Village Earth global affiliate Ger Community Mapping Center (GCMC) is an NGO based in Ulaanbataar, Mongolia that works to promote community mapping as a tool for self-empowerment within local urban communities.
The rapidly expanding city of Ulaanbaatar is considered the Ger area, where more than 60% of the cities population lives. It is an important city for decision making processes, both in economic activities, land capital, and voting power. The Ger area currently faces many social and environmental challenges within its rapid development. The GCMC is dedicated to empowering participatory decision making for sustainable urban development in these areas, using Global Information Systems (GIS). They use GIS to create community mapping, engagement, and analysis and research.
Their goal in community mapping is to provide maps that:
- are accurate, strong visual tools
- are user-friendly and easy to understand
- provide insight into local communities from their perspective
- allow communities to see issues they face in a larger context
- enable systematic understanding of a problem in spatial and temporal dimensions
- can be used as an advocacy tool by local communities
Through community engagement, they are an active organization in creating discussion around issues in the Ger area. They work closely with community members through workshops and gatherings. These workshops foster local initiatives and create as safe space for community members.
For their analysis and research, the Ger Community Mapping Center uses statistics to analyze behavior and issues within urban communities. Analysis of variations of data depict gaps within the community as well as correlation with specific problems.Some of their other projects include mapping on traffic accidents in the city, solid waste management, urban service accessibility, vulnerable communities, and local development.
The GCMC also gives tours of the Ger area, to further demonstrate issues within the community. They have created a program called “Giving Back to Our Community” which connects participates on the Ger tour with selected members of the community to encourage sustainable development and local initiative discussion.
The Ger Mapping Center is composed of passionate volunteers in creating equal access opportunities for local urban communities. Their staff of volunteers includes highly qualified researchers, community analyst, transport mappers, research scientists, journalists, geographers, and more.