About Mapping and Web Mapping

by Dr. Charles Burnett, Common Ground Community Mapping Project / UVic Geography

Mapped representations of knowledge have power. When an individual's or a community's [assets/issues/history] are mapped, they gain legitimacy. And when a group identifies visions for the future using spatial tools, that vision gains currency. The map acts to reinforce common understanding of what issues are priorities, and to increase the momentum behind those [visions/actions] a community has identified.

Historically, mapping power has resided in the hands of the community's establishment and served to reinforce power and the status quo. Community Mapping turns this relationship around and allows stakeholders, including the disempowered, access to the map-creation/building/viewing process. ES student researchers aren't disempowered, but they have a passion for fighting for the rights of marginalized communities. We hope that they use these [community/collaborative] mapping skills post-UVic to change their worlds in positive (and ecologically sustainable) ways.

Web Mapping brings the power of mapping to a broad audience. Web-based maps are great ways of presenting data. And, as we have done on this web-site, web-based maps can also be useful for the collection of information. This website was built using open source software, including: Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP; the Drupal content management system; and the Geobrowser mapping module. With a bit of practice (!!!), the site is easy to use, and students can add a point on the map, select a category (which determines the icon design), add text and add images and multimedia files.

This "Web-Mapping for ES481" website is a tool for collective story telling, resource identification, and opportunity identification. It is a sandbox where student researchers can collect and present material on a theme selected for the exercise. This is the second web-mapping done by UVic ES students. The first web-map site can be found here: http://es341.geog.uvic.ca/.

When the ES481-S09 course is complete, we plan to submit the data to Ken Josephson (UVic Geography, Community Mapping Resource Centre) and he will add our posts to the larger University of Victoria On-line Community Green Map. The UVic Community Green Map has 200+ sites mapped by volunteers, covering categories from Green Spaces to Transit. Click on the image below to visit the UVic Green Map.


The UVic Community Green Map is a joint project of the Common Ground Community Mapping Project, the UVic Office of Sustainability & Planning, the UVic Geography Department, and the UVic Office of Community Based Research.

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