About Participatory Mapping

Participatory mapping (PM) refers to the multiple ways humans create and communicate knowledge, experience, and aspirations about the world in maps. A consistent aspiration of PM has been to engage and empower marginalized or under-represented groups in society through the use of spatial technologies. Participatory maps—whether simple or complex—are created for a wide range of human/environment applications such as delineating territorial boundaries, identifying important places that sustain livelihoods and quality of life, mapping biological diversity and ecosystem services, and communicating preferences about future land/marine use. Over the last two decades, the growth and interest in PM has evolved and progressed from diverse application domains (indigenous/rural/community development, urban/regional planning, and environmental/natural resource management/conservation) in recognition of the potential for PM to address complex issues and problems. Applications for participatory mapping methods range from indigenous rights, to smart cities, climate adaptation and biodiversity conservation.