Mapping as a Commons

A commons approach for mapping the commons

the basics

* Discuss your common goal again and again. And again! Everybody involved should feel in syntony with at any time. Make sure you learn how to systematically separate commons from commerce .

* Keep an eye on interoperability and use web technology! If you map as a commons you can easily contribute to the Federated Commons through dialogue with partner-mappers and focussing on interoperability. It is crucial to build on open technology standards, which ensure your map, its data and associated mapping applications can be reused on a wide diversity of media and devices.

* Use free open data licenses! To own your own data is important, but not enough. You need to make sure nobody dumps your common data back into the world of marketization and enclosures. Remember: Free licences protect your collective work as a commons.

* Make sure you really own our data! Even if, in the short run, refrain from importing data for geolocation or copy and paste what you are not legally entitled to seems to be a nightmare. In the long run, it is the only way to prevent you being sued or your data being enclosed.

* Contribute to or devolop open taxonomies! A taxonomy as an entry point to complex social worlds will never be "ready" as a matter of fact. The more you learn about these worlds the better you can make your taxonomy. And an open taxonomy allows your peer mappers and end users to search the taxonomy for a concept, and if they can't find it, link it -via tag- to a parent category or - if you allow for - fix the taxonomy themselves, eventually merging the tag structure into the "official" taxonomy.

* Link to WikiData and OpenStreetMap from the beginning! Whenever possible, don't maintain your single data set, but contribute as much as possible to already existing data commons.

* Use free software at all levels! This is paramount, as it is not about the freedom of the software, but about your freedom to further develop your mapping projects according to your own needs.

* Self-host your infrastructure Only use technology which allows to be replicated quickly. Eat your own dogfood, and document how you do it.

* Develop innovative legal forms to make sure the resulting maps own themselves (instead of being owned by by any specific person or organization.)