Everyone not living in a cave has heard about Occupy Wall Street and most are probably aware of Occupy Oakland. If you live in Seattle, L.A., Chicago, Denver and other big U.S. cities, you’ve probably at least heard passing mention of Occupy encampments or actions in your town. But, until now, who knew about Occupy Vacaville (California) or Occupy Bemidji (Minnesota) or the hundreds of other Occupy locations around North America and the world?
If you’re looking for the nearest Occupy center, now it’s easy to find out with this user-generated Occupy map.
“Networks,” in activist terms, used to mean newsletters, mailing lists, phone trees and word-of-mouth, all of which were very slow and limited in reach. The hyper-networked activism of the digital era means information can be immediate and global, creating a platform for new types of activism not before possible. It’s not just a matter of getting news about the same old types of social activism quicker, but about whole new forms of activism not possible before.
This immediacy meant that Occupy Wall Street, touching as it did on a near-universal raw nerve, could become a viral pandemic within weeks. Overnight it was possible for people isolated in large cities or in small towns remote from news to find people with whom they shared common cause. In a few hours, a Facebook “Occupy (my town)” page and Twitter @-account could be set up and plans could be made.
This map is a manifestation of this new form of activism, where online and offline worlds are completely integrated and mutually reinforcing. It shows the extent of the movement, even if most encampments are gone for now. By providing contact information, it allows for even more layers of networking, both online and offline.
In keeping with the open, democratic, participatory spirit of Occupy, it is built on the Open Street Map platform, a wiki-map that anyone is free to use and share under the Creative Commons Attribute-ShareAlike license.
According to the “About” page, the Occupy map is a public listing of all known Occupations sites built by and for the #Occupy movement. The directory aims to be a service layer upon which anyone can build other apps. And, all listings are now actively added and managed here by the community (you). If your Occupation is not currently listed, you can add your occupation here (you’ll need to create an account first).
Eventually, the map aims to include more data: Occupations in the context of this site are defined as geographically-based. Organizations that don’t hold physical space, like Occupy the Environment, or organizations in solidarity to the movement, like Occupy Air Force, will be considered in their own right once things have been running for a bit. We will also soon be adding listings for broader geographies, like state and country-wide “occupations.”
Further down the line, we will be incorporating groups also. That’s big. That’s awesome. BUT –– that’s the future (not the present; please don’t look to submit your group yet)!
If you like this sort of thing and want to volunteer some time to work on it, check the “Get Involved” link.
Among other tasks, they say, We are actively recruiting persons for Curator roles. If you have a love for detail and accuracy, please contact Inga@assembli.es. Include “Curator” in your subject line.
Also interesting, the map is a project of the Federated General Assembly, a trans-Occupy project that is worth investigating if you’re into geeking-out on the intersection of new social forms, technology and revolution.