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... is a Geospatial Workshop Series in Chiapas to increase study skills, geographic awareness and civic engagement.


・It's reported that Latin America ranks second to last of all developing regions in adoption of geospatial technologies. At the same time, geospatial is the 4th ICT4D sector out of 14 that will impact development from now until 2025. Geospatial field is a technically demanding one; in light of Latin America's skills gap, this makes for taller hurdles to overcome.

・To build the geo-literacy necessary to work in geospatial a workshop program for youth in Chiapas is proposed. The workshops intend to teach geo-concepts, explore the geo-environment and visualize a future geo-scape.

・The program intends to positively change the socioeconomic life of the state and the larger region through increasing the geospatial skills of participants while expanding their geographic awareness. Each day of the workshop functions as a complete module; cumulatively, nascent geodesigners will be formed. Skillsets will grow, bonds between participants will be forged and connections between participants and community members will be cultivated.

Each workshop lasts 3-5 days, is offered to socially and economically vulnerable adolescents from the local area, and will achieve the following:

1. Develop grounding in geospatial concepts 
2. Teach low-tech methods of mapping, recording and analyzing qualitative data
3. Teach the design of policy and project changes.

Project description

The GC Workshop is designed to positively influence the socioeconomic life of San Cristobal de las Casas through increasing the geospatial skills of workshop participants while expanding their geographic awareness at the same time. The main goal is to improve the geographic literacy of adolescents in Chiapas through understanding of geographic concepts, through exploration of their personal geographic environment and through imagining a future landscape/cityscape. The workshop propose will fulfill this goal by achieving the following objectives:

1. Study the basics of mapping, cartography and designation (Representation). This objective will be attained within the classroom. A lecture and a presentation will be given to provide a foundation of knowledge on which to build understanding and to prepare for the following days' activities.

2. Learn the skills of observation and documentation of qualitative and quantitative geographic information (Process, Evaluation). This will be achieved by fieldwork in the landscape. Utilizing custom maps that the students will prepare on web applications and publish in 'fieldbooks', we will gather information as teams in the urban and/or undeveloped landscapes. These will be cataloged and analyzed later in the classroom.

3. Develop design skills through the application of geodesign survey tools (Change). We will discuss the 'Change' model of the geodesign framework: the proposal of policy changes (in the form of laws, codes, regulation or customs) or project changes (built changes in the landscape that can include building projects, engineering projects or even demolition and restoration projects).

   While each day of the workshop is a complete module, the cumulative effect will be to form participants into nascent geodesigners. The modules will reflect some of the models outlined in the framework for geodesign developed by Harvard GSD faculty.
    The workshop will utilize easily accessible, affordable and sometimes free online tools to illustrate the concepts of geodesign. Fieldwork will be a vital part of the workshop experience. Collected impressions, documented observations and empirical data will be analyzed in the classroom, discussed and processed as art of the evaluation and design stages of the workshop.


Arturo designs for conflict resolution, community and communication. Founder of Moreno Geodesign with projects in Japan, Afghanistan, Indonesia and Mexico.

  • Community development expert: Juan Cruz López

Juan is a native of San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas and a landscape artist for over 17 years. Dedicated to development, he's fluent Spanish and Tzotzil.

Ms. Vergara is an economist, computer scientist, pgRouting developer, and free software advocate. She's a for Google Summer of Code mentor since 2015 and member of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation board.