Starting out with Let’s Map Stroud

Let’s Map Stroud is the product of working with maps for far too long, living in Stroud and wanting to do something for Stroud using the only thing I know how to do.

The seed was planted in a lecture theatre in Sheffield some where is the halcyon days of the mid nineties.  As a geography student, not only did I  learn cool stuff about rivers and glaciers, but there was also their amorphous and troublesome human geography muck that said that we could just construct the world in maths and evidence and models – we had to think about how people constructed their own sense of individual place.  At the time I shrugged the whole thing off as psycho-babble, and cracked on with my studies of Geographical Information Systems (GIS), a new way of modelling the world using computer algorithms to crunch vast amounts of data to analyse the world as we saw it, and present the results on maps.

This GIS enabled me to get jobs.  I made maps about canals, I made road atlases, I made maps for local authorities, I supervised the making of maps by others.

Not to do GIS a disservice, because it is a fantastically useful tool, but what I didn’t see was the people who lived in the places I mapped being given a chance to add their own voice to the map.  And the seed grew into an idea, and this is that idea.