Guerilla Cartography

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= publishers of the Food Atlas and Water Atlas



Kevin Stark:

"The California-based nonprofit group, Guerrilla Cartography, is set to publish its second collection of crowdsourced maps, called "Water: An Atlas." The group's first atlas project, which was published in January of 2013, was geared at the global distribution of food. The project, "Food: An Atlas," explores the geography of food. It is vibrant and covers a number of topics, including "The World According to Chile Peppers" and "Food Insecurity and Indigenous Communities in Canada's North."

Guerrilla Cartography, which launched in 2012, was founded on the idea that cooperation and knowledge-sharing "could have a transformative effect on the awareness and dissemination of spatial information."

Molly Roy is a co-founder and board member of Guerrilla Cartography, and she says their method is different from the traditional process of atlas making, which can be a rigid and lengthy process. The Guerrilla Cartography atlas books showcase content crowdsourced from mapmakers around the world.

"The crowdsourced content is curated by the contributors themselves," Roy says. "Whatever is going on in the world right now, that is what the atlas becomes." She says that a traditional atlas is typically made by a handful of cartographers who are working with a single mindset: "The publisher usually has a strong say in what can be included. With [crowdsourced content] there is just so much room for creativity and collaboration. The process is dynamic and there is a lot of learning — it's less top down." Roy is also a professional mapmaker who runs her own cartography business.

Darin Jensen, the group's co-founder and president, says he's excited about the many different ideas showcased in the upcoming water atlas — some maps show water as a resource, while others show it as a physical place and a habitat.

"Life on our planet is dependent on water," Jensen says. "Water separates people and it can bring people together. I've been amazed by how much thinking there is around the way people use and abuse water."

The atlas will include more than 80 maps cooperatively produced by volunteer mapmakers from around the world, and it will show "water trends, usage issues and global events." (