[...] In contrast, projects like OpenStreetMap eschew commercial or government-owned maps in favor of data generated directly by users. Volunteers generate "traces" by walking or cycling routes while carrying a GPS tracker, and then upload the results and edit them online. Following the precepts of open source software and Wikipedia, the project encourages collaboration and makes the results free for others to use. The site has a lively discussion board populated by amateur geographers, many of whom organize "mapping parties" to survey specific locations.
Watching the watchers is, again, a popular theme for do-it-yourself mappers. For years, the Surveillance Camera Players mapped the location of cameras around New York City, using them to stage performances and walking tours. The group collaborated with the Institute for Applied Autonomy on its iSEE project to develop a Web-based map that lets users plot their routes along "paths of least surveillance." [...]
(Written by Jessica Clark and published in the 29 Feburary 2008 issue of In These Times.)
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