International workshop for the creation of cartographies of participation, grassroots management, and the empowerment of local territories

The research group ESpacio – TEcnología – PArticipación ESTEPA (space,
technology, and participation), of the Geography department of the
‘Universidad Nacional de Colombia’ organizes an “International workshop for the creation of cartographies of participation, grassroots management, and the
empowerment of local territories”. The event will take place from
October 20-22, 2016 in Bogotá, Colombia.

More information in spanish: here

Form for proposals (Deadline 30.8.2016): here

Funding by TransforMap!

As of July 20th we are grateful to announce a funding by TransforMap! Within a larger funding of community proposals the “critical atlas” will be supported by of 550 € . Thank you very much!

Pilot Call for Collaborative Political Ecology Cartography

This call is intended to foster collaborations between activists (NGOs, think tanks, social movements, or community grassroots organisations, etc.) and the Global Atlas of Environmental Justice project ( The aims is to support action-research on environmental justice and campaigns or ongoing work in the field, and create public and educational materials dedicated to documenting and unveiling processes of destructive extractivism and dispossession.

About the EJATLAS and ACKnowl-EJ project:

The EJAtlas is an online database and interactive map that documents socio-environmental conflicts, defined as mobilizations by local communities against particular economic activities whereby environmental impacts are a key element of their grievances. It is based on the work of hundreds of collaborators, from the academy, concerned citizens, informal committees, NGOs and other activist groups, who have been documenting environmental and social injustice and supporting communities on the ground for years. It’s been mainly developed under EJOLT, a research project coordinated at ICTA – UAB, and will now continue under the ACKnowl-EJ international project.

The ACKnowl-EJ project (Academic-Activist Co-Produced Knowledge for Environmental Justice) builds on and broadens the Atlas of Environmental Justice. This project emphasizes the transformative potential of citizen movements, ‘participatory’ approaches to environmental politics, and new institutional practices born from diverse knowledge systems, showing how alternatives are often born from resistance. ACKnowl-EJ is a 3 year project funded by the International Social Science Council, coordinated by the Institute of Sciences and Technologies of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (Dr. Leah Temper) and Kalpavriksh action group from India (Ashish Kothari).

This call aims to expand the EJATLAs and foster the development of powerful featured maps (see for instance the featured map on Mining Conflicts in Latin America, to support the international day against Chevron Texaco or to denounce the expansion of fracking).  It aims to engage in further experimentation on collaborative research and co-production of knowledge for social change.

Objectives of the call:

  • Foster ongoing or upcoming Environmental Justice (EJ) related campaigns worldwide and contribute to their visibility
  • Contribute to improve the coverage of the EJAtlas geographically and
  • Design Featured Maps to support EJ related campaign. The EJAtlas and Acknowl-EJ project will offer support to technically develop them and to disseminate the work developed under this call.

What are the small projects about:

  • Adding cases to the EJAtlas to complete a specific database and create new Featured Maps (see the EJATLAS database form)
  • Producing relevant featured maps.
  • Designing original Featured Maps and searching for relevant GIS data, stories, images or infographics to display on the map.
  • Presenting a plan for research, dissemination, campaigning with the produced map
    The project must be completed before December 2016.
  • 2-4 Small contracts of between 1000-1500 euros will be granted in this round. The amount of the contract will vary according to the proposed project.

Who can present a proposal?

This call is meant for civil society organizations and networks that work on Environmental Justice related struggles around the world. Organizations from any country are invited to present a small project. Applicants must be able to issue an invoice. Proposals can be submitted and developed in English and/or Spanish.
Other languages can be considered, but will need to be translated to English or Spanish.

How can you apply?

Please send your application to with the subject
“political ecology cartography” and the following documents:

Application Form with information on your organization and the project
proposed. (find it here:

(Optional) Share similar maps or campaigns you have worked on in the
past highlighting the successful aspects in terms of visibility and/or
collaborative process.

Criteria to assess projects

While projects that cover any EJ related issue or regions of the World
can be presented we will particularly value proposals that :

  • Expand and improve the EJAtlas in those issues and areas that are currently under represented or absent or come from
    applicants from under-represented groups, regions, countries and
  • Enhance a collaborative bottom-up process of data collection.
  • Aid new or ongoing EJ campaigns and work.
  • Propose an outcome that is creative, original and politically powerful/robust.
  • Are relevant.

Call timeline

The deadline to present proposals is August 31, 2016.

On September 12, awarded organizations will be contacted.

Projects must be finalized before the end of December 2016.


The Decolonial Atlas

We would like to introduce a collective which currently is and has been since 2014 showing a wide variety of mapping productions on many different topics and regions. Within these different productions many of the basic premises of critical cartography can be recognized.

“The Decolonial Atlas, started in 2014, is an attempt to bring together maps which, in some way, challenge our relationships with the land, people, and state. It is based on the premise that there is no such thing as “truth” in cartography. Only interpretation. The orientation of a map, its projection, the presence of political borders, which features are included or excluded, and the language used to label a map are all subject to the map-maker’s agenda. Because most maps in use today serve to reinforce colonial understandings of the Earth, we are consciously creating maps which help us to re-imagine the world – to decolonize.”


Critical Atlas Workshop

Lento pero Avanzo 😉

This year we had already two editors workshop  of the Critical Atlas. Apart from people working on the Atlas for 1.5 years we welcomed some new people who want to contribute to the project. Besides from organizing stuff in and around the project, we tried to find a structure for the Atlas. Thanks to the overwhelming feedback from all over the world it won’t be easy to bring things together. We are working on it and will keep you updated.

