OurMaps A Spatial Justice Toolkit for Grassroots Organizing


A Practical Guide to Geospatial Mapping is an open-source book focused on using Saga, R, and Google Earth to create maps. It's a lengthy tutorial for people ready to dive into the more technical side of geospatial mapping.

A Practical Guide to Geostatistical Mapping coding, education

Healthy City is an information + action resource that unites community voices, research and technology to solve the root causes of social inequity in California. Healthy City incorporates authorities in public policy, technology, and data...

Advancement Project (Healthy City Community Research Lab)

The Civic Data Design Lab works with data to understand it for public good. They seek to develop alternative practices which can make the work we do with data and images richer, smarter, more relevant, and more responsive to the needs and...

Civic Data Design Lab

DataCenter unlocks the power of knowledge for social change. They support grassroots organizing for justice and sustainability through strategic mapping, research, training, and collaborations. DataCenter uses research to help move the knowledge...


FrontlineSMS is an open source desktop software created to lower barriers to positive social change using mobile technology. By leveraging basic tools already available to most organizations, including those in ‘last-mile’ settings —...

FrontlineSMS open source, sms

Megakheir, translated as ‘mega goodness’, is platform works with NGOs to harness the power of mobile technology in an effort to address and combat pressing social issues ranging from poverty and illiteracy to unemployment, child-mortality and...

Megakheir mobile, sms

Public Participation GIS is an electronic forum on the participatory use of geo-spatial information systems and technologies. Their online platform serves as a global avenue for discussing issues, sharing experiences and good practices...


The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science (Public Lab) is a community which develops and applies open-source tools to environmental exploration and investigation. By democratizing inexpensive and accessible Do-It-Yourself techniques,...

Public Lab

The Public Science Project conducts and supports participatory action research with a commitment to the significant knowledge people hold about their lives and experiences and a belief that those most intimately impacted by research should take...

Public Science Project

The Spatial Information Design Lab is a think- and action-tank at Columbia University specializing in the visual display of spatial information about contemporary cities and events. The lab works with data about space -- numeric data combined...

Spatial Information Design Lab

Esri’s ArcGIS is a Geographic Information System (GIS) for working with geographic information. There are many uses for ArcGIS (and software like it), such as: creating and using maps; compiling geographic data; analyzing map information; and...

ArcGIS Desktop desktop, software

Provided by ESRI, the world largest GIS software maker, ArcGIS online allow users to add a large variety of format in its hosted platform and share it publicly. The platform works completely online and can be integrated with ESRI’s professional...

ArcGIS Online online

Resources for taking aerial images and using them to make maps. Instructions, video tutorials and downloadable pdf guides for making balloon/kite mapping kits (basic kit is also purchaseable online) & for organizing sets of images and...

Balloon Mapping aerial imagery, balloon mapping, citizen science, community organizing, research

Instead of sending pre-rendered tiles for every zoom level, Cartagen draws maps dynamically on the client side. This means maps can move, adapt, and redraw, and can include as many layers of data as needed. Vector mapping is done in native HTML...


CartoDB is a proprietary online platform to create dynamic maps online. The platform has been growing quickly and has different focuses depending on the area you are working on: academic, journalists or mobile.

CartoDB animations, dynamic, online, platform, proprietary

Cloudmade is a service designed to assist in building custom mapping servers.

Cloudmade proprietary, server, tiles

Crowdmap is a hosted version of the popular mapping platform Ushahidi. The company developed Crowdmap to make it easier for activists and social groups around the world to use Ushahidi without the need to access a server or work directly with...

Crowdmap geo-tagging, mapping, sms, social media, ushahidi

Code for America works to connect web professionals with civic organizations, in order to find new solutions and approaches for city governments. They operate through three main programs- their Fellowship Program connects developers and designers...

Code for America action, civic, coding, developers, government, network

Need ideas on how to color your new map? ColorBrewer is a free, online tool that allows you to compare different color schemes to maximize the impact of your map.

