GTAMap - Collaborative Mapping of Alternatives

GTAMap - Collaborative Mapping of Alternatives


The GTAMap project seeks to create a decentralized free open source software platform for collaborative mapping and documentation of AlternativesAre activities and initiatives, concepts, worldviews, or action proposals by collectives, groups, organizations, communities, or social movements challenging and replacing the dominant system that perpetuates inequality, exploitation, and unsustainabiity. In the GTA we focus primarily on what we call "radical or transformative alternatives", which we define as initiatives that are attempting to break with the dominant system and take paths towards direct and radical forms of political and economic democracy, localised self-reliance, social justice and equity, cultural and knowledge diversity, and ecological resilience. Their locus is neither the State nor the capitalist economy. They are advancing in the process of dismantling most forms of hierarchies, assuming the principles of sufficiency, autonomy, non-violence, justice and equality, solidarity, and the caring of life and the Earth. They do this in an integral way, not limited to a single aspect of life. Although such initiatives may have some kind of link with capitalist markets and the State, they prioritize their autonomy to avoid significant dependency on them and tend to reduce, as much as possible, any relationship with them.. This includes experiences, practices, organizations and processes. Each registry would be created and enriched by GTAGlobal Tapestry of Alternatives's core team, but also collaborators, endorsers and observers of the process. In a brief way, the GTAMap project seeks to:

  1. provide a collaborative meta-mapping technology, firstly implemented in GTA communication context (to map Endorsers, Networks, Cases/Stories and other collections/datasets. This already exist as a BETA version. The implementation is called AltMap and is available in the following link:
  2. collaborate with EndorserAn organization, collective or thematic network that publicly express its supports to the GTA process. Examples: [[endorsements:index|Full list of current Endorsers]] to do adaptations for their own specific documentation and thematic maps, strenghing the relation of GTA with them in specific co-created projects.
  3. enrich and improve, in a general sense, the quality of the documented and collected knowledge about the alternatives, implementing quantitative (i.e semantic data values that allow dynamic visualizations and comparisons) and qualitative features (i.e. multimedia, audiovisual, transmedia capabilities)

Current Status

Current ongoing milestones in 2023

  • Stand-alone version for Weavers
  • Capability for adaptable and customized implementations for Endorsers and other
    • Status: A first implementation is Ecoversities Source, collaborative mapping of alternative universities
  • Creation of semantic objects and properties for case studies
    • Object completed and tested, starting the final import process of stories.

General objectives for this cycle:

  • Visual interface design improvements
  • Development of audiovisual and extra visualizations of data features
  • Second deployment integration for meta-mapping testing
  • Documentation of code and publish code repository
  • Integration/interoperability with other virtual mappings with different backends
  • Interoperation and dynamic feeds from other mapping projects
  • Intgrate support for multiple languages

In detail

Mockup main screens

The GTAMap main characteristics include:

  • developed and made available under the political, ethical and technical principles of Free Open Source Software
  • operates as a web service
  • self-installable, allowing multiple distributed implementations in low tech and custom servers
  • capabilities to interconnect the implementations and integrate a common meta-network
  • based on an asynchronous collaborative dynamic between multiple users applying a commons-based peer production model, similar to a wiki

It applies the following main general P2P open design principles1):

  • Self-: Self-organization, self-optimization, self-repair of networks and systems. Resiliency: Resilient networks & systems that do not assume an always-online global network, and can recover from network partitions and system failures.
  • Minimalism: Minimize software dependencies and hardware resources to reduce complexity and trusted computing base of systems while increasing their security, robustness, and scalability.
  • Composability: Design systems as composable and reusable components.
  • Data ownership: Users should have full access to and control over their own data and should be able confidentially share it with selected recipients.
  • Privacy: Protocols should respect user privacy and minimize the amount of information shared about users to the bare minimum that is required for them to function.
  • End-to-end security: Only the intended recipients should be able to read any piece of information stored or transmitted in the network, intermediaries may facilitate communication only by storing & forwarding encrypted data.
  • Offline first: Reading, editing, and searching previously accessed content should be possible locally, even offline.

In a more advanced stage this platform would be assume a distributed approach, allowing the creation of autonomous platforms for each network that is part of the TapestryThe weaving of networks of Alternatives. Each of the weavers/networks will have its onw version adapted to its own identity/need but will have the ability to interoperate and exchange information with the others through the GTA meta-network. This will allow:

  • that each network promotes a process to identify, map and document the alternative initiatives that comprise it
  • Implement self-training meetings to reflect on the practice itself and produce documentation and systems of territorial policies and then make them available on the platform.
  • Future planned integration with other mapping efforts, such as EJAtlas, Karten von Morgen and/or Transiscope.

At the first implementation level and user experience aspects, the main features will include:

  • Centered on the documentation in text with audiovisual elements, allowing geolocalization of a diverse datasets, mainly the so called “Alternatives”.
  • Possibility of multiple users with the ability to create and edit all contents.
  • Record changes of each content, being able to reverse changes and track changes.
  • Flexible structure of categorization and semantic data that allow queries of all types of data and represent it in multiple formats (lists, tables, timeline, diagnosis, RSS feed, among others)
  • Multiple forms of navigation according to flexible criteria and structures (hierarchical, transversal, sequential, etc.)

Tech Details

  • Based on REEVOTECH bundled with custom flavored capabilities, integrating SemanticWM, Civi and Ushahidi data model.
  • Coded in PHP, Bash and Python
  • Under GPLv3+


Part time team formed by:

  • Franco - Project coordination
  • Jaider Andrade - Main Developer
  • Neto Guimarães - UX Design
  • Nick Travor - SysAdmin

this is inspired by previous efforts such as P2P Collab