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Maps are important means for bottom-up communication and self-assertion - Interview with Giacomo Rambaldi at Mapping for Change 2005

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Giacomo, you are a key participant in this conference. You have a lot of experience on the subject of Participatory GIS. What is in your opinion the role of PGIS in the context of rural development? Well, fundamentally PGIS is about giving an increased stake to ordinary people ... ... in determining how their territory is administered. PGIS is based on visualising the territory using different geospatial tools, ... ... like GIS, GPS and other mapping tools. These tools facilitate the interaction of community members with government planners, ... ... with external institutions, and help communities to entertain a peer-to-peer dialogue. In that sense there is a lot of learning which goes along at community level ... ... in terms of spatial issues, in terms of their own territory. And, that learning translates into a more efficient, more informed dialogue ... ... which starts at the community level. It is a bottom up dialogue. Yes, it is all based on using a shared language, ... ... which, in the case of maps, is essentially a visual language. For communication to take place, the two parties have to be able to communicate ... ... using the same language. When visual language is common to the two the parties, ... ... ordinary, even illiterate people can efficiently communicate with policy makers, engineers, ... ... and decision makers on issues which are related to the territory. Community mapping and participatory GIS are all about assisting ordinary people ... ... in making use of innovative geographic information technologies to portray their land, ... ... their knowledge in the form of maps. And the maps are used as the medium for entertaining a dialogue. Why is that so important? Well, there is a general tendency, at least on paper, for governments to be proactive ... ... in involving the grassroots in decision making. And this is one way forward on that line. You think that PGIS practice is so crucial to the common person in the rural areas. Why? Well, fundamentally if you are not on the map, you don't exist. If you are not on the map, you don't get work. If you are not on the map, you don't get a road. If you are not on the map, you don't get a school. If you are on the map, you may negotiate and get these. I think this is the fundamental issue. Thank you. Educational video produced in the framework of the project: "Support the spread of good practice ... ... in generating, managing, analysing and communicating spatial information"

Video Details

Duration: 3 minutes and 27 seconds
Year: 2010
Country: Kenya
Language: English
Producer: CTA
Views: 234
Posted by: giacomo on Jun 3, 2010

Giacomo Rambaldi, senior programme coordinator at CTA, elaborates on the role of PGIS practice in rural development. In his view participatory mapping offers opportunities for ordinary people to get a more authoritative say on how the territories they occupy and use are administered. The use of geographic information technologies coupled to the visual – easy to understand - language of maps, place grassroots in the position to entertain peer to peer dialogues with higher authorities. Being on a map, argues Rambaldi, corresponds to existing, and to being in the position to make your voice heard and negotiate access to services and utilities, so important in rural settings.

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