One of the earliest such maps was TransforMap, a project with origins in Austria and Germany that is using OpenStreetMap as a platform for helping people identify and connect with alternative economic projects. In the US, CommonSpark assembled a collection of “maps in the spirit of the commons” such as the Great Lakes Commons Map (a bioregional map of healing and harm), World of Commons(innovative forms of citizen-led governance of public property and services in Italy), Falling Fruit (a global map identifying 786,000 locations of forgeable food), a map of Free Little Libraries (free books available in neighborhoods around the world), a global Hackerspace map, a global Seed Map, a map of all Transition communities, and several Community Land Trustdirectory maps.
As the varieties of maps proliferate, there is growing concern that the mapping projects truly function as commons and be capable of sharing data and growing together. But meeting this challenge entails some knotty technical, social and legal issues.
A group of mappers met at the Commons Space sessions of the World Social Forum in Montreal last year to try to make progress on the challenge. The dialogues continued at an “Intermapping” workshop in Florence, Italy, last month. After days of deep debate and collaboration, the mappers came up with a document that outlines twelve key principles for developing effective data and mapping commons. The Charter for Building a Data Commons for a Free, Fair and Sustainable Future is the fruit of those dialogues.
The Charter’s authors describe the document as “the maximum ‘commons denominator’ of mapping projects that aspire to share data for the common good.” If you follow these guidelines,” write the mappers, “you will contribute to a Global Data Commons. That is, you will govern your mapping community and manage data differently than people who centralize data control for profit.”
“The Charter does not describe the vision, scope or values of a specific mapping project. It is rather an expression of Data Commons principles. It will help you reimagine how you protect the animating spirit of your mapping project and prevent your data from being co-opted or enclosed.” Read more