ColorBrewer mapping

Data.gov allows the public to find, download, and use datasets that are generated and held by the US Federal Government. Data.gov provides information about how to access the datasets and tools that leverage government datasets. The data catalogs...


DIVA-GIS provides free data (ArcGIS shape files) for any country in the world.


DIT offers free labs a lectures focused on database management systems as a component of GIS. This is a good resource for those who have a good understanding of GIS and want to produce more data-rich maps. DIT prioritizes the use of open-source...

Dublin Institute of Technology data collection, data organization, education

A set of 3 toolkits developed by the Center for Urban Pedagogy in NYC: Affordable Housing, Zoning, and Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (last two are in progress). All 3 relate to specific NYC policies. Affordable Housing toolkit includes a...

Envisioning Development Toolkits advocacy, analog, community organizing, policy

The European Environment Agency (EEA) is an agency of the European Union. They provide in-depth environmental data on most of the countries in Europe.

European Environment Agency data, policy

GDAL (Geospatial Data Abstraction Library) is an open source library for reading and writing raster geospatial data formats. As a library, it presents a single abstract data model to the calling application for all supported formats. It may also...

GDAL free, open source

GeoDa is a free, open source, cross-platform software program that serves as an introduction to spatial data analysis. The program provides a user friendly graphical interface.

GeoDa desktop

Geofeedia Logo
Geofeedia is a very interesting new venture that searches social media based on a pre-established geo-location. For example, if you are interested in a particular neighborhood, you can use the tool to “geo-fence” the area of the neighborhood...


Geospatial Revolution is a project aimed at expanding public knowledge about the history, applications, and the potential future of location-based technologies. They offer four 15 minute videos introducing mapping technology.

Geospatial Revolution education

GIS Basics is a training module by Pennsylvania Spatial Data Access (PASDA) designed for those wanting to understand what GIS is, how it works, and what you can do with it.

GIS Basics education

GeoCommunity is a provider of free and for purchase geographic data. The data available from this site requires users to be proficient in GIS.

GIS Data Depot

The GIS Lounge provides resources for anyone looking to learn more about GIS courses, maps, data, and news. This site is useful for all GIS skill levels.

GIS Lounge blog, education

GIS Tutor is a website that provides tutorials for beginner, intermediate, and advanced GIS users. The tutorials are divided into three categories: application, programming, and theoretical.

GIS Tutor education

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GIS Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for cartographers, geographers, and GIS users. It’s an open forum that hopes to build a library of detailed answers to every question about geographic information systems.

GIS Stack Exchange

GIS Wiki is a German website that has an extensive listing of a variety of GIS resources. The wiki's content features tutorials, databases, software, and more. It has useful information for GIS users of all proficiencies.

GIS Wiki

GADM is a free spatial database of the locations of countries and their lower-level subdivisions.

Global Administrative Areas

Google Earth is an example of a GIS (Geographic Information Systems) application. To be more specific, Google Earth is a GIS viewer. GIS applications use maps to display data based on their location. Google Earth is a free Geographic Information...

Google Earth online, software

Google Maps is the popular online Google mapping service. It is proprietary of Google, but it includes the functionality of editing online maps and creating your own maps. Google Maps also can be used in the desktop version which includes a wide...

Google Maps

GRASS GIS (Geographic Resources Analysis Support System) is a free and open source software suite used for geospatial data management and analysis, image processing, graphics and maps production, spatial modeling, and visualization. GRASS GIS is...


gvSIG is a free, open-source desktop GIS application designed for capturing, storing, handling, analyzing and deploying any kind of geographic information. gvSIG is known for having a user-friendly interface, being able to access the most common...


Abandoned buildings are everywhere. How is our society managing these buildings? Impossible living is a project that aims to build a worldwide database of abandoned buildings, to provide tools and knowledge to help our users start rescue...

Impossible Living

An Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a free tutorial from Harvard. It features a three-part movie on GIS accompanied by hands-on exercises.

Introduction to GIS

This free class by Tufts University focuses on introducing students to the use of geographic information systems in the urban/suburban/metropolitan environment. Students will learn to use GIS and how to frame spatial questions for research and...

