GTAMap - Collaborative Documentation & Mapping of Alternatives

GTAMap - Collaborative Documentation & Mapping of Alternatives


The GTAMap project seeks to create a decentralized free open source software digital tool used for collaborative documentation and mapping and 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. There are different objectives and outcomes of this initiative:

  1. Provide a collaborative documentation mapping open source software tool, firstly implemented in GTAGlobal Tapestry of Alternatives communication context (to document Endorsers, Cases/Stories and other collections/datasets within GTA). This already exist as a BETA version. The implementation is called AltMap and is available in the this link;
  2. in an advanced stage, the “tapestry” will be visible in a common space formed by the different Weaver's maps, enabling to navigate and share across all of them, but maintaining the proposed decentralized topology;
  3. collaborate with Endorsers to create adapted versions of GTAMap, allowing specific uses and thematic documentation/maps, strengthening the relation of GTA with them in specific co-created projects (i.e. dictionary project);
  4. be able to exchange specific open data and information with other alternative mapping efforts beyond GTA ecosystem, participating in the ongoing interoperability efforts taking place in the open mapping virtual communities;
  5. in a general sense, the main objective is to enrich and improve 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) using a commons-based peer production of knowledge model.

Descentralization and sync concept of multiple plataforms

Current Status and upcoming plans

2024's milestones

  • In AltMap:
    • Webinars organized by GTA
    • Map the participants of the Radical Democracy and Autonomy gathering
  • Implementation of Weavers platform (CMMCrianza Mutua Mexico & CMCCrianza Mutua Colombia) at infrastructure and logical level
  • Development of an interoperability interface that connects different implementations
  • Developing a tool for automatically importing stories and cases in PDF
  • Audiovisual and non-textual content capabilities
  • Test code for dynamic import and export of data using standard protocols (GeoJSON)

2025's milestones

  • In AltMap:
    • Feeds from Endorsers's own mappings
  • Implementation of Weavers platform (MASSAMovement for Alternatives and Solidarity in Southeast Asia (South East Asia) and others) at infrastructure and logical level
  • Integration with other mapping platforms outside the GTA ecosystem
  • Harvesting platform to visualize the convergence of descentralizaed implementations, making possible the to visualize and navigate the tapestry of alternatives.
  • Tech documentation clean up and publication of code
  • Support for interoperability new protocols (i.e. Murmurations)

Development roadmap

Concept and design

The GTAMap main characteristics include:

Mockup main interface screens

  • 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 REEVOTechWiki 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 - Team coordination
  • Jaider Andrade - Main Developer and Programmer; Architecture design
  • Neto Guimarães - UX Design, Visuals, Optimization
  • Nick Travor - System Administrator, Packager, Linux base system maintenance

this is inspired by previous efforts such as P2P Collab