through human-centered, trauma-informed support
make more effective maps
Hi, I'm Amber J. Bosse, PhD
With 10+ years of experience in collaborative cartography and participatory geographic information systems (GIS), I've seen firsthand the impact maps can make in the fight for community liberation. But I've also been in classrooms, conferences spaces, workshops, and even Twitter threads that send a clear message: much of our training around mapping values end products and superficial metrics of beauty over the lived experience of people that our maps are made by and for.
We shouldn't have to choose.
I believe our data collection and visualization practices should be
life-affirming, empowering, and provide opportunities for transformation at every step of the way. In doing so, we create pathways to elevate the impact of our maps. By bringing a human-centered, trauma-informed perspective to the space...
I'm changing the world by
changing the way we map
Elevate the effectiveness of your maps by co-creating achievable revision plans that are mindful of your unique skillsets, preferred tools, and intended audience.
Receive education and training on leveraging a trauma-informed lens to ensure community data collection and visualization methods work to reduce, resist, and even repair harm.
Supporting those who have been historically excluded from mapping professions so they can feel confident for their upcoming conference presentation, job interview, or course instruction.
those who are self-taught map makers who hesitate to identify as a "professional" cartographer despite making maps as a part of their job, projects, or activist work.
folks who fall outside the identity categories that have been historically privileged in mapping disciplines (and the world).
(to be more blunt: anyone who's not a straight, cis, neurotypical, able-bodied white dude whose parents paid for college and are tired of trying to fit in with those who are.)
community-engaged activists and researchers
those using maps to support communities that
have contemporary or historical experiences of oppression,
marginalization, abuse, silencing, and erasure.
It's time to recognize the power of all mapmakers
Evolving our processes provides pathways
for our maps (and mapping profession)
to be more...
Much of the urgent mapping efforts being carried out today involve the participation of communities that have both historical and contemporary experiences of trauma. Committing to reducing, resisting, and repairing harm provides meaningful pathways (rather than performative gestures) for taking care of our communities and pursuing vibrant, world-building futures for us all.
It's no secret that histories in which many of the theories and applications of mapmaking (including cartography, GIScience, and geography) emerged are dominated by patriarchal, white-supremacist systems. The radical ruptures formed by privileging people and lived experience in our mapping over final products and beauty standards can create spaces that are supportive to folks of diverse backgrounds and identities.
As my research reveals, our current conceptualizations of cartographic efficacy (what makes a "good" map) are both narrow and exclusionary. I believe that efficacy is nuanced and must make room for a complex set of social factors, including power and oppression. By stepping into integrity when naming the WHO and WHY of our maps and leveraging ALL of the tools at our disposal, we can better position ourselves to achieve the map's unique goals.