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News — 08 August, 2023

A partnership to complete the free map of Medellín, Colombia

The Open Mapping Hub of Latin America and the Caribbean partnered with the Center for Studies with Populations, Mobilizations and Territories (POMOTE) to train civil society organizations in Medellín, Colombia in open mapping.

Once considered the most dangerous city in the world, Medellín has managed to transform itself, now being known more for its development achievements and tourist attractions than for its crime rate. Like any other city, however, it has its own problems, but there are organizations trying to fix them.

Among these organizations stands out the Center for Studies with Populations, Mobilizations and Territories (POMOTE) of the Universidad Autónoma Latinoamericana. This center has been dedicated for five years to research and participation in processes aimed at strengthening the organization and articulation of social organizations in the city of Medellín.

Considering this experience in working with grassroots communities, the Open Mapping Hub of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) built an alliance with POMOTE to develop a cycle of capacity building workshops in open mapping aimed at communities and social organizations of Medellin.

The workshops proposal seeks to promote the use of new technologies, and free and collaborative tools as resources that can contribute to the recognition of experiences and territorial processes in the city of Medellín and the Metropolitan Area, especially in the territories of the peripheries of the city in which social processes and social transformation are energized.


POMOTE - Study Center. Social Narratives Collaboratory. “Mapping of peace experiences”.

The “Workshop on social cartography methodologies and digital mapping tools” opened its public call from July 15 to 23 with several clear objectives:

  • Social movements and community groups identify their own practices and experiences in the use of technologies for mapping and recognition of their territorial processes.

  • Representatives of collectives and social movements participate in a training process in the use of the OpenStreetMap platform and its resources and applications.

  • A community of learning and experimentation of social, investigative and claiming uses of ICTs is created and strengthened with an emphasis on the field of collaborative mapping.

  • A communication strategy is built and implemented for the dissemination and social appropriation of the knowledge generated in the project.

The first session of the workshop was held on July 27 with the participation of 37 attendees representing 22 civil society organizations, as well as representatives of research groups, professors and students.

Leonardo Jimenez, Director of the POMOTE Study Center published some of his impressions of this inaugural session of the workshop:

It stands out from the first meeting the reflections contributed by the participating organizations and individuals who agree in affirming that although the city of Medellín, through community participation processes, has been a pioneer in the use of social cartography methodologies to construct readings of the territories, it has had less development in mapping and social cartography processes from the use of georeferenced data and digital platforms that allow connecting the representations of the city’s territories worldwide.

He also adds:

For the processes participating in the Course-Workshop, this experience will be fundamental, since it will allow them to complement, consolidate and communicate in digital environments cartographic initiatives that organizations have already been carrying out in claiming areas such as the right to territory, the construction of territorial peace, the community risk management, gender-based violence, social mobilization initiatives in defense of the territory, recognition of processes and initiatives of girls, boys, youth, women, sexual diversities, among other areas that emerge from the first diagnosis of mapping needs carried out in the opening meeting.


In the next sessions of the workshop, with the support of members of the Youthmappers Chapters of the UDEA and UNAL Universities, the participants will begin to delve into the world of digital cartography and outline what will be their own open mapping projects according to the identified needs in their communities. These projects will be socialized at the end of the cycle of workshops.

If you want to be part of the community of volunteer mappers of the LAC Open Mapping Hub, write an email to with Subject: Volunteer mapper.

If you are part of an organization that wants to explore how to collaborate on a project, write an email to with Subject: LAC Projects.

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