Making a map of Idle No More

On December 20th I created a map of the Idle No More events taking place both within canadian borders and around the world. It went viral has been covered in publications including the Huffington Post, the Media Co-op and Beacon News  .

It started with just a few hours of research and placing markers on a google map. But upon releasing it publicly I decided to employ crowd sourcing and asked people to email me if they knew of other events. Before long I was inundated with emails from all around the world telling me about idle no more events that were taking place. I soon set up an online form to allow people to contribute. I got massive amounts of positive response, and one piece of hate mail.


A part of what made the map so powerful was that I kept it basic and quickly added events as they came in. However with hindsight I now see how powerful the map could have been if I had put in the time to have structured data. It would allowed me to quickly map all the flash mob round dances, or blockades, all the events before or after a certain date, and all the events in different regions.  Icould have made a video where events are added over time based on the day they were held. 

A handful of people offered to help me with GIS, fusion tables and other mapping platforms, but in truth, just addingthe events to a basic google map was eating up an awful lot of my time. The idea of going back over the events already on the map and entering the data into a spreadsheet, would have been too time consuming. My search for volunteers to help with the map, didn’t bare a lot of fruit. 

The map would have justkept growieng, but unfortunately I ran into a back end limitation with using google maps. It turns out I could only store about 200 markers on one page. This is due the server requirement to serve up more dots on a map. If I were more experienced with other mapping platforms I could have transferrd it over, but I decided to cap the map as a list of events in 2012.

My apologies to the may people who continued to email me and fill out the form.

The map had already had a hugeimpact and I am sure other will be creating new maps this year. Some of these include: 


I have also created a new mapof my own, but it only maps the blockades that have been taking place. A much more manageable task, that may come more relevant in the near future:


I am incredibly happy with the response and impact that my first Idle No More map has had. That said I am also excited to learn more mapping skills so I can make something more powerful next time I undertake a project like this one.



2 thoughts on “Making a map of Idle No More

  1. hi tim, nice work. it does sound overwhelming. i’m using a mapping tech that is actually built for crowdsourced data – it’s called Ushahidi and it’s great. there’s a also a Crowdmap option for easy start up.

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