Introduction to GIS for Urban and Environmental Analysis

iRevolution is Patrick Meier’s blog, one of the most renowned figures in the humanitarian technology sector. Patrick usually blogs about issues that involve using social media, crowdsourcing, data-mining and experimentation, and so forth. The...


A desktop editor for the popular mapping platform OpenStreetMap.


KDMC offers tutorials on a few different GIS platforms. The tutorials primarily focus on using GIS for journalism, but they're general enough to be useful to anyone.

KDMC Tutorials

KoBoMap is part of the KoBo Toolbox, a set of open-source tools for data collection and analysis currently under development at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. Probably the greatest thing about KoBo is that it has the limited internet...


Kosmo is a desktop GIS tool for visualizing and processing spatial data, characterized by its friendly user interface and access to multiple data formats. It offers a variety of GIS utilities such as file editing and analysis.


LocalData is set of tools that helps community groups and city residents gather and organize information about their neighborhood. The app caters to all ages and technical abilities. Data can be collected on paper and then scanned, or through the...

Localdata data management, platform, service

The Dublin Institute of Technology offers free labs a lectures focused on database management systems as a component of GIS. This is a good resource for those who have a good understanding of GIS and want to produce more data-rich maps. DIT...

Managing Spacial Databases Course

A toolkit for physical mapping (ie, using paper) by stakeholder groups created by university research groups in Belgium in collaboration with arts and digital media centers. Mapping materials including a mapping icon set are available for...

MAP-it Mapping training, Organizations

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MapKnitter is a free and open source tool for combining and positioning images (often from MapMill.org) in geographic space into a composite image map. Basically, it can make maps from any image source, but it particularly lends itself to making...

Mapknitter free, open source

If you are creating your own maps using aerial images, MapMill is a great open source and free program that offers a more accessible and inclusive first step in the process of turning images into maps. With MapMill, you change the tedious task of...


A resource manual for organizations who wish to engage youth in community planning and to introduce them to the planning profession. The PDF document includes guides for organizing workshops and for helping youth create guide books + case studies...

Mapped! A Youth Community Mapping Toolkit for Vancouver community organizing, education, research, university, youth

Extensive introduction to philosophical and practical aspects of mapping in relation to policy change directed at advocacy organizations. Starts with a great section of case studies, followed by a how-to section (“Tools and Technology”) and a...

Maps for Advocacy: An Introduction to Geographical Mapping Techniques advocacy, analog, mobile, NGO, policy, research

Meipi is an online platform that uses user-generated inputs to create collaborative spaces online.

Meipi collaboration, platform, spaces

A lightweight javascript library for designers and developers who want to use interactive maps in their own projects.

Modest Maps

Natural Earth is a public domain map dataset. With Natural Earth, you can make a variety of visually pleasing, well-crafted maps with cartography or GIS software.

Natural Earth

Nijel is a not-for-profit organization that works to make data more accessible and get new insights by creating visualizations.


The Noise Mapping Toolkit was developed to collect and map noise data. It includes an introduction to noise measurement, a list of materials and suggested sources, instructions for using noise meters (as well as instructions for collecting noise...

Noise Mapping Toolkit advocacy, community organizing, noise research

Open City is a group of volunteers that create web apps with open data to improve transparency, efficiency, and decision-making for governments and our democracy. All of the projects are open source and free to use under the MIT license.

Open City Networks

OpenPlans builds open source civic infrastructure. They collaborate with the public sector to create technology for more efficient, responsive, and inclusive government. Their tools address difficult transportation and planning problems — from...

Open Plans civic, infrastructure, standards, transparency

OpenJUMP is an open source GIS program that allows users to edit, save, analyse, and display map data. It's available in English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Portugese and Spanish.


VDS provides public domain street map data for 92 countries, US map data, and crowdsourced world data. They also have free GIS tools such as a map data viewer, a shapefile merge tool, and a tool to convert OpenStreetMap XLM files to shapefiles.

VDS Technologies crowdsourcing, data