Journalists worldwide interested in learning tools for mapping data can participate in a free webinar.

ICFJ Anywhere is offering the second in a series of webinars, supported by Dow Jones Foundation. This webinar will cover how to use geographical data to create applications with digital maps and will showcase tools that enable journalists to create their own projects. Geodata is a vast source of information for journalists working with environmental, economic and social issues.

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In late January, the Lab gave a maps workshop at HackDF, a hackathon promoted by the government of Mexico City. The purpose of the workshop was to show to an audience of journalists, economists, developers and stakeholders how to prepare, build and publish a map on the web, using tools such as QGIS, Mapbox, CartoDB and JEO, a WordPress map publishing platform developed by our Lab.

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Journalists worldwide who want to improve their data-wrangling skills to better cover the environment have a new resource. The Geojournalism Handbook is a free, online guide to mapping and visualization technologies. It explains environmental data such as satellite imagery and even shows you how to build your own balloon to take aerial pictures.

The Lekki Conservation Centre in Lagos, Nigeria, holds the last patch of the city’s original flooded forest. The reserve, which represents the unique habitat between the lagoon and the sea, is squeezed in amid reclaimed land and urban settlements. If you look at a satellite image of the area, you see that most of the green space has given way to the grey of buildings and asphalt.

Tutorials on how to create multimedia narratives

This handbook is based on an experience of many professionals on building their platforms of information both on prestigious media outlets and as independent knowledge brokers. The project is above all and attempt to increase the number of professionals in journalism familiarized with the geodata and capable of coordinate initiatives of interactive visualizations .

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The “Flag it!” project aims to train young media makers from all over the world on how to report on environmental issues at local level with a global impact by using digital visualization tools in open source.

To this aim 48 young journalists from Africa, Asia, Europe and South America will be involved, 12 at a time, in a training course that will take place across the world as follows: in São Paulo (Brazil, 20-26 May 2013), Lagos (Nigeria, 1-7 July 2013), Manila (Philippines, 9-15 September 2013) and Bucharest (Romania, 7-13 October 2013).

The “Flag it!” training course will be based on the best practice provided by the Brazilian association “O Eco” in mapping deforestation in the Amazon basin through the use of tools such as: Google Maps, Google Earth, Google Fusion Tables, Crowdmap, Ushahidi and Geocommons, among others. The course will have integrated field trips for the participants to apply the tools in reporting on specific on-the-ground environmental issues.

Results and impact

At the end of “Flag it!”, in November 2013, 48 young journalists from four continents will be able to use free digital mapping tools to cover environmental issues in their regions. Each of them will produce a report using the tools learnt during the course.

“Flag it!” aims to continue its mission through its own follow-up events and development of working groups, in order to help foster a new global trend in environmental reporting. For this reason, the project will also result in an online handbook through which anyone can learn to use these tools. The handbook will be published on this website, and will be further spread by the EYP and the partner organisations.