Positive Cartography

How to shape your futures with your own voice

How will your world look in 2025? In 2030? How would you shape it?

Positive Cartography is about people envisioning desired futures, and creating stories & maps that describe them.

Groups from all over the world are thinking about the futures they really want.

Then drawing maps that help show how to get there

And deciding on the steps they can take to achieve the futures they want!

Practice Positive Cartography with us.

Inspire us with your stories!

What if we could map desired futures together?

People are often disheartened by the negative prognosis of many recent attempts to anticipate the future. Dark and frightening predictions are a wake-up call, but they can also scare people into apathy.

Positive Cartography invites you to think in a positive way about the world you would like to live in – your preferred future – and about the steps needed to get there.

Positive images build inner strength, focus the imagination, and can move us to action. Positive maps help us navigate the future.

Mapathon 21 took place from September 23rd  to September in 2021. See the Mapathon 21 page for more details.

Mapathon 22 is being prepared for Spring 2022.

23-25 September

Mapathon 21

This September many groups around the world will think about their desired futures & make maps showing how to get there

First Prototypes

The stories and maps created since Autumn 2020 are the first prototypes of what Positive Cartography can do.
A number of examples are described below.

Co-creating a map of desired future. Illustration: Arye Dvir

Mapathon 21 begins on Thursday September 23rd at the Autumn Equinox, when day and night are equally long, and continues until Saturday 25th September: World Dream Day.

Results will be woven together, and exhibited online September 29th, which is World Heart Day.

Spring 2022

Mapathon 22

Next Spring many groups around the world will think about their desired futures & make maps showing how to get there

Interactive Atlas of Positive Cartography

We intend to weave a tapestry of ideas about the different futures people want.

You can add to the Atlas, and change the maps, as your ideas change.

Next June decisions will be made about what to do. What to do about Climate, about Corona, about our Cities, about the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Your stories and maps should to be on the agenda  too.

Global Conversation for Sharing the Results Online

Let's make our voices heard

These are some of the places where your ideas can be heard.

FAQ | What to expect?

A Hackathon brings people together and asks them to help solve somebody else’s problem.

This Mapathon asks people to define their own preferred futures, and think about how to get there.

Mapathon 21 asks you to think about big questions about possible futures. It lasts 3 days, in order to give you enough time to really think about what you want from the future, and what you are willing to give.

You can work on this for part of the three days, or all three days, or longer. It depends on how important the questions are to you.

Small groups work together, use pictures  to show what their desired futures look like. Together the group discovers what is common to everyone’s story. 

The story may be about the health of society, of your city, your country. It may reference the way we practice our profession, or learn things at school, or do things online. It may be about climate, or energy, or how people relate to each other, or how government relates to people.

Then they think about how to get there. They check their thinking with what science has to say, and get advice from experts online.

The groups draws a map to visualize the story, and uploads it here.

We will weave your maps of the world together, with the other groups in Mapathon 21.

Participation can take many forms.

People can work face-to-face or online.

Groups can decide to work for several hours on one of the days.

Or work for two or more hours on two days, or even on all three days.

In practice, 3-4 hours is probably the minimum investment. 

Groups can choose the form that works best for them.

If the question is important to them, they can continue to work together after the Mapathon, and upload new stories and ideas.

A map can take many forms: 

  • a drawing-board (with pictures and words) on an online application (e.g. MIRO), or made with an online mapping-program. 
  • a set of handmade drawings, or a landscape drawn together on a large sheet of paper. 
  • a 6-slide presentation, with voiceover.
  • a 2-minute video.

There are many ways to tell a story about your preferred future, and how you think we can get there. 

Positive Cartography is about visual thinking, storytelling, consulting science, and making maps

It is a way to help communities envision desired futures, and create stories and maps that describe them.

Then consult with science, to keep the stories possible.

Plus one additional ingredient – the commitment mapmakers make to think about actions they can take to make their futures happen.

In this way, we take hopeful steps towards the futures we want for society.

International groups are encouraged to work in English.

Groups in one country can work in their own language.

And send us a summary of their story in English.


A history of the future

A gallery of interesting Positive Maps

Since the beginning of history, people have felt the need to make positive maps of their world. Some of these have had profound impact – they have changed the world. Many can inspire us still.

Positive Cartography is much needed in the third decade of the 21st century. There are many landscapes of gloom and frightening future-scapes circulating through the media. Where are the ones that inspire?

Have you seen a Positive Map that inspired you? Please send us a link (to a webpage, Facebook page, image or video clip) and contribute to this growing gallery.

Who are the people behind the Mapathon

Mapathon 21 is an initiative of the Global Lab for Societal Innovation.

In the Mapathon Core-team are:

Leif Edvinsson (Sweden), Ron Dvir (Israel), Frits Bussemaker (The Netherlands), Chabela Maturana Parraguez (The Nethelands), Arnold Koning (The Netherlands), Hank Kune (The Netherlands)

Other people are welcome to join the team!

Contact us

eMail: positivecartography@gmail.com

Mapathon 2021 team

Hank Kune | ⁦+31 6 50691371⁩ | www.educore.nl

Arnold Koning | linkedin.com/in/arnoldkoning/

Chabela Maturana |  www.espacio.nl

Ron Dvir | www.linkedin.com/in/rondvir/