Strategies for Mapping the eco-social and solidarity economy in soldarity

(Josef Kreitmayer) #1

Dear @Intermapping community:

In a short article I just finished (will be published in an article of the Catholic Social Academy of Austria sometime in the comming months), I identified 3 main strategies to improve the current mapping situation:

The Atlas Strategy

Searchable map collections of already existing maps make it possible to create an overview of the already existing variety just like an atlas in paper form. Such listings can provide an overview of how many maps already exist, what perspectives there are, and what approaches to keyword categories, visual implementation, and filtering capabilities there are already available. This strategy is by far the socially and technically easiest approach of improvement in the ecosystem because it requires little to no social convergence process work and little to none technical convergence infrastructure, and is rather easy to mentain while providing a good entry-point in the enticing world of mapping the eco-social and solidarity economy. Semeoz has a good example for that strategy.

Find further discussion on the Atlas Strategy here: The Atlas Strategy

The Collective Datapool Strategy

Several initiatives build a common database infrastructure based on OpenStreetMap technology and populate it under Creative Commons license to meet the need for a custom map while contributing to a global data commons. An example of this is the Susy map on In a 2-year process, 26 partners from 23 countries developed a map of over 100 types of initiation, translated into more than 15 languages, and filled with regional initiatives through a common editor.

In the near future: Find further discussion on the Collective Datapool Strategy here:

The Federation of Maps Strategy

Technically, the biggest challenge of solidary online cartography is the merging of existing maps on one map navigation user interface. This is particularly difficult with maps that are updated regularly. One of the most recent German-language projects currently working on it is An initiative that has already implemented a network map with 10 partners is the French

In the near future: Find further discussion on the Federation of Maps Strategy here:

Do you know of further approaches to improve the ecosystem of ecosocial and solidarity economy mapping?

The Atlas Strategy
(Jon Richter) #2

Thank you @josefkreitmayer for this great write-up of the different trajectories that we discovered along the way.

The threefold that you identified resembles very much what we learned to call TransforMap, Transformaps and Intermapping at other occasions over the years. In combining these three, we could be allowed to say Transformap is intermapping transformaps. While in this source Transformap is only abstractly defined, and Transformaps left to the reader, the Intermapping paragraph may be a good start to continue the conversation.

With TransforMap remaining the idea of visualising many possible realities on a single canvas, we soon learned to differentiate it from a group of Transformaps, which take heregoneous approaches to radical mapping. Only recently, and with a humble slowness, an Intermapping context is preparing its shape, in which these many maps come together.

Additionally there is a looming context between @gandhiano, @toka, @wellemut and me around mobilising the metadata for a mashup by the crowd. For example in the Introducing the TransforMap Testbed architecture we missed to mention that the data integration pipeline, namely ETL and metadata extraction o Wikibase, is not finished, yet. Pragmatischer Geotagging-Workflow

While I support the overall narrative and separation of concerns, before I attempt an answer to your ultimate question, plese allow me to sculpture the argument a little further, by naming and referencing some aspects which we discovered in other places. This is to sustain the theory with empirics from the praxis.

TransforMap - one of the Data Commons

This is where we departed in 2014. After a while of running informally as #14mmm, soon the need to depict a name and objective appeared. This gave rise to ‘TransforMap’, which soon found a (questionable?) working structure and a purpose which was maybe best described by @Giuliana as des Pudels Kern:

die Meta-Kartierung mit einer klaren Strategie verbinden: die not-for-profit, sozial-ökologischen Alternativen sichtbar machen, um sie zu stärken und zu einer echten, breiten, lokal vielereorts bereits vorhandenen Plattform werden zu lassen, auf dem die Transition konkrete Form annehmen kann. Ein Arbeitsinstrument für die politische Vernetzungsarbeit.


Viele basteln an einem neuen ökonomisch-gesellschaftlichen System, aber nur als Theoriekonstrukt. Diese Leute können nie die Frage beantworten: Wer soll diese Entwürfe in die Tat umsetzen ? Andererseits gibt es eine Fülle von Gruppen (wer? wo?), die Alternativen oder Aspekte davon bereits lokal auf die Beine stellen. Diese Menschen haben schon angefangen. Es geht darum, sie durch Vernetzung zu stärken und die “Inseln” miteinander zu verbinden. Das sehe ich als die Strategie, die uns zu der “anderen Welt” bringen kann. Wenn die Leute sich selbst organisieren und ihre Bedürfnisse weitgehend mit eigenen - lokalen oder globalen - Mitteln außerhalb der Logik der Profitmaximierung befriedigen, sind sie nicht mehr vom System erpressbar und werden sich nicht mehr gegeneinander hetzen lassen, weil sie erfahren haben, dass es anders + besser geht.

Then we departed into an entanglement of two different vectors, named CHEST and SSEDAS, which we are still unwinding and continue to understand better over time. An introduction to TransforMap @ CHEST, CHEST+SSEDAS combined budget proposal The halt of these processes gave us breath to ask Quo vadis, TransforMap?, which still remains to be answered.

The #projects:ssedas category is and remains private, why I cannot reference it here.