Attached you’ll see some photos of our organized mess. Thanks for sticking with us.
Bildschirmfoto 2016-05-02 um 18.25.26Bildschirmfoto 2016-05-02 um 18.26.03Bildschirmfoto 2016-05-02 um 18.25.41Bildschirmfoto 2016-05-02 um 18.29.41Bildschirmfoto 2016-05-02 um 18.26.10




Those who go slow go far…



Hopefullly our slow pace approach will guide us on our rocky road to the publication of the critical atlas in 2017.

“Cartography Is Dead (Thank God!) Let’s admit it. Cartography is dead. And then let’s thank our lucky stars that after the better part of a century mapmaking is freeing itself from the dead hand of academia.”

Taken from a nice article by Denis Wood (2003). Worth reading.

Strait of Gibraltar

This map titled “Una cartografía del territorio geopolítico del Estrecho de Gibraltar” (A Cartography on the Geopolotical Area of the Strait of Gibraltar) tells on two pages the the story of space in and around the Strait of Gibraltar.

The map was designed by artists, activists and technologists from Spain and Morocco in the aftermath of the Fadiat 2004. On the one hand the map shows the area as a space of sociopolitical conflict. On the other hand, the map understands the area as a place of transformation. The three main topics shown in the map are migration and borders, new forms of work/precarious work and free communication/free knowledge. One page one the map depicts the area as a place, coined through militarization, migration, relocation of the capital, communication and social movements. On page two the map shows active social movements on both sides of the border as well as their active projects.

The map was created through an open Wiki where everyone was able to suggest content. The content was then discussed and finally put to paper. The map is used in social movements and is used as a basis for discussions.

Space, Refugees and Berlin

How do Refugees move around Berlin? How do they organize to get through and where do they take space? What images do they create from themselves?

These questions were answered by the artists Sarnath Banerjee, Christian Hanussek and Diana Lucas-Droganas in cooperation with many others. The results are different scripts/handwritings which are in the broadest sense cartographic translation of their reality onto paper. In a Triology they tell us about the different dimensions of what we call “Refugee Comlpex”.

“The image series in the system revolves around deprivation of rights, dailylife tactics, survival strategies, and forms of resistance; the collective mapping sur place reconstructs urban seizing of space and everyday self-organisation in circumstances of exception; the multilayered notation Resumption Rehearsal retakes the issue of a self-organised centre of refuges in the city.”

On the 21. November participants will presents and explain three “mappings” in the foyer of the Gorki Theatre (12 – 15h). A round table (15-17h) with additional guests will take place to discuss the problems of mapping and cooperation as well as the questions which new spaces might emerge from this prosses.

For further information see metroZones, and Gorki theatre.


Mit dem öffnen von GIS für “nicht-professionelle Kartographen*innen” durch Angebote wie Google Maps, Flickr, Openstreetmap Twitter und andere wurde ein wechsel in der Erzeugung von geographischen Wissen beschrieben. So bietet Twitter beispielsweise die Möglichkeit tweets zu geokodieren. Auf Flickr kann man seine Fotos auf eine Weltkarte verorten und bei Openstreetmap kann jeder zur Kartierung der Welt beitragen. Nicht mehr “hochspezialisierte Kartographen*innen” erzeugen jetzt geographisch Inhalt, sondern rein theoretisch jede*r der*die ein Handy, Computer und/oder ein GPS fähiges Gerät besitzt kann jetzt Daten erzeugen, welche im euklidischen Raum lokalisiert sind – und Millionen nutzen diese Möglichkeit.

Die so entstandene Praxis wurde “VGI – Volunteered Geographic Information”, “Geoweb”, “Virtual Geographic Environment” oder “Neogeography” genannt. Diese scheinbare Öffnung von GIS durch frei nutzbare Angebote und niedrige Hürden hat einige Wissenschaftler*innen dazu veranlasst, GIS nun als demokratisiert zu bezeichnen. Forscher wie Graham, M., Hale S. A., Stephens, M. (2011), Zook, M., Graham, M., Shelton, T. (2011), Zook, M., Graham M. (2011), Wall, M., Kirdnark, T. (2012), Haklay (2012, 2013), Crampton J. W., Graham, M., Poorthuis, A., Shelton, T., Stephens, M., Wilson M. W., Zook, M. (2013) arbeiten, um diese Annahme zu widerlegen. Sie zeigen das es lediglich eine bestimmte Gruppe von Nutzer*innen ist, die geographische Inhalte erzeugen und wiederlegen so die Annahme der demokratisierung von GIS.

Eine Studie von Christian Bittner (2015) geht noch weiter. Sie zeigt Unterschiede in den Communities von Openstreemap und WikiMapia. Genaugenommen wird am Beispiel Jerusalems herausgearbeitet wie auf  Openstreetmap und WikiMapia, verschiedene Flächen  in der Stadt unterschiedliche kartiert sind. Das Ergebnis: Auf Openstreetmap sind die israelisch-säkular geprägten Viertel besser kartiert als die ultraorthodox-israelischen und arabischen Viertel. Bei WikiMapia sieht das Ergebnis anders aus. Hier ist die Datenlage zu den arabisch-palästinensischen Vierteln Jersualems besser als zu den jüdisch-israelischen Vierteln. Der Autor schließt daraus auf die unterschiedliche Zusammensetzung der beiden online Communities.

Diese Studie zeigt das im Geoweb und in der Praxis der Neogeography nicht von einem Projekt auf das nächste, und auch nicht von einer Community auf die nächste geschlossen werden darf. Es gilt vielmehr genau hin zu sehen und die verschiedenen Nutzer*innengruppen zu untersuchen.

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