Tuesday, June 06, 2006

"Community, Communication, Cartography"

Pak Baiquni from Geography UGM has a new slogan that has stayed in my head for the past several days: "Three C's (Community, Communication, Cartography)." I think part of it reflects the academia's self-interest to prove its role in times of emergency. Another part reflects a comprehensive thought at how data & information are communicated and presented to and from the people most affected.

So this is what the geography folks are doing: some volunteers are out in the field collecting data directly from community groups, others work with (commercial) radio stations to collect data from the people who call-in to request for aid, others then map the data into web GIS. In the beginning I thought, "Great - data is collected, and then mapped. So what?" It's relief agencies who are going to use the maps more. Great idea, but nothing new.

But last night he said that "Three C's" work the other way around, too: so it's Cartography, Communication, Community. Data and information laid out on maps will then be communicated back to the community. A two-way flow!

I'm excited. Let's see how it all rolls.

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