Every traveller knows the value of a good map. But these days, it’s not just about finding that famous landmark; thanks to the power of the internet, and the power of crowds, they can show much, much more. Online open-source maps – created with contributions from people all over the world – mean there are now maps devoted to more niche concerns.
They’re worth knowing about because, done well, they bring together insider knowledge and tips to create a detailed picture of what a place has to offer. And I think they could be handy tool for the ethically-minded traveller – why not use them to find the type of attractions or organisations you want to support?
Here’s some I’ve come across recently:
- The Green Maps website promotes green living, nature and culture, so can be useful if you’re looking for something like a local market or an ethical business. The quality of the maps vary, but some are really quite comprehensive. This one, for Mombasa in Kenya, is one of the good ones.
- Open Cycle Map helps you find national, regional and local cycle routes around the world. Click on the key in the bottom right-hand corner of the page to make sense of it all. There’s also a great Bike Share Map, which highlights the locations of the docking stations in bike-sharing schemes. London, Bordeaux, Mexico City, New York and Barcelona are just some of the cities covered.
- If you’re looking for a particular cafe, shop or restaurant, or want a detailed look at what a city has to offer at street level, check out Open Street Map. Search for the name of a place or something in particular (eg ‘markets in Madrid’). Again, the level of detail varies from place to place, depending on what people have contributed to the map – meaning somewhere like Melbourne, Australia is set out in much more detail than Cadiz in Spain.
If you know of any more, let me know!
First published at www.goethicaltravel.com
Picture credit: Angr