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.
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 http://www.solidarityeconomy.eu/susy-map/. 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 http://www.transition-connect.org. An initiative that has already implemented a network map with 10 partners is the French https://transiscope.org/carte-of-alternatives.
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?
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.
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.
This is not quite what we actually did. Indeed the first experiments, and what everyone still perceives as TransforMap when visiting http://transformap.co, 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 wiki.transformaps.net - 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.
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 ) than actual implementations.
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.
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.