Community Maps (CMaps) are maps produced for and by local communities. In some countries, CMaps are considered as part of the state planning systems, under the sub category of the supplementary planning guidelines.

The State Planning System (SPS) is a flexible, policy-oriented management tool intended to help analyze possible impacts of various policy decisions. SPS can address wide range of issues and consists of three interrelated components: the physical (spatial) plan, written policy statements and implementation programs.

The Supplementary Planning Guideline (SPG) is defined as advice, which adds to or refines information set out in the state spatial plan. It can take the form of a design guide, a planning brief, a community map, or a supplement to other specific policies in a state plan. A Supplementary Planning Guideline can be produced separate from these plan but must be clearly cross-referenced to the relevant policies. A Supplementary Planning Guideline needs to be prepared based on ideas and plans generated by the local community, businesses or other interested parties. Their views must be taken into account and can be incorporated in the final Supplementary Planning Guideline documents.

From wider perspective, CMapping initiatives produced positive results. Community maps drawn by the Natives are often accepted by the state and adapted as official maps of that particular community e.g. Nicaragua (Stock 2003) and Panama where ‘Government officials and other experts recognized the results as the most culturally accurate mapping of the region to date’ (Herlihy 2003:326). State often asks Native communities to produce maps of their territory.

Do contact us if you need help with CMaps in your community.