Good going. After a telephonic talk with Derek Cordeiro, I just managed to reinstall Flock. It makes blogging really very easy and fast…
Sophia Kamaruddin pointed me to the page where I could download the ebook titled Maps for Advocacy: An Introduction to Geographical Mapping Techniques
An interesting book:
Maps for Advocacy, a booklet published by Tactical Technology Collective, is an introduction to geographical mapping techniques and shows advocates how best to utilise mapping techniques in their campaigns. The booklet introduces rights advocates to mapping tools and also lists inspiring examples where maps have been effective in creating an impact.
This is a rather applied and useful title. For instance: “Maps provide a fabulous medium for telling stories and documenting changes in a given place over a period of time. They give readers an additional perspective that taps into our ability to process visual information and relate to spatiality. Very often maps are also useful in understanding complex issues such as the conflict in Darfur (http://www.
The rationale for the book is here: “Advocacy organisations worldwide face great challenges. One of these is how best to communicate and disseminate information to communities, staff, funders, governments and other organisations in a world saturated with information,
media and advertising. They may also need to keep track of complex and diverse information in their own work. Using maps is one strategy to overcome these challenges. Mapping provides a powerful, clear, and intuitive medium for communicating and sharing information, statistics and data.”
For some reason, Mormugao, the port town of Goa, seems to be among the top 20 “most described cities” in the world! See http://wikimapia.org/#lat=15.42&lon=73.78&z=11&l=0&m=a&v=2
For a vast country which lacks adequately detailed and available maps for many of its areas, India is now finding an unexpected solution come up in the form of Google Map Maker.
Google recently extended its ‘map maker’ service to India, and within three weeks of its launch, has already drawn quite some attention to it in cyberspace.
Supporters of the project started sending messages out via the Net, urging each friends and colleagues to create their own detailed maps — by adding details of features in the villages or urban areas where they live.
Google Map Maker is a new service, from the Mountain View, California-based internet search giant. It is an attempt to expand the service currently offered by Google Maps.
In countries where mapping data is hard to come by, Google Maps is being opened up to a collaborative community effort.
This project’s goal is to obtain high-quality mapping data to be published and used on the existing Google Maps service.
“Mark your favourite spots in your city or hometown. Add features such as roads, parks, and buildings for unmapped rural areas. Tag small businesses and help users find them. Collaborate with others to map neighbourhoods that interest you,” says Google, urging participation in its India collaboration mapping project.
Located at maps.google.com/help/mapmaker/india/ the project was conceived and developed by Google’s Indian engineering team.
One needs to sign-into a free Google email account, and zoom in to the area you want to map. You can add features, names of the place, and save it. The map changes and additions are later edited by those trusted, to make sure that entries have a higher level of accuracy.
Once you ‘add a neighbourhood’, showing your interest in the area, you can be kept informed with changes made by others in that area of the map.
“Map your area of the world, right from your desktop,” Google urges Indian users in a promotional video on their product.
“Mark the well-loved family-run store where you grew up. Highlight hidden gems where you live. Tag popular hangouts where you went to school,” says Google.
It’s logic is to urge wider community participation, a strategy that usually works in an online world where thousands participate, and each one of ‘the crowd’ contributes a small piece of information.
Google Map Maker was launched in India in end-August 2008.
Commented ContentSutra.com, an Indian digital news monitor: “Considering the success of Wiki-Mapia in India, it isn’t surprising Map Maker was a product developed by Google’s Indian engineering team.”
In late 2006, news-reports said Mumbai had become the most-mapped city on the planet, via the Wikimapia volunteer-driven network.
Infact, among the Top 20 “most described cities” in the Wikimapia world are Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Mangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Thiruvananthapuram, Mormugao (Goa), Vizag and Indore. Bombay or Mumbai is rated the highest.
Critics of Google Map Maker, such as the collaboratively-crafted Wikipedia, however have raised issues about the fact that unlike OpenStreetMap, which provides its map data under a sharable Creative Commons license, any maps created by users of Google Map Maker are the intellectual property of Google.
