The purpose of this guide is to learn how to use community mapping. Community mapping encapsulates the entire spectrum of maps created to support social and economic change at the community level, from low-tech, hand-drawn paper maps to high-tech, database driven, internet maps that are dynamic and interactive. This process is unique because it needs to involve the community, which allows community members to contribute their knowledge to the mapping process. It is also a valuable way of reaching out to disenfranchised individuals in the community.

1Step 1
Creating/Gathering the Map Data

The community creates and gathers information for the map, which can include points of interest, the number of personnel in different places, and the different routes one takes to important destinations in the community, etc.

2Step 2
Editing the Map Data

The community collaboratively edits the map data, which may involve technical training on mapping tools from local NGOs, universities, or other similar organizations.

3Step 3
Sharing the Mapped Information

The information is shared openly; however, the community may decide not to make certain parts of the community map public. Communities should be made aware of possible risks or privacy concerns around sharing personal information.

4Step 4
Using the Community Map

The biggest challenge is getting communities to use the map; however, many people who have used maps in local development can support community mapping. Strategies to get community members to use the map include storytelling and media around the data through tools for online expression. The mapping also can be part of a larger participatory development, local planning, or advocacy process.