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How maps look different when women map them

Saturday 17 March 2018

Too often, men. And money. But a team of OpenStreetMap users is working to draw new cartographic lines, making maps that more accurately—and equitably—reflect our space.

Written by Sarah Holder for City Lab

 I thought this article was really interesting and has great application for TOK. It describes the general picture of male dominance in the world of mapping and this extends to contemporary Open Street Mapping. According to Rachel Levine,  a GIS operations and training coordinator with the American Red Cross, experts estimate that only 2 to 5 percent of OSMers are women. The article develops two humanitarian mapping groups that are increasing the opportunities for women to map. They include, Humanitarian Streetmap Team (HOT) and Missing Maps

The other interesting issue beyond the enormous gender gap, concerns what women choose to map when given the opportunity, compared to their male counterparts.  OSmappers tend to be largely involved in mapping areas that Google haven't invested in. This tends to be places in developing countries. OSmappers then help fill the gaps, mapping roads and buildings but in addition tagging services. With such male dominance, there appears to be a very male centric space created, with a lack of female representation. Across OSM, there appear to be countless sports arenas and bars and other functions that men may show an interest in but when it comes down to women's health care clinics, abortion clinics child health centers, and functions of importance to women there appears to be mass lack of representation. The article goes further to discuss the need to find ways of mapping safe space for women, something not entirely realistic for OSM

Tags: Gender, GIS, Mapping, Urban Environments, Food and Health


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