Participatory mapping: using GIS and maps to center community knowledge

November 17, 2022


Maps are intuitive and powerful visualization tools for communicating stories, experiences, and knowledge of the place. Map-making can be both empowering and a tool of control, and the practice was traditionally privileged as a domain for experts only. In recent years there have been significant gains in democratizing access to spatial data and mapping technologies. Participatory mapping, an area seeking to include and empower marginalized populations in mapping, has been given increasing attention. Participatory mapping approaches provide a bridge for communities to engage in mapping, share knowledge, create data, and value community-based knowledge as data.

Come to this workshop to learn how to use Google Earth and a participatory mapping approach called Direct to Digital (D2D) to map community knowledge. The method was created by the Firelight Group for mapping Indigenous traditional knowledge and with its emphasis on principles of Indigenous data sovereignty, and its ability to visualize how people understand, experience, interact and move about their environments, D2D is particularly suited for mapping knowledge in the context of community-engaged research.

*No prior GIS or mapping experience is required. 

*Light refreshments will be served during the workshop.


Date: Thursday, November 17th, 2022
Time: 2pm - 3:30pm PT


312 Main St, Vancouver BC

NOTE: This event will be held in-person only therefore please only register if you are able to attend in-person at 312 Main in Vancouver on November 17th.

Photos will be taken at this event.


Jaimy Fischer

Jaimy Fischer is a doctoral candidate in her second year of study in the Faculty of Health Sciences. Jaimy's research interests span active transportation, GIScience, and mobility justice—a grounding for understanding the differential ways people experience transportation and street safety. As a Michif (Métis) researcher, Jaimy aspires to build relations with Indigenous communities, community service providers, and youth to advance equity and amplify Indigenous perspectives on what constitutes safe and healthy mobility.

Sarah Zhang

Sarah Zhang is the GIS/Map Librarian at Simon Fraser University. Sarah holds a Master of Library and Information Studies and a Master of Science in Ecology. As an immigrant and mother, she is constantly inspired by the cultures around her, whether as an insider or outsider. Passionate about lowering the bar to entering GIS/mapping for students, researchers and the public, she enjoys providing learning opportunities for them to become not only consumers of geospatial data, which has become pervasive in today’s world, but also producers and communicators of geospatial information and knowledge.