Participatory Mapping

Participatory Mapping

Training course on community-based field research, inventory, and monitoring

Disputes often arise over the boundaries of forests. To protect their interests and livelihoods, local people need tools to gather accurate and complete information about resources and land that they use, manage, or own. When they can document and map their resources, they can better participate in determining acceptable areas and boundaries for their management or use.


Aims and Objectives

This course prepares field officers to help communities gather data on forest area, resources, features such as trails and streams, and land-use areas. It covers some technical aspects of map reading, aerial photos, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Field officers can work with communities to run the processes from this course in their local forests and use the data to help establish acceptable boundaries for resources under community management.


The course will enable you to:

  • Gain a working knowledge of how to use GPS and GIS tools to prepare a map of a forest area
  • Develop skills in reading maps and aerial photographs
  • Learn and practice techniques and steps to facilitate the mapping process within communities, including instructing local people in how to collect data with GPS and GIS tools
  • Learn and practice techniques to facilitate discussions between communities and government actors on boundaries

Who Should Attend?

Forestry officers who work at the field level, including government officers, nongovernment organization staff, and experienced community members


Course Contents

  • The role of participatory mapping: How and why to use participatory mapping; introduction to tools that facilitate the mapping process, including sketch maps and walking tours; action points for working with communities to assess priorities for forest use
  • Using new tools: Reading maps and aerial photos; using GPS and GIS programs to collect and analyze data.

Course Length

This course can range from 5 to 15 days, depending on your needs.