Community Mapping

A Powerful Tool to Increase Citizens' Digital Skills and Community Empowerment.

In addition to the wealth of official data that exists on and within communities across the city it is true that citizens themselves often possess invaluable local knowledge. The aim of our community mapping project was to work with local communities to capture and record this valuable data. Maps offer a great visual opportunity to talk about the Future City and Open Data - capturing local knowledge and sharing this with other members of the community for the benefit of all.

A service in the community - a pin on a map is data. When we share it openly, we create value for the whole community and the city in general. Numerous organisations are involved in mapping the city and our mapping demonstrator looked to explore new avenues: involving the community in the mapping, opening the datasets and the map - giving people ownership over their own data.

Walter's Story

Community Mapping video teaser

Open Mapping Toolkits

Each of the initiatives shared an approach to engaging citizens and groups in the mapping of their communities, services and environments. Part of the Future Maps aim was to develop a legacy for this project through the development of an open, easy to understand and shareable toolkit allowing citizens to continue learning and making their own maps. The toolkit is an intuitive and engaging documentation of Future Maps and is built to be shared digitally. Elements of this toolkit have also been shared in open formats, on GitHub, OpenStreetMap Wiki and Learn OSM adding value back to this supportive, existing community. The toolkit provides instructional material for community trainers, and has been refined through experience and feedback from the Future City Glasgow team, existing open mapping communities and workshop participants. It is an open resource, licensed under Creative Commons to allow others to take, tweak, hack and apply the Future Maps approach to their own mapping projects.

Toolkit Elements

The following Open Source tools have been utilised throughout the course of Future Maps as either main or supplementary mapping tools:

Citizen Mapping
No Map Mapping
Field Papers
Community Directory

Initiative 1.

Easterhouse Citizen Mapping

The approach to mapping in Easterhouse was very much based on the idea of 'Training the Trainer', digitally upskilling volunteers, staff and service users at the main contact group to build a sustainable mapping community within Easterhouse. The Scoping Workshops provided a clear starting point for the project and outlined the main contact group, Greater Easterhouse Alcohol Awareness Project (GEAAP). Using analogue and digital tools, the sessions with GEAAP and citizens of Easterhouse, outlined the sheer number and variety of community assets in the area.


Initiative 2.

Social Enterprise Mapping

When it came to mapping social enterprises, the emphasis was on encouraging small businesses to learn how to use, edit and update Open-Source mapping data for themselves. The project looked to raise awareness of the benefits online mapping can hold for a business. Using a variety of platforms, a social media campaign was launched, targeting social enterprises in Glasgow. Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook were all used to invite social enterprises across Glasgow to add their business details to an online directory based on OpenStreetMap.

Scoial Enterprise Mapping

Initiative 3.

Young City Mapping

The project looked to involve both primary and secondary school pupils in learning about and practising mapping. While both groups already had significant digital awareness, these workshops gave the participants an opportunity to learn new skills and gain greater knowledge of their local area. For the primary school workshops, the focus was on mapping favourite routes and places. This information was then used as the basis for a simple digital mapping task designed to teach the children how to access and edit open-sourced mapping platforms. The workshops for secondary school aged participants looked at mapping local amenities and helping the participants to learn more sophisticated digital mapping techniques.

Young city

Initiative 4.

Mapping Parties

A series of day long mapping events - or mapathons - were organised to create an opportunity for citizens outwith community groups to learn new mapping skills. Each event centered around a different theme, creating a platform for the exchange of specific knowledge about the city. The mapathons were a chance for participants to learn and gain familiarity with the full range of mapping tools in the toolkit, both analogue and digital. Existing members of the OpenStreetMap mapping community also attended the mapathons. They were able to teach mapping skills and techniques as well as engaging with a whole new community of potential mappers.

Mapping Party

Initiative 5.

Dear Green Network

For the Dear Green City initiative, the ambition was to map not only Glasgow’s extensive green spaces and local food stockists and producers, but also to develop an understanding of the networks between them. The workshops were designed to encourage participants to map as much as they knew about growing, greenery and food across Glasgow, not just within their own area. Wherever possible, the workshops were held in community gardens and allotment space. Several existing gardening groups participated in mapping workshops and one largerscale, open event was held to try and bring as many members of the Glasgow gardening community together as possible.

Green City