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Open Mapping towards Sustainable Development Goals

Voices of YouthMappers on Community Engaged Scholarship

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  • © 2023

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  • Offers the voices of students or recent graduates in countries where YouthMappers is active
  • Covers topics ranging from water, agriculture, food, to waste, education, gender, and disasters
  • Addresses topics at various scales of perspective, from individual/local city level to national and global scopes
  • This book is open access, which means that you have free and unlimited access

Part of the book series: Sustainable Development Goals Series (SDGS)

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About this book

This collection amplifies the experiences of some of the world’s young people who are working to address SDGs using geospatial technologies and multi-national collaboration. Authors from every region of the world who have emerged as leaders in the YouthMappers movement share their perspectives and knowledge in an accessible and peer-friendly format. YouthMappers are university students who create and use open mapping for development and humanitarian purposes. Their work leverages digital innovations - both geospatial platforms and communications technologies - to answer the call for leadership to address sustainability challenges. 

The book conveys a sense of robust knowledge emerging from formal studies or informal academic experiences - in the first-person voices of students and recent graduates who are at the forefront of creating a new map of the world. YouthMappers use OpenStreetMap as the foundational sharing mechanism for creating data together. Authorsimpart the way they are learning about themselves, about each other, about the world. They are developing technology skills, and simultaneously teaching the rest of the world about the potential contributions of a highly connected generation of emerging world leaders for the SDGs. The book is timely, in that it captures a pivotal moment in the trajectory of the YouthMappers movement’s ability to share emerging expertise, and one that coincides with a pivotal moment in the geopolitical history of planet earth whose inhabitants need to hear from them. 

Most volumes that cover the topic of sustainability in terms of youth development are written by non-youth authors. Moreover, most are written by non-majoritarian, entrenched academic scholars. This book instead puts forward the diverse voices of students and recent graduates in countries where YouthMappers works, all over the world. Authors cover topics that range from water, agriculture, food, to waste, education, gender, climate action and disasters from their own eyes in working with data, mapping, and humanitarian action, often working across national boundaries and across continents. To inspire readers with their insights, the chapters are mapped to the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in ways that connect a youth agenda to a global agenda. 

With a preface written by Carrie Stokes, Chief Geographer and GeoCenter Director, United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

This is an open access book. 

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Table of contents (33 chapters)

  1. Mapping for the Goals on Poverty, Hunger, Health, Education, Gender, Water, and Energy

  2. Youth Action on Work, Leadership, Innovation, Inequality, Cities, Production and Land

Editors and Affiliations

  • School of Geographical Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, USA

    Patricia Solís

  • Center for Geospatial Technology College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, USA

    Marcela Zeballos

About the editors

Patricia Solís, PhD, is Executive Director of the Knowledge Exchange for Resilience at Arizona State University, a campus-wide effort to link multi-sector community needs with research innovations in building community resilience. She is Associate Research Professor of Geography in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning. As designer, Co-Founder and Director of YouthMappers, she helped spark a rapidly-growing consortium of student-led chapters on more than 300 university campuses in 65+ countries who create and use open spatial data for humanitarian and development needs. Previously, she was Co-Director of the Center for Geospatial Technology at Texas Tech University and Research Associate Professor of Geography in the Department of Geosciences and affiliated with the TTU Climate Science Center. She served as Deputy Director and Director of Research at the American Association of Geographers and is a current National Councillor. Dr. Solís focuses her research on applications of open geospatial technologies to address socially relevant challenges, from water resource conflict to climate change induced hazards to broadening participation in higher education. Her creative leadership has resulted in the development of collaborative and participatory methodologies, youth-engaged peer exchanges, and institutionalization of multi-sector partnerships centered on using digital geographic technologies for public value. Her efforts have been recognized by the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development and with honors from geographic disciplinary societies.  She currently serves as the President of the PanAmerican Institute for Geography and History of the Organization of American States, the first woman elected to this scientific diplomacy position. Dr. Solís received a BS in Physics, BA in German, and MA in Geography from Kansas State University and earned her Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Iowa where she was a Presidential Fellow.

Marcela Zeballos is Research Associate in the Center for Geospatial Technology at Texas Tech University, and is the Managing Director of YouthMappers, a global community of university students and faculty who are filling crucial geospatial data gaps in collaboration with local organizations and agencies to increase visibility of their needs and resources. Her work centers on creating inclusive spaces for student participation and executing intentional programming aimed at balancing privilege dynamics to expand youth contributions. She values connecting with people and building community. Since 2012 she has worked on U.S. federally-funded initiatives in support of sustainability, education, and youth leadership impacting beneficiaries worldwide. In 2019, she became a voting member of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT). Ms. Zeballos received a BA in Geography and a BA in International Affairs from The George Washington University.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Open Mapping towards Sustainable Development Goals

  • Book Subtitle: Voices of YouthMappers on Community Engaged Scholarship

  • Editors: Patricia Solís, Marcela Zeballos

  • Series Title: Sustainable Development Goals Series

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Earth and Environmental Science, Earth and Environmental Science (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2023

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-031-05181-4Published: 29 November 2022

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-031-05184-5Published: 29 November 2022

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-031-05182-1Published: 28 November 2022

  • Series ISSN: 2523-3084

  • Series E-ISSN: 2523-3092

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XXIII, 382

  • Number of Illustrations: 7 b/w illustrations, 251 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Geography, general, Digital Humanities, Open Source, Sustainable Development

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