Thursday, June 03, 2010


ONLINE RESOURCE: Robert Chambers on Participatory Mapping and GIS (English, French, and Spanish Versions)

Integrated Approaches to Participatory Development (IAPAD) has made several versions of Robert Chambers’ 2006 article on participatory mapping available through their website.

In recent years, changes in participatory methodologies (PMs) may have been even more rapid than those in spatial technologies. Local people's abilities to make maps only became widely known and facilitated in the early 1990s. In this article Dr. Robert Chambers argues that participatory mapping has spread like a pandemic with many variants and applications not only in natural resource management but also in many other domains. With mapping as one element, there are now signs of a new pluralist eclecticism and creativity in PMs. The medium and means of mapping, whether ground, paper or GIS and the style and mode of facilitation, influence who takes part, the nature of outcomes and power relationships. Much depends on the behaviour and attitudes of facilitators and who controls the process. Many ethical issues present troubling dilemmas, and lead to overarching questions about empowerment and ownership. Questions to be asked, again and again, are: Who is empowered and who disempowered? And, who gains and who loses?

Below is the original article published on EJISDC, an open access journal, and translations in French and Spanish done in the context of the development of the "Training Kit on Participatory Spatial Information Managamant and Communication" soon to be published by CTA and IFAD.

Download the article: English, French, Spanish.

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