We can also try to keep these pages up to date: What is TransforMap?, TransforMap - a short introduction, TransforMap - a not so short introduction, landing page

You write

This is not quite what we actually did. Indeed the first experiments, and what everyone still perceives as TransforMap when visiting, were based on OpenStreetMap as a geodatabase available in the Public Domain. Yet soon we understood our claims would not be verifyable by everyone when visiting those places, why we moved them into a separate data service. We kept the Public Domain license to remain compatible with OpenStreetMap for further inferencing. Unfortunately we also imported their metadata organisation problems with partly using their data model.

After we emancipated us from OpenStreetMap, while discovering Wikidata and other authorative sources of possible data, we are now in a situation where the first and second wave of proofs of concepts can be analysed for scoping the next iteration. While we are only slowly learning to recognise the long-term implications of infrastructure maintenance, we have become one of the many data sources out there.

Transformaps - the Atlas of many maps

After a while in 2015, before these projects started yet already they became visible on the horizon, a shift in the community expressed the need to separate certain aspects of the overall idea into smaller, more malleable parts. One of these was the notion, that indeed there are many many maps already out there, which are only waiting for further examination. This was perceived different from unifying all data in one place and suggested to be called Transformaps,mainly by @toka, @alabaeye and me, which ultimately led to the now pretty much abandoned atlassing initiative living in - the transformaps atlas - Semantic Mediawiki, explained in TransforMap and MMM

What I consider most deceiving here, is how simple it is to formulate the scenario, but how hard to keep it collectively alive.

The initiatives around Transition Connect and Transiscope would rather fall into this category. They make use of a central registry, too. The demonstrator falls under the same premise, as well as our unused and few others we know of.

This is why we sometimes recur on the conclusion, that we’re still missing some building blocks. It is also linking with the looming context about metadata mashup touched above. By visualising the community of Transformaps themselves, and shared concepts, we might help emerge possible shared interests and coordinated actions together.

Intermapping - the Federation of maps

What we understand from the diversity of mapping approaches, is that we may wish to find common agreements on how to publish data and metadata. This not only involves geospatial data, but also other forms like persons, groups, events or informational resources. We developed a Charter for Building a Data Commons for a Free, Fair and Sustainable Future which still receives more positive reactions (thanks @bhaugen :wink: ) than actual implementations.

I have sometimes nodded at @hannes that may play a role here in the future. But also alternative distribution mechanism like Secure Scuttlebutt (SSB /, Matrix ( or dat ( / come to mind. The question is here how we can make the data traverse links and domains freely, in so it flows happily from one place to the other by itself.

With the above I strongly believe that data synchronisation and manual transformation through individual adaptors is not to be mistaken for federation. The ultima ratio is still that there is nothing to merge anymore, because everything is already loosely coupled.

If we fully recognise these three different mapping identities, often confused with TransforMap soley, we may be able to reshape our focus and delve into each of these directions with appropriate means. This means not only resource allocation, team building, communications and administration, but also tracking developments in our constitutive outsides, all while relating to public discourse. Then the vision, which @Giuliana defended for us so vigorously and clearly above, may actually become true.

The Atlas Strategy
(Jon Richter) #3

Ecolise and @Tom_Henfrey are building A knowledge commons for community-led action on sustainability and climate change.

@ashishkothari started a new attempt about a

@Noemi_Giszpenc informed us about a data sharing working group

Also high-level advice is of great use for scoping the narratives for us:

Also threat models that name challenges inform our domain, like the delphi study of the Scientific Advisory Board of the UN Secretary General: The Future of Scientific Advice to the United Nations.

  • One Ocean, Many Countries: Building a “Blue Economy” Sustainably
  • Addressing threats to biodiversity and establishing a new paradigm for the global tropics
  • Developing a Comprehensive Strategy Against Infectious Agents, Including a Global System for Immediate Response
  • Investing a Fraction of GDP in Research and Education in Basic Science
  • Averting Enormous Human Disasters Through Prediction
  • Emissions Free Technology: Changing the Fossil Fuel Paradigm
  • Providing Drinkable Water for All
  • Finding Solutions for a World Overwhelmed by Unequal Resource-use and Continued Population Growth

We can also consider the patterning process @Silke undergoes, and other formulations of climate change mitigation strategies as the wider ecosystem. Also community hosting initiatives like Cooperative Commons Clouds in an Open App Ecosystem, / and LibreHosters or legal service for commons remain important. From the technological side, we can also keep an eye on the universe of new federated application examples.

Further on you may also like to know there is

(Thomas Kalka) #4

Zwei weitere Strategien fallen mir da noch ein: Sprache und Protokoll


Hierbei geht es um die Einigung auf Wörter, die Initiativen überspannend zur Auszeichnung von Daten genutzt werden können. Mir ist keine Initiative bekannt, die dies bereits umsetzt. Als Vorschläge wurden hier diskutiert:
Linked Data (allgemein) und “Nutze Wikidata als Bezeichner” (use commons to build commons).

Kurzfristig erscheint es mir hier sinnvoll, eine von einzelnen Projekten unabhängige Taxonomie / knowledge-map zu erstellen und diese so anzubieten, dass an anderen Projekten Beteiligte sich eingeladen fühlen, diese zu nutzen.


Ist auch ein Aspekt von Sprache. Es geht aber mehr um Spezifikationen, wie auf den Datenbestand anderer Initiativen lesend und schreibend zugegriffen werden kann.

Eine kurzfristige Strategie hier wäre, Metadaten über Projekte mit Auszeichnungen zur “usability” der gesammelten Daten zu versehen.