Free Maps, Apps, and Drones for Good Partnerships with Citizen Science GIS at University of Central Florida

October 11, 2017 — Orlando, Florida

We are pleased to announce Central Florida’s Next Big Mapping Idea Competition. The competition is open to all community and neighborhood organizations, non-profits, and K-12 schools interested in implementing a community mapping project (with maps, apps, and drones) to support the betterment of society in consultation with faculty, students, and volunteers through Citizen Science GIS at University of Central Florida. Share on social media with #citizensciencegis and #mapbig.

Priority Deadline is October 31, 2017 at 5 pm EST. Applications will still be considered after this date.

What Are We Doing? Our goal is to provide free mapping services to community members, partners, and organizations around the Central Florida region to examine social and environmental issues, challenges, and opportunities of interest to society. Projects can be of any topic benefitting society that brings people together to understand a geographic issue. A few mapping examples just to get your thinking going…mapping healthy food access, mapping sidewalk quality, mapping safe bicycle lanes, mapping public beach access, mapping safe routes to school, mapping recreational options, and the list goes on.

How Do We Apply? Submit a statement of interest (no more than 500 words) to by October 31, 2017 at 5 pm EST explaining what you would like to do with the community mapping project if you win. The statement should:

  • Include a creative project title
  • State one key question (the big idea) you wish to address in the project
  • Explain how the project benefits society and brings people together
  • Explain the total number of people you plan to involve in the work, both directly and indirectly
  • Explain your timeline for implementation of the project. Note that Citizen Science GIS will begin working with winners of these projects on December 1, 2017.

Why Are We Doing This? Maps are cool, maps are visual, maps tell the important stories of communities. We aim to make science more accessible and understandable, to ensure that society can inform science, and to ensure society benefits from scientific discoveries. Citizen Science GIS is an international award winning research and education initiative at the University of Central Florida focused on maps, apps, and drones for good. UCF is America’s Partnership University and this project is about creating and sustaining mapping partnerships.

“As part of America’s Partnership University, we at Citizen Science GIS think connecting science and society is the most important thing we can do as activist scholars. Maps are highly visual and very powerful. They tell the stories of communities, and they should be accessible to everyone through open, online mapping platforms. We’re mapping big ideas that impact society by providing free mapping services to interested community partners. Let’s use maps, apps, and drones for good to share our collective stories of social and environmental issues in the Central Florida region,” said Timothy Hawthorne, UCF assistant professor of GIS and founding director of Citizen Science GIS.

What if We Win the Competition? Get creative, dream big, and think about how maps can better society! We will select up to three big mapping ideas from community applicants. We will contact the winners to develop mapping partnerships and to provide free mapping services to winning community groups. The best chances of success in this competition involve creative answers to these four simple questions:

  • Why does your big mapping idea benefit society?
  • How does your big mapping idea bring people together?
  • What change in society will result from your big mapping idea?
  • Who are the key partners in your big mapping idea that will make it successful?

Questions: Please let Dr. Timothy Hawthorne, founding director of Citizen Science GIS at University of Central Florida, know if you have specific questions about the competition. You can email Dr. Hawthorne at for more information or call him at 407.823.1030.

With best wishes for mapping big ideas! –Your Citizen Science GIS @UCF pals

About Citizen Science GIS: Citizen Science GIS is an international award winning organization housed at University of Central Florida. The organization’s mission is to change the way communities and scientists work together across the globe to visualize local knowledge through geographic information systems, maps, apps, and drones.

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