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Want to bring social change? This map shows the way

by Radha Rao last modified Dec 21, 2009 07:55 AM
By siliconindia news bureau, Tuesday,08 December 2009, 14:13 hrs

Bangalore: A group of 40 people in Bangalore including techies and activists, are creating digital maps called 'Maps for Making Change' that will be used to bring social change in India. The Centre for Internet and Society in Bangalore, a social organization that studies the connection between the Internet and society, and the NGO Tactical Tech Collective (Bangalore and UK) are creating a map of India that will show hotspots where social change can be brought about.

Individuals working with groups and organizations working for social change across India, including grassroots activists, NGO workers, artists and researchers, sent in 70 high quality and detailed additions to the digital map, reports Renuka Phadnis of Bangalore Mirror. These places across India highlighted issues such as: the socio-economic aspects and consequences of the construction of Bangalore's Metro, fighting for clean rivers, people's rights to livelihoods in the Himalayas, monitoring the national implementation of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (2005), mobilizing slum dwellers to engage with Mumbai's new Development Plan, human rights violations in Kashmir, identifying land where internally displaced people can be resettled in the North East.

"You don't have to be a professional cartographer. With new technologies such as GPS and the Net, anyone can easily add to digital maps," says Dr. Anja Kovacs, Fellow, Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore.
In a city like Bangalore, the potential of using digital maps is tremendous. For instance, such maps could be used to show which Metro routes and stations Bangaloreans want. The maps could tell us where migrant labor enter the city, where they live and where they move on. Bangalore based techie B.V. Pradeep, who provided technical support to the map team says, "In a map, every person draws what is important to him. One person may draw a mall, another may mark the school and hospital. This map will give visibility to invisible people."

Anyone can access Maps for Making Change. See email list ( The wiki will be up and running in a few days time (, said Dr Kovacs. To follow on Twitter, use the hash tag #maps4change.

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