Environmental threats are accelerating against marginalized communities worldwide, especially for Indigenous peoples who protect 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity. Grassroots defenders around the globe want to collect evidence such as photos, testimonies, and geolocations about environmental threats but lack the technology needed to effectively do so. Unfortunately, existing tools don’t meet these needs because they rely on internet access (which is unreliable, restricted by governments, or non-existent in many locations); they require high technical skills or training; it’s hard for a group to collaborate on the same dataset; or they require setup and maintenance of a server or database. They also store data on a central, external server, which perpetuates the colonial legacy of technology.
Mapeo is a mobile and desktop application, co-created by Indigenous groups in the Amazon, that enables communities to map and monitor critical ecosystems. Users are able to gather, share, and manage data within a trusted network and export it to other applications and audiences. Current partners use Mapeo to monitor environmental threats such as illegal logging and mining; map biodiverse habitats; manage their resources through crop rotation and protecting endangered species; and create reports and maps that are used in advocacy and legal campaigns to halt environmental degradation and create legally protected areas. Mapeo also works with limited or no connectivity, allowing data to be shared offline between devices.
1.2 million acres of sustainable forest management, including prevention from deforestation.
500,000 acres of land saved from degradation over total land area.
While Indigenous peoples represent only about 5 percent of the world’s population, they protect more than 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity. As the climate crisis intensifies and world bodies, like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, recommend drastic changes to global policies and the economy, Indigenous peoples are a key part of the solution.
While communities on the frontlines of protecting resilient ecosystems rarely have the money to pay for tools like Mapeo themselves, governments and the philanthropic sector are increasingly making financial investments to Indigenous leadership and tools that support them. Recently, the Government of Canada has invested $340 million to support Indigenous-led conservation and the Ford Foundation’s Natural Resources and Climate Change department’s annual budget is $25 million.
There is also potential growth for Mapeo in the following market segments: communities tracking human rights violations, fishing communities, secure data collection (eg. journalism), and collaborative scientific data collection projects.
Members of the ECA-RCA Environmental Monitoring Team use Mapeo to document illegal mining in the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve, Peru.
Partnered with local and Indigenous organizations in eight countries.
Partnerships with All Eyes on the Amazon, Amazon Frontlines, Forest Peoples Programme, Institute of Social Studies at Erasmus University, Mapbox, Simply Secure, and Witness.
Won The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation AI for Humanity Prize, Good Energies Foundation Prize, GM Prize, and ServiceNow Prize at the 2021 Solve Challenge Finals.
Connections with foundations and individuals with shared values, excited by working with frontline defenders to use technology to support their human and environmental rights.
High net-worth board members who can help to connect with philanthropy circles and networks.
Feedback to improve systems for data collection, monitoring, and evaluation.
Connections to content producers, especially for video, blogs, illustrated case studies, and story maps.
Brand marketing specialist to help streamline external language in translatable ways that are clear for potential users.
Videographers, photographers, and writers to capture storytelling elements and valuable media archives for partner communities.
Developers, volunteers for our open-source contributor network, and partners to host hackathon-type events to help develop key features of Mapeo.
Madison, United States
Brazil, Canada, Viet Nam, Colombia, Ecuador, Kenya, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Thailand, Vanuatu
Emily Jacobi Founder and Executive Director, Digital Democracy