Daily Archives: 18 July 2007

The challenges of Web 2.0 & digital mapping


Web2forDev is not listed yet by INGOs as one of their main blog sources on Web 2.0 and development, but it should be. Launched as the blog of the conference that will take place in Rome in September on the subject of ‘networking, collaborating and exchanging knowledge in agriculture, rural development and natural resources management’, the blog is already featuring a number of interesting post.

One is about the challenges of adopting and implementing Web 2.0 applications in Africa. Access, connections, and a general recognition that mobile networks are the future. Through this blog, I came across Giacomo Rambaldi’s IAPAD:

[IAPAD is] the merger of Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) methods with Geographic Information Technologies and Systems (GIT&S) to compose peoples’ spatial knowledge in the forms of virtual or physical, 2 or 3 dimensional maps used as interactive vehicles for discussion, information exchange, analysis and as support in advocacy, decision making and action taking.

Although quite a mouthful (the organisation is linked to CTA, the EU-funded Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU, so it’s unsurprising that their communication capacity is limited), this is still an interesting initiative worth signalling.

Finally, although not exactly related to Web 2.0 for development, it is also worth checking out the Digital Earth initiative, which (like the Internet and Global Warming) was allegedly conceptualised by Al Gore:

Digital Earth is a visionary concept, popularized by former US Vice President Al Gore,  for the virtual and 3-D representation of the Earth that is spatially referenced and interconnected with digital knowledge archives from around the planet with vast amounts of scientific, natural, and cultural information to describe and understand the Earth, its systems, and human activities.

Although at the moment it doesn’t seem to have produced much more than a series of lengthy conferences between suited executives, it has the potential to become really amazing in the future, as it translates into visual data all the vast amounts of information that is already on the net relevant to achieving the most pressing social and environmental objectives.