This article tells, for the first time, the story of the history of the participatory map: that is, the many-to-many map-making techniques that most people are familiar with through smartphone apps and Google maps. Archival research in previously untapped archives traces the origins of participatory mapping in subaltern conversations around the world, its embrace in the modern academy and development circles, its place in the World Bank, and its conversion to online formats like Google Maps and Open Street Map. The story begins in surprising places, as international networks in the 1970s began experimenting with many-to-many mapping, their members spanning New Delhi to the Cree tribes of Canada. The article argues that indigenous and postcolonial politics generated techniques for the participatory management of land use that preceded the creation of the many-to-many map online. The article explores how early theories surpassed the radicality of many-to-many mapping as practiced today.
participatory mapping, participatory research, participatory democracy, indigenous knowledge mapping, cartography, history, economic development
Environmental Education | Geography | History | History of Science, Technology, and Medicine | Sustainability
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Guldi, Jo, "A History of the Participatory Map" (2017). History Faculty Publications. 10.