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Frequently asked questions about Mapeo.
Mapeo was built by Digital Democracy in close collaboration with Indigenous partners in the Amazon who are on the front lines of defending their rights and territories. Digital Democracy is a non-profit organization that works in solidarity with marginalized communities to use technology to defend their rights. For more information on Digital Democracy and our partners, visit our website.
Yes, all Mapeo tools and features are free to install and use.
Mapeo Mobile, you can collect geographic points to mark your current location, and add associated photos, description, and details. Users assign each point collected to a category. Check out the Mapeo Mobile Quick Start Guide to see an overview of mobile data collection.
Mapeo Desktop Territory mode, you can create points, lines and areas (polygons) on a map and add an associated category, description, and details.
Mapeo is currently available in over 8 languages, including:
Mapeo Mobile is currently available for Android only. It is on our roadmap to release a version for iOS in the future.
When you install Mapeo, it comes with default options that can be used right away, without any customization. To learn more about whether these options will work for you, see Will Mapeo work out-of-the-box for me?
Some projects may require customization of data fields or background maps in order to best meet the needs of the project or context. Customization currently requires some technical skills. For more on customization options and technical requirements, see Customization options.
Mapeo is built on an embedded peer-to-peer database, so all data collected with Mapeo is stored directly on your device, with no need for an internet connection or centralized server. Users of Mapeo Mobile and Mapeo Desktop can synchronize or exchange data over a local Wi-Fi network. The data never leaves your local Wi-Fi network and does not require an internet connection. Mapeo Desktop can also exchange information via a synchronization file using a USB drive.
Mapeo uses secure peer-to-peer technology with a distributed ledger, which does not include a public blockchain or consensus.
Public blockchains are designed for a scenario where public transactions must be mediated between participants which are all potentially malicious. These “trustless” transactions are the key assumption of a blockchain that distinguishes it from peer-to-peer technology.
Applications like Mapeo assume that data is managed by the community generating it - and some of that data may never be publicly accessible. Mapeo's approach, in contrast, creates a closed group, where data creators are also data stewards, managing their own data and controlling who has access. We take security seriously and maintain protections from third-party attacks such as targeted hacks and surveillance by third-parties. For users of Mapeo, privacy is critical for protecting their ancestral knowledge and environmental monitoring information until it’s ready to be shared with trusted partners.
Mapeo was designed to be an offline-first set of tools that centers data sovereignty for its users. That means that the data you collect with Mapeo will only exist on the device it is collected or created with until you choose to share it with other Mapeo project participants or external actors. The data you create will never be stored on external servers or shared with app maintainers or other actors, unless you choose to send it or enable and use Web sync options through Mapeo.
Mapeo collects only basic, anonymized statistics for debugging, designing and understanding to what extent the applications are being used.
Mapeo is built with long-term sustainability as a focus. This goes beyond financial sustainability - we ensure that no single entity or technology is responsible for data storage or access.
Mapeo does not lock your data into a particular data format. You can easily move your data around, and it is kept in its original form. Mapeo Desktop can export data to SMART, Shapefile, CSV, and GeoJSON. You'll never be locked into using Mapeo software. For more on export options, see Exporting data & sharing externally.
Digital Democracy's core team is very small and we have limited capacity to provide direct accompaniment for implementing Mapeo outside of our existing partnerships. In some cases we are able to offer support. To read more about the way we work with partners and different levels of support, see here.
There is community of active users and maintainers of Mapeo that participate in our public chat channel on Discord. To join the conversation or seek help on technical issues, you can access the channel here.