"Many Volunteers are trained to make community maps while in service. These maps range from the hand-drawn variety that live in tattered journals to very sophisticated maps created with digital Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Chris' own hand-drawn maps focused on pubic health by displaying the problem of minimal latrine coverage in his town but volunteers from all Peace Corps programs are using maps for many reasons. No matter the size or sophistication, if you have a map (or even a picture of you next to a map that you have created) from your service or know an RPCV that does, please contact Chris at email@example.com."
I followed up with him and learned that he's an epidemiologist who uses GIS quite a bit. "My interest really comes from 3 things: love of Peace Corps, love of maps, and love of research," wrote Chris. "I'm hoping to find as many maps as possible, build a website, and do some writing about the maps. I have a map in the collection and that's what got me thinking about finding more." You can see what he's assembled so far at Maps and Mapmakers of the Peace Corps.
A world map painting project is often one of the most satisfying projects that a volunteer undertakes. The scale or cost isn't daunting, it's creative, it can involve lots of people, both the process and end product are educational, it's tangible and -- at least for awhile -- it's permanent. Some like it so much, they bring the idea home.
Last year on the NPCA website we highlighted an initiative by The Greater Birmingham Returned Peace Corps Volunteers to partner with selected Birmingham, Alabama public schools on a world map painting project. You can read that story -- which includes information on the "invention" of the World Map Project -- by clicking here. In fact, a complete set of instructions is available on the GBRPCV website (in .pdf format).
So get painting!
[Pictured above: A map in Pommern, Tanzania initiated by Joy Campbell (Morocco 98-00)]