The use of geographic information systems for the public good is a rapidly growing field. The technology shows great promise for discovering unequal distribution of resources and environmental racism, writes Peter Manzo.
"As Buckaroo Banzai and Buddhist sages put it, 'wherever you go, there you are.' But for too many people around the world, the inverse is true-wherever you are determines where you can go. Place matters to our quality of life far more than whether we can find good coffee or a particular kind of food or entertainment. Our prospects for enjoying clean air and water, healthy food, freedom from violence, and opportunities to learn may be tied more closely to where we live than any other characteristic. Place is where the intersection of race, class, and power is shown in starkest relief."
"...Advocates, planners and funders are increasingly using GIS mapping to analyze a host of issues. Civil rights lawyers, environmental justice activists, and community organizers are using maps to anchor dialogue with community members, adding their on-the-ground knowledge to "official" data, and also to make their case to policy makers and judges."