Geographic information systems (GIS) and online mapping applications continue to become more powerful and easier to use every year. Mapping applications that used to require sophisticated software and time-intensive training to create can now be completed in a matter of minutes with user-friendly tools. A wealth of data sources are becoming available online, allowing data from around the world to be mingled, mixed, and mashed up — and where data does not yet exist, communities are using these new tools to gather it themselves!
Organizations around the globe are harnessing these tools and data to mobilize supporters, tell their stories and the stories of their constituents, and to share knowledge with people and communities everywhere. In this article, we’ll look at some examples of nonprofits on the cutting-edge of online mapping and GIS, and how they utilize place-related data to benefit their respective communities.