There is a list hosted by Dgroups that may be of interest - PPGIS (for public
participatory GIS). There are a number of people and projects doing interesting
work in this area and the list is active. See: (though I
had trouble  accessing just now; probably unrelated, but the list
administrators are apparently all going to the Mapping for Change conference in

Companion low-tech mapping approaches (such as 3-D mapping) have also been
developed. See: which has a lot of resources.

The potential for use of overhead images and maps with rural communities, even
the poorest and least formally educated, is great.

Don Osborn

Quoting Chris <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>:

> Hello good people, 
> I am beginning research into ways in which mapping technologies like GIS (1)
> are being used (and can potentially be used) to help avert or cope with 
> humanitarian disasters.
> The tragedy of New Orleans has given me some insight into the potential and 
> limitations for this use of geospatial technologies. Thanks to Andy Carvin 
> for applying his blogging/networking skills to this problem and prompting 
> this line of thinking. Recent discussion of geocoded pictures has also been 
> stimulating. 
> GIS is a sophisticated, robust technology that is being used to map and 
> analyze data in numerous fields, especially environmental studies and public
> health. One of the most compelling features of GIS research is that it takes
> advantage of the contemporary wealth of data that is collected by all kinds 
> of environmental monitors. (eg: weather is monitored constantly, and 
> existing datasets can be mapped geospatially to discover, for example, 
> patterns in flooding or to predict the best time to plant crops.)
> New Orleans has for some time been the subject of extensive GIS research 
> because of it precarious position below sea level. The availability of this 
> technology has, I feel certain, prevented or alleviated numerous problems 
> created by the hurricane. I am interested in discovering similar, existing 
> applications for GIS in poorer parts of the world. I would also like to find
> discussion/research of _potential_ uses, especially, again, in the context 
> of poverty. 
> The center for New Orleans GIS research is at Louisiana State University; 
> they have an excellent website(2) that distributes their GIS data. I doubt 
> that there is any much more sophisticated model of GIS research. What 
> fascinates me is that, although I am new to GIS, it appears that there is a 
> strong "open source sensibility" about their work -- the information is 
> provided free and intended for extended use. How can this be expanded and 
> reproduced? 
> Thanks for any leads in this subject,
> Chris Blow
> (1) Definition of GIS:
> (2) Louisiana state GIS research:
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