Participatory methods: multimedia mapping

Multimedia mapping is close to the traditional method of transmitting information in spoken form and is suitable for both internal and external participants. Method increases community cohesion and capacity through new knowledge and skills. It includes questionnaires, interviews, participatory video, sound recordings, traditional music, language, or a description of the area through the stories of tribal elders. Created multimedia is subsequently connected to a digital map that can be stored online and offline mode.

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Participatory methods: grassroots mapping

Grassroots mapping can be described as a low cost method of obtaining aerial photographs. As a carrier sensor it uses either a balloon filled with helium (if the wind speed is no more than 10 km/h) or kite flying (at higher wind speeds) (, 2010). It could be argued that this is merely a variation on the UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), however, this approach is more useful for small community projects, mainly for its simplicity and low operating costs.

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Participatory methods: GPS Mapping

GPS mapping is one of the methods that already require sophisticated technical tools and technical literacy. In this case, at least the GPS unit and a device for storing and visualizing data – mostly computer. GPS unit can record location in the form of points or lines.

This methods belongs to the group of methods, that places greater knowledge and skill barriers at the user. GPS mapping may be used for the collection of new information (, 2013) or to verify information obtained during some of the less technology-intensive methods (Ground mappingSketch mapping or Transect Walk) (Panek & Vlok, 2013).

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Participatory methods: Photo Mapping

Photo Mapping, like Scale Mapping is a method that uses existing data as a basis in the process of community mapping. Unlike Scale mapping it is not using the classical topographic map, but as the underlying map is used the aerial photograph of the area (Müller & Wode, 2003). Aerial images are more suitable for outside observers, since the majority of users  can operate with them without difficulty. (Vlok & Panek, 2012). Continue reading

Participatory methods: Scale Mapping

Another section about participatory methods will focus on Scale mapping, which is a method of plotting information to already existing basic maps of the area, where the basemap is serving only as background information. Local spatial knowledge can be collected via interviews or can be recorded directly on the map. Locating is done by observing the surroundings, but can involve other (exact) instruments – compass or GPS measurements. Continue reading

Community mapping in urban informal settlements: examples from Nairobi, Kenya

Recently, me and my colleague Lenka Sobotová wrote a paper for The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries called “Community mapping in urban informal settlements: examples from Nairobi, Kenya”. Our aim was to compare two participatory mapping projects, that were realized (not by us) in Nairobi, Kenya. Both of these projects took place in Kibera, by few considered the biggest slum in Africa (it is not, but I will get to it later). The main difference was in the understanding of word participation.

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