Non-Profit Seeks Help with GIS Project for Costa Rica through Crowdsourcing

December 9, 2013  - By 3 Comments

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Geoporter, a non-profit focused on leveraging advanced mapping technology to empower communities to address burgeoning problems from within, has launched an Indiegogo crowdsourcing campaign to help support continued work and expansion. Funds will be used to provide resources to current projects in Costa Rica, while allowing the team to establish new operations in other areas globally.

Besides financial donations, the group is seeking serviceable digital cameras, GPS units, and laptop computers — worn but working well.

The organization uses GPS-driven technology to map behaviors in a community, allowing them to better define problems, develop and implement solutions, and evaluate the effectiveness of their efforts for continual improvement. The technology can be used to address a wide variety of problems, from tackling trash build up in the area to monitoring whale patterns in order to facilitate more sustainable tourism practices. In Costa Rica, the Geoporter team worked to map mosquito larva and water treatment to help reduce the risk of exposure to dengue fever.

“It’s exciting and rewarding work,” said co-founder Anita Palmer. “We’re going into areas where we can make a real difference in the everyday lives of people through the power of data analysis. What’s more, we’re helping to reverse trends that would otherwise have regional and, in some cases, global implications.”

gI_65702_Kids-trash-gpsGeospatial mapping is not new, but it has traditionally been executed by teams of experts in the aftermath of a crisis. Geoporter’s approach is a proactive one, where experts move into communities as challenges are developing so they can effect change before there’s a real problem. Still, building and sustaining a team of experts would have been cost-prohibitive, so Geoporter decided it would try something radical: teaching people within these communities to use the technology themselves.

“We started by training adults and youth,” explains Geoporter Director Amy Work. “Now, children in the area are taught how to use the technology in and outside of school. We have eight-year-olds navigating commercial-grade geospatial mapping technology like Esri ArcGIS Online better than some of the professionals I’ve known. The lessons they’re learning today will not only enable them to take ownership of their communities, but provide them with skills they can leverage through adulthood.”

Geoporter is hoping to use the IndieGoGo campaign to raise the funds necessary to continue their work in Costa Rica, and are looking to expand into other areas over the course of the next year. Donations will go towards funding technology, educator travel and living expenses, and community staffing.

To support the Geoporter mission or learn more about their work, visit the Indiegogo campaign by clicking here.

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3 Comments on "Non-Profit Seeks Help with GIS Project for Costa Rica through Crowdsourcing"

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  1. Cassie Quigley says:

    Hi! I am an environmental science professor at Clemson University and will be teaching a course in Puntaranes from Dec. 26-Jan. 10th and would love to get my students involved in crowdsourcing collecting GIS data. Do you think this would be possible? I look forward to hearing from you!

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