Some issues of security and mapping have also been raised, in a country where the official approach towards maps has a legacy which gets traced to the colonial British attitude over the same.
Yesterday, when I took Riza (“amost 10″) over Bookworm, Sujata Noronha (no relative) buttonholed me and re-asked about setting up a blog. Feeling guilty, because VM and me had been discussing the possibility of a website for them for some time now, I tried something that might help to get started.
WordPress (because it’s Free Software) is my favourite blogging software. So I grabbed their comp, and helped to set up a rudimentary blog of sorts. Check it out here. Later in the night, during my nocturnal hours, added some of the posts that Bookworm has been sending to my address.
I really think Bookworm is an innovative project, and needs our support. If you feel like helping in anyway, do lend a hand. It’s a good cause… (and I’m not saying this just because my daughter spends her time with books, craft and art there occasionally).
[Above, Claudia1967's photo, reproduced with permission: http://www.flickr.com/photos/claudia1967/349173566/]
My former colleague and friend, Niraj Naik, has come out with “Goa’s first comprehensive data bank on (a) multimedia CD”. It promises to explore all facets of Goa, with the largest compilation of photographs and information. It is an “ideal gift for students” and a “treasure trove for students, teachers, tourists, NRGs (non-resident Goans) and Goa enthusiasts” says the cover of the CD. It is priced at Rs 99 and comes from http://www.digitalgoa.com
Unfortunately, the CD runs only on Windows (.exe file) while my comp runs on GNU/Linux (Free Software)….
More about this group: http://groups.to/camerasforacause
Cameras for a Cause (C-FAC) is a volunteer network, meant to share photography (and sometimes videography) skills with campaigners, citizens, not-for-profits and anyone undertaking work for positive social change on the planet.
1. By “positive social change”, we refer to those working on issues of environment, labour, conservation, education, development, IT-for-change any other such issues. We leave it open to each volunteer to define what they see as a “good cause”, and to offer their support to the same.
2. Anyone, anywhere on the planet with access to a camera and a suitable level of photography skills, can volunteer to sign-up here. The network was however started out of Goa, India in September 2008.
3. Each volunteer needs to give out sufficient details of their offer for volunteer help (form below), their skill level, time and travel-hours willing to commit to each project, and restrictions on their ability to help, if any.
4. As an organisation we neither seek nor solicit funds. Work is based purely on voluntarism. Rules may be changed in future, depending on the needs of the group, while ensuring to be fair to all concerned. Entry is open to all, and members are free to leave the group if they so choose. Members are encouraged to invite other socially committed lensmen (and women) to join this network.
5. Cameras for a Cause believes in, and supports, sharable licensing for their work. We are influenced by the power of sharable knowledge and creative work (as seen from the Free Software movement, the Creative Commons, the Wikipedia, etc). We encourage associated photographers to share their work with a Creative Commons or other suitable license.
6. Our volunteers do not expect to be paid for their work. Under some circumstances, travel cost and modest refreshments (if applicable) may be appreciated. In case the work involves
a project spanning many days, or travel beyond home base, and the organisation concerned has funds to cover photography, you could consider offering a honorarium to our volunteers.
This may be worked out directly with the photographer concerned. Keep in mind that some of our volunteers are freelancers, and revenues earned might help make their overall photography operations viable to help to cross-subsidise the photography of other good causes.
7. This network has two levels of membership: photographer-volunteer and general-volunteer. The latter are those who may not currently have the photography skills, but are willing to help this venture in other ways (spreading the word, administrative functions, publicity, etc).
DETAILS FOR PHOTOGRAPHER-VOLUNTEER:
Contact details (phone, mobile, address):
Type of work: Still / Moving / Photo Story / Audio / Multiple
Offering services to (specify types of causes you prefer to
Area within which willing to work:
Notice period needed:
Time-slots available for volunteer work:
May decline to undertake project if (specific circumstances):
Examples of volunteer (or NGO) work undertaken:
Expect to be paid/reimbursed (Yes or No, with details):
More about this group: http://groups.to/camerasforacause