Mapping for Social Justice

The Mapping Action Collective (MAC) was a group based in Portland, Oregon that specialized in data-visualization, mapping, and data analysis. During the time that they were active, from 2017-2022, the group supported grassroots organizations and individuals by providing them with maps, data, and training in data literacy.  They collaborated with these groups to help them analyze and visualize data in a way that can support and elevate the work they are doing. MAC members were students, teachers, enthusiasts, and practitioners who advocated for publicly accessible data and open source software, to dismantle some of the barriers of access to data analysis tools.

MAC members worked toward building trust and long-term partnerships with the groups they worked with. As GIS students and practitioners, their goal was build a system to support one another not just to network or get ahead professionally, but to foster a critically thinking and socially just community.

Maps are a manifestation of how we visualize space and place. They should be tools for all communities to use and create. MAC sought out collaborative and community-based projects that use data to disrupt existing power structures and elevate voices that have been marginalized, diminished, or misrepresented by the GIS status-quo.

What is a map? Who has the right to create maps? Is there a right way to create a map? What should maps do for us? And who decides?

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