Mapping Process Design Questions

Mapping Process Design Questions

1.     How do we understand the problem or need?

Why is there a need for community mapping? Are there multiple needs, or problems to address? How and where does mapping fit within the larger CLP process?

Example: Communities cannot register their land officially without accurate spatial data describing the location of their land area.

Example: Community members do not know where the boundaries of their lands are and this is causing conflicts and land management problems.


2.     What are the goals and outputs for this mapping process?

Based on the problem(s)/need(s), what are we trying to accomplish by mapping? Make the goals and outputs as specific as possible, and try to keep them realistically within the scope and control of the project (e.g. avoid goals like ‘Communities register their lands’).

Example: Goal – Communities can identify and describe their boundaries. Output – The two communities will have a printed map that they approve that clearly shows their agreed boundaries, main community features, and land use areas.

Example: Goal – Communities are empowered to inform the creation of official spatial data about their lands. Output – Communities create a set of spatial information that they can choose to share with government.


3.     What data and tools are needed to address the problem and achieve the outputs?

In order to achieve the outputs identified, what type of information/data will be required? What types of tools or equipment will be needed to collect that data? When will this information be collected?


Example: Coordinates and descriptive data for community features, like cultural sites, that are evidence of a community’s use and management of the area. To collect this, need a device for taking GPS coordinates, a way to take a picture of the site, and a survey tool to record details about the site.

Example: Evidence of agreement on boundaries between community and neighbours. To collect this, communities will record their agreements in a simple MOU with signatures and a group photograph. Later, neighbours will approve the maps with a signature and the county surveyor will officially approve the boundary coordinates.

Example: Anticipate that come boundaries of the community will be identifiable features like rivers and roads – coordinates for these can be created from digitizing satellite imagery rather than needing to travel along them. To use this, will need access to satellite imagery that is relevant to the context and that has a level of detail sufficient to see relevant features.

4.     What information may already exist?

Is any of the information needed already existing? Have there been any community maps made in the past with government or other organizations? Are there government maps or datasets that can be used to inform this process? Who in government, or other organizations, can be contacted to track down existing information?


Example: Many local or national government base map (show some infrastructure, natural features, and place names. These are useful for planning, sketch-mapping, and digitizing. If governments do have existing maps, check if these are available as digital datasets also.

Example: What satellite imagery is publicly available through the Cadasta platform or Field Papers?


5.     Who needs to be involved, when, and how?

Consider and design community engagement through each step of the process. Begin this planning internally, but co-develop the plan collaboratively with communities. Consider:

·       Who are your allies and potential opponents to this work? How to involve the allies and manage/include the opponents?

·       Who in the community holds information about boundaries, features, important sites, and land use areas? How should they be involved and in what stages? Are there other knowledge holders from outside the community who could assist (e.g. local officials for administrative boundaries, rangers who visit more remote areas, herders who travel to far reaches of the community)

·       How and when will neighbors and other land users be involved? (E.g. pastoralists who use access routes through the community)

·       For each stage in the process, who is important to include and what will their roles be?

oWill community members assisting with data collection in the field receive any stipend or resources to support their donation of time? How much? Who will provide that, the organization/ community?

oWho will review and approve the maps from the community? How to ensure that it is fully accepted by community and their neighbors?

·       How/If to involve the government in the mapping planning, data collection, and/or map finalization?


6.     What are potential barriers or obstacles we should anticipate?

Consider and design community engagement through each step of the process. Begin this planning internally, but co-develop the plan collaboratively with communities. Consider:

·       Concerns or fears from community members, user groups, neighbors, officials etc.

·       Logistical challenges (e.g. vast areas with limited vehicle access, barriers to communication or coordination)

·       Safety and security issues (e.g. wild animals, heat, getting lost, boundary conflicts and tensions)


7.     What are our organizational capacity and available resources?

Does the organization have what is required to complete the target outputs and activities through each stage of the mapping process? If there are gaps, how will these be addressed? Consider:

·       Staff time

·       Staff skills

o   Training needs?

o   Turning the data into draft maps (using mapping software)

·       Logistics and field costs (vehicles, water, food, communications)

o   Need to rent vehicles? Use motorbikes? Costs?

o   Estimates of how long it will take to collect these points (consider how many hours people can be out per day, how many days people can collect data before they need a rest)

§  How can you estimate the length of time when you don’t know the land very well? How can the community assist you in this planning?

§  Consider how long a field day can be – how early will you start? When does it get too hot/dark to keep working? How long for rest breaks? Etc.

§  Think about how tiring the field work will be – you may want to alternate field days with rest/data processing days to allow staff and community members to rest.

o   Costs for logistics – how much budget is available?

§  Will community volunteers who do days of field data collection be reimbursed at all? How will this be negotiated and clarified with communities and individuals in advance of the field days?

·       Equipment and tools

o   What do we already have or can produce ourselves? What needs to be purchased?

o   What is the budget available for purchases?

o   When and from where do these need to be purchased?

·       How many meetings are needed for the mapping process, and what costs will these have?

·       Production costs (e.g. printing/laminating costs – remember to consider sketch maps, draft maps, and final maps)

·       Long-term data management and access by communities – is the organization in a position to guarantee this? If not, what other options are there?

8.     Who will do what? (Organizational roles and responsibilities)

Discuss the specific roles and responsibilities for all staff and organizations involved in each step of the mapping process. If necessary, revisit the questions about staff time and staff skills in #7.

Consider for each step in process: Who will do what parts of the task? Is there a need for support from experts or technicians at any point? Who will that be (consultants, other partners, universities, etc.)?


9.     What is our work plan and budget?

Create an estimated – but feasible – timeline for the stages and activities of the mapping process. Include specific next steps and assign them to specific people. Remember to consider when and how the community will be involved in the planning for mapping.


Create a budget for any equipment, resources, meetings, transportation, allowances, staff time, etc. and determine where these funds will come from.