Grassroots Mapping

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= Grassroots Mapping is a series of participatory mapping projects involving communities in cartographic dispute, started by Jeffrey Warren of the MIT Media Lab’s Center for Future Civic Media. [1]



"Are you embroiled in an cartographic dispute? Do you disagree with the official version of your geography? Contact us through the public mailing list or get in direct touch with our team to start a grassroots mapping project today!

Grassroots Mapping is part of the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science, founded by a group of activists, educators, technologists, and community organizers interested in new ways to promote action, intervention, and awareness through a participatory research model.

We're now trying to learn from our balloon mapping experiences to develop new DIY tools with a variety of local communities. This is an open community and you are welcome to join, and encouraged to contribute!"


"This January 2010, Jeff Warren worked with a series of organizations and communities to produce maps with children and adults from several communities in Lima, including the Cantagallo settlement of Shipibo on the bank of the Rimac and the Juan Pablo II community in Villa El Salvador.

Seeking to invert the traditional power structure of cartography, the grassroots mappers used helium balloons and kites to loft their own "community satellites" made with inexpensive digital cameras. The resulting images, which are owned by the residents, are georeferenced and stitched into maps which are 100x higher resolution that those offered by Google, at extremely low cost. In some cases these maps may be used to support residents' claims to land title. By creating open-source tools to include everyday people in exploring and defining their own geography, we hopes to enable a diverse set of alternative agendas and practices, and to emphasize the fundamentally narrative and subjective aspects of mapping over its use as a medium of control." (