Participants in community-based mapping are not only documenting their community assets in a powerful, digital format, they are also gaining practical technical skills in how to create and leverage map data and building connections with others interested in new technologies and open information.
Open digital map data, freely available to civil society, public and private sectors, can be an economic multiplier for local development by creating:
- Better transparency in government planning for civil services
- Better relief and reporting for humanitarian efforts
- Enhanced efficiencies in private markets
- Generation of job opportunities around creating, maintaining and leveraging map data
Street mapping has a strong nexus to JumpStart as its founder, Sean O’Sullivan, was among the first to develop computer-based street mapping while a college student in the mid-1980s and built his company, MapInfo, into one of the leaders of this important market in the early 1990s.
Follow JumpStart’s mapping at the program blog here.
JumpStart’s economic and skill development opportunities in under-resourced communities expanded to include community mapping in 2008, when we began mobilizing and training teams to map the West Bank, and in 2009, Gaza, creating the first-ever public domain geographic data set for Palestine.
Also in 2009, JumpStart supported mapping of Kibera, a community of one million people living in a slum of Nairobi, Kenya.
In September 2009, JumpStart provided seed funding for a mapping project in the Shida Kartli region of the Republic of Georgia. The group engaged in mapping Shida Kartli became the foundation for Open Maps Caucasus, which evolved into JumpStart Georgia.
At the time, public street data did not exist for Georgia. JumpStart led a community-driven campaign in 2009-2010 to map all the streets in the country. Following its success, JumpStart provided the data to Google Maps, OpenStreetMap and Nokia, seeding common digital mapping platforms with a comprehensive dataset, allowing Georgians to participate in the world of map data tools.
See how Georgia’s map data grew over the course of a year here.