Mapping Across Borders is a Canadian Non-Profit educational institution, established in 2010. Although a young organization, Mapping Across Borders has operated in Canada, Europe and East Africa to deliver high quality services related to geographic information technologies. Our mission statement is:
"Mapping Across Borders is a non-profit organization dedicated to sharing practical knowledge of geographic information technologies across communities, cultures and international borders. Our goal is to facilitate partnerships through easily accessible online networks which bridge global information gaps with volunteers and organizations to bring positive social change"
From this mission statement we have been building an organization that will not only interface with development, but strengthen all organizations who are working towards a happier, healthier and stronger global society. We do this in two large programs;
- 1. We offer training on mapping worldwide. These programs last up to five days and cover a wide diversity of topics, starting from the basics and continuing into highly specialized topics.
- 2. We offer this comprehensive website which not only facilitates knowledge transfer in the field of mapping, but allows organizations and individuals to put the lessons learned into practice as socially conscious, global citizens.
On this website you will find two resources to which help you learn about mapping and carry out projects. One is an ever growing and constantly revising base of knowledge; we call this the Learning Space. It has lessons which teach GIS theory, how-to's which form the nuts and bolts of completing tasks using mapping software, a set of assignments to practice you skills receive and a glossary to clear up any jargon which is used.
The strongest part to our approach of to teaching/learning mapping is that there is a social network of people who are ready to help you learn. While progressing through lessons and how-to's you have the opportunity to ask questions while you learn, seeking advice and debating concepts that are brought forward while you learn. This socially minded approach to learning is also present when completing assignments on Mapping Across Borders; you not only have the ability to submit assignments to receive feedback from knowledgeable users, but also to dialog with those persons afterwards; solidifying your understanding.
For those who are already knowledgeable about mapping, the learning space is an area where you can demonstrate all that you know. Every page in this section of the website is fully editable for all users, so you can add your knowledge to existing pages or even create brand new resources on the site. Each contribution you make is noted in your user profile, meaning that you can demonstrate to others your expertise.
Our second online resource is the Project Space. This is where you can put your knowledge to work, bringing multiple actors together to accomplish mapping projects that make a difference in lives of others. Mapping Across Borders projects provide organizations with the opportunity to work with persons knowledgeable of mapping, and who can help to accomplish advanced techniques for your projects. For those who are knowledgeable of mapping already, these projects provide an opportunity to volunteer your time, utilizing the knowledge that you have from the comfort of your own home. Along with volunteering your time, you also have the added value of being able to showcase your talents to others, as your efforts are recorded on your project portfolio and publically promoted on each project’s public pages.
Projects on Mapping Across Borders begin similarly to those on job posting websites. Organizations who want to accomplish mapping projects post a proposal on a listing page and knowledgeable users then apply to work on these projects. This gives the organization the ability to choose the candidate that they feel is the best fit for their project, based on the abilities demonstrated on Mapping Across Borders.
Once the organization and volunteers are set, Mapping Across Borders provides a private space online where the organization and volunteer can work alongside one another, establishing a timetable for the project with a list of duties required for each project participant. From this point forward, Mapping Across Borders provides a medium for sharing data privately, communicating with one another by text, audio or video conferencing, working together on map layouts and putting forth a public page for the project, to let interested parties know what work is ongoing, and a chance to highlight the efforts of all involved.