts. As part of the recommendations, representatives from the Provincial Government suggested using Participatory 3D modeling (P3DM) as a tool to help convene stakeholders and discuss province-wide responses to climate change impacts that would support and build on local efforts and scale-up impacts and opportunities.

In particular, the tool was proposed as a way to initiate discussion on a protected area network for Manus, the Manus ‘MOSAIC’. The exercise would be an initial step in outlining the spatial coverage of key ecosystem services, such as watersheds, reefs and mangroves, and representing and discussing opportunities for strengthened management of these areas under a future of climate change, and in the context of social and economic development for the province. The opportunity to involve local stakeholders from all LLG jurisdictions in this process will help develop a roadmap for the development of a Manus ‘MOSAIC’ protected area network.

Participatory 3D modelling

Participatory 3D modelling (P3DM) is a fully collaborative exercise that combines community mapping with open discussions on land-use and land-use planning scenarios.  It combines geographic precision with local, individual spatial knowledge and ‘mind-maps’ of locality and familiar settings.  During a P3DM exercise, all participants contribute to make a physical, hands-on wood-and paper model, to scale, of their community, island or area. This is typically made on a large table in the centre of a meeting hall, school or other public place. Once the model is made, then people become ‘resource persons’ and informants, and everyone will contribute to placing features and places onto the model. Key informants, such as elders and experienced fishermen or foresters, will offer their view of past events, of boundaries, of key localities and times for certain activities, and these can be discussed, and learned, by all participants.

Below is the video produced during the Solomon Islands event in February 2011.

In this way, the model is more than just a map, it is a representation of spatial knowledge of the participants, and a source of discussion and interpretation around key issues.

Proposed area of Manus to be represented by the P3DM exercise (Map by Nate Peterson, TNC)
Although one key objective of this exercise is to plan for protection and restoration of key natural features, and to plan for possible climatic changes, other issues that are important to the province and the participating communities can be discussed in the same context. Furthermore, the model and the information can be used again, and again, for collaborative discussions and planning on key development issues. Digital GIS can be extracted from the model, and vice-versa, to aid and inform future discussions.  In this way, scientific information can be easily communicated and integrated with local knowledge and understanding.

Activity overview

The P3DM exercise will take place over a two-week period, from Monday 29th August to Friday 9th September. The first week will be dedicated to constructing the blank relief model, working closely with the local high-schools schools in Lorengau to allow students the opportunity to have a hands-on lesson in geography. It will also allow those participants interested in training / learning how to carry out a P3DM the opportunity to get involved.

The second week will concentrate on making the blank model come alive. Participants from all areas of Manus, and with all technical and local backgrounds, will discuss and add information to the model, including point data (features such as houses, schools, waterfalls, caves etc), line data (roads, streams, rivers, tracks, paths, boundaries, fences, cables, runways etc) and area data (polygons, such as mangroves, forest concession areas, reef flats, beaches, airports etc). Local knowledge on boundaries and features from participants from each part of Manus will contribute to an overall local picture of the province. Official and technical data can also be cross-referenced with local understanding, and represented on the model.

Towards the end of the second week, a facilitated discussion will focus on key issues, including ecosystem services and existing and proposed protected areas; current and proposed development activities (mining, forest concessions, urban and commercial expansion); and information related to predicted climate change impacts.

Future discussions on the proposed Manus MOSAIC protected area network can build on this initial analysis and use the 3D model for further participatory mapping.

General objectives of the Manus MOSAIC P3DM:

The P3DM exercise will enable all participants:
  • To learn and understand Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in an open, hands-on and accessible way
  • To participate in spatial planning for their own area as well as for the whole province
  • To identify planned developments and trends in land-use change, and assessing the impacts of these changes on key ecosystem services
  • To open a discussion on climate change impacts and how to integrate adaptation into spatial planning at local and provincial scales
  • To discuss management and protection measures for key ecosystem services in the context of scaling-up beyond local efforts to ensure the best network of connectivity in conservation and adaptation efforts for the whole province
Author: James Hardcastle, The Nature Conservancy
Source: Eldis Communities | blog