In the past few weeks we’ve been looking at different tools for live mapping which have been used during the recent series of protests spread across Europe, Africa and America. Crowdmapping is a particular effective way of gathering and visualising information in real-time during a rapid-evolving situation, based on the contribution of large numbers of people. It instantly increases situational awareness, while helping to understand the evolution of social/political conflicts in complex spatial environments.
Alice from Networked Politics reached out to a person involved in this year’s Gezi Park events for a chat about the use of mapping during the protests.
SK: The maps are usually shared through Twitter and Facebook. One of the ones I have sent you may have come through Whatsapp. I don’t recall exactly. I can only bear witness of my personal experience about the usefulness of the maps. When you are protesting in the streets, internet is usually problematic. So, maps were not a real option on the ground. But if you refuge in a building or a coffee shop, then you can actually check them. The best use I got out of them happened when I was in such places, where I could look at the maps and direct friends on the street to safer locations or warn them about dangers, both via SMS or direct messages. The Ankara map was very useful like that for a night.
AL: Did you have to register yourself in order to browse and contribute to the maps?
SK: No, they were public. No need for registration. I would not have used them if I had to register.
We’ve compiled a reference list of online maps used in different contexts of mass demonstrations. Even if the events for which they were started and updated are now over, these maps provide an outstanding glance on the power of instant collaboration in the age of the network.
London (December 2010)
Student protesters created live tactical maps in order to outwit police. Enlarge map
Lybia (February 2011)
Maps created in order to support humanitarian operations at the outburst of civil war and to prevent violence against pro-democracy protests. Enlarge map
Egypt (January 2011)
Map for report hotspots around the country. Enlarge map
Protesting risk—mapping sexual assaults in Egypt. View map
Open Egypt—a crowdmap striving to raise awareness, transparency and communication in times of crisis. View map
Map for supply points & needs in Tahrir Square. View map
Observing the Egyptian Legislative Elections 2010. View map
Report social media feeds about the antigovernment protests. View map
Zabatak—an anti-crime, anti-corruption map in Egypt. View map
Morocco (October 2011)
Report incidents by Moroccan citizens for the purpose of fighting against corruption. View map