Conference Paper

Community Maps — A Platform for Participatory Mapping


Community Maps, developed by Mapping for Change and UCL, is a mapping platform that allows many to map what interests them and be a part of the decision making process. From mapping dog fouling incidences in Poland to identifying grass roots climate action initiatives in the United Kingdom, Community Maps is helping people make a difference in their local areas. After 7 years of running on the same code base, it was decided that the platform needed to be rebuilt from the ground up, utilising current technologies, to ensure its robustness and continued longevity.

The redevelopment addresses many requirements for participatory mapping, such as multiple ways to contribute, access, visualise and analyse data, adaptable data structures, a flexible way to grant access rights to users and a low entry barrier users of all walks of life.

To address these requirements several features have been implemented into the next generation of Community Maps. A public API allows varying types of third-party applications to contribute and access data provided through the platform. Further, a schema-less database structure is employed for storing contributed data. Finally, a user-friendly back-end administration interface has been designed to help users set up and manage participatory mapping projects including management of user access permissions and review of contributed data.

Community Maps' rebuilt leverages various open-source solutions — from Postgres, PostGIS and GeoDjango on the back-end side to Leaflet, jQuery and Bootstrap on the client-side.

This talk, given by Community Maps' lead developer, discusses the underlying concepts and ideas, how open-source technologies have been employed during development and, further, future prospects.


Oliver Roick

Presenter Biography: 

Oliver Roick is a web developer at Extreme Citizen Science Research Group at University College London where he is involved in developing open platforms for participatory mapping.

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