means to illuminate social and environmental injustices


co-construction of knowledge


promotion of self and critical awareness that leads to individual, collective social change

Participatory Action Research

Tell me, I forget.

Show me, I remember.

Involve me, I understand. 


-Chinese Proverb (Paulos et al., 2009)



Method by which participants identify, represent, and enhance their community through a specific photographic technique


  • Identify community assets and deficits
  • Use photography to draw attention to a social issue
  • Induce change by informing policy makers


Participatory Mapping

Many Voices

Many forms

Medium influences who will participate

(Chambers 2006)

Knowledge Politics

Political Power

"...knowledge politics to be shaped by deeply institutionalized tendencies in planning and policy making to grant greater weight to knowledge expressed as quantitative data or represented in cartographic forms." 


Data Driven Decision Making

(Elwood & Leszczynski, 2012: 545)

Spatial Media

Elwood & Leszczynski (2012) New spatial media, new knowledge politics. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers (38): 544-559.

"Mediums or channels that extend our ability to interact with and create geographic information online" p 544

Maps --> Media





"moment of translation

transforming experiential, testimonial and qualitative forms of knowledge into quantitative aggregated or abstracted forms" (Elwood & Leszczynski , 2012: 548)

Digital Maps! 
Digital Globes offer basemaps for participatory mapping. But they also control temporal and spatial resolution of those basemaps

How can we

harness the hype

of accessible technology

to make maps!


  • Illuminate social and environmental injustice
  • Relevant Temporal Resolution
  • Enhanced Spatial Resolution
  • Increased coverage
  • Complement existing research methods
  • Opportunity to establish good practice with community engagement 

Google Earth date unknown

UAV imagery March 2015

Spatial Media: Aerial Photovoice Cinemtography

Aerial Photovoice

  • evokes emotion 
  • representations of place
  • What if we used it for something more important?

Organized #DronesforGood

  • Digital Humanitarianism
  • UAViators 
  • DIYDrones
  • OpenDroneMap
  • DroneAdventures
  • Conservation Drones
  • Drone Code

Taiwan’s National Cheng Kung University created this 3D model from aerial imagery captured by UAV.

Harmful Algal Blooms

Twin Lakes Home Owners Assiciation, Federal Way

Lake Loreen

Lake Jean

Lake Loreen

Lake Loreen

Generate an Othophoto



Title Text

  • Bullet One
  • Bullet Two
  • Bullet Three

Participation sparks critical thinking during each step of the process


Illuminate methods in which to utilize these increasingly accessible technologies to edit your world, tell your truth,

share your experience in place. 

Thank You.


(Thanks Renee and Alan and all Mapathoners)


By Britta Ricker