Experimenting with reblogging some worthwhile posts.
Since its inception, Stories of the Susquehanna has been a collaborative, interdisciplinary digital project that has at its core a geospatial interface. What started out as historical/cultural mapping of the Native American landscapes of the Susquehanna in ArcMap Desktop with maps published in static image format (as discussed in the interviews of me and Emily Bitely) has evolved through the iterations of ESRI’s software development.
About a week ago, one of our Digital Scholarship Coordinators and SSV project manager, Diane Jakacki pointed to to the fact that ESRI was now publishing apps. At first skeptical, I proceeded to delve further into the Collector app and battled my way through tutorials designed for insurance adjusters gathering data in the field (no, I don’t need fields labeled “Habitable” or “Partially Destroyed”) to create a feature layer that could be added to any map in ArcMap online. This feature layer was supposed to be…
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A NYT story about students from Harvard documenting locations and types of toilets available in a Mumbai slum.
“The act of naming streets, counting citizens and mapping facilities turns information into an advocacy tool.”
But what was unexpected, that using toilets lowered some rates of sickness, or that even the poorest of people would pay 2-3 cents to enjoy a cleaner site?
I’ve just completed Day 1 of a SPACIT meeting, the semi-annual gathering of partners working on this Comenius funded project. Very interesting ideas coupled with very ambitious plans! Combining GIS&T, geography, philosophy, politics, the act of “participating” – or engagement, pedagogy and teacher professional development, communication, and other technology, especially via geomedia. Here’s a recent paper, GI and Spatial Citizenship (pdf) authored by 3 of the lead partners, Inga Gryl, Thomas Jekel, and Karl Donert.
I’m contributing on behalf of NCGE, and I have much to learn from these discussions. And did I mention we’ve gathered in Salzburg, Austria, at the university where the GI Forum and AGIT is about to happen? Geo everywhere.
A recent blog entry by my friend Meg Stewart reminded me of the work that Aly DeGraff is doing in the Grenadines. I remember hearing about Aly a few years ago. We both went to Middlebury College (go Panthers!), where colleagues of mine in the geography department talked about her skills and motivation as she went through her years there.
Aly is now finishing up her year-long program of participatory mapping in the Grenadines. After catching up on her blog entries, I just have to say that I’m really impressed with the focus, professionalism, and confidence with which she’s pursuing this work. I haven’t done much mapping of this type myself, but my little forays as part of projects and workshops over the years have clearly shown me that one must accept the process even more than the product as a metric of success. I also know that I *never* could have done this type of work on my own at that age, even with the help of a mentor. Kudos to the Compton Foundation for funding these projects. Go, Aly, go!
Projects like these also remind me of geodesign processes, which I’ve thought a lot more about in the last year since I helped to edit Carl Steinitz’s forthcoming Esri Press book on A Framework for Geodesign. Participation from “the people of the place” are a defining characteristic of geodesign, and how that’s implemented looks different in every situation. The case studies in Carl’s book range along a spectrum of size and scale, but all involved larger support teams than Aly’s work. Another reason which I find her progress so enjoyable and remarkable.
My colleague Patrick Meier tweeted about the effort to crowdsource sea floor images, evaluating the images to ascertain population counts of sea scallops. It reminded me of similar citizen science efforts at validating land cover, and folding proteins. I remember that the Jane Goodall Institute is also contributing to or managing another forest / land cover effort too, but can’t find it right now.
Patrick has written about such efforts in the humanitarian realm as well.
It takes a village + geospatial technologies = progress.