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Youth FAQ

Are you considering starting or joining a Green Map project in your area? This FAQ section is intended to help you get started with the Green Mapmaking process.

Refer to our Website FAQ to learn more about the function of our website, GreenMap.org.

The organization, Green Map System, is referred to as ‘GMS’ below.
Officially registered Green Map projects are referred to as ‘Mapmakers’ below.

Youth FAQ: For Teachers, Youth Group Leaders & Environmental Educators


Choosing the Correct Organizational Type

Online, in the Green Map Service Support Fee Calculator, you will select the category that most closely describes your Mapmaking organization and specific Green Map project approach. Then, select your country (high income fee = 100%, middle income fee = 66%, low income fee = 33%). Then chose your project term, with discounts for longer terms. More details are in the online Fee Calculator, which you can test using the button below. Contact us with any questions after reading the guidance below.

School: Public or private, kindergarten through high school (includes home-schooled children). If you are a nonprofit organization working with several schools, please register as a nonprofit. Options: 1 class, 1 school, up to 4 schools, school district.

University/college: Includes 2 year, 4 year, graduate and doctoral programs. Includes continuing (adult) education programs, if based at a university or college. An Eco-Club should register as a department. If multiple departments are involved, register as a University/college. Options: student project, class project, department, school.

Youth Group: An out of school group that is not formally organized as a non-profit organization. Options: volunteer run or paid staff.

Youth Camp: Seasonal, formally organized program that serves a specific group of children. Options: volunteer run or paid staff.

Individual(s): One to three person team. (Interns or volunteers for a non-profit, school, business, or other agency should register in that category.) Options: volunteer run or paid staff.

Community/grassroots group: Informally organized group not registered/no official status with a governmental agency. Options: volunteer run or paid staff.

Nonprofit organization: formally organized group with registered charity/nonprofit status (or in the process of becoming an official nonprofit). If your group is being ‘fiscal sponsored’ by a local non-profit organization for fundraising purposes, choose the category of Nonprofit that matches your Green Mapmaking team. Options: volunteer run, up to 5 paid staff, more than 5 paid staff.

Nonprofit organization – Umbrella project: A nonprofit organization which serves as the central office for related Green Map projects (1) meant for an event or purpose or (2) where Mapmakers lack the technical or linguistic ability to register individually. In special cases, these may be registered under the ‘umbrella’ of a larger non-profit organization, which is required to keep a Map Profile current for each of them. See special limitations in the Mapmakers Agreement. Options: mapping 1-5 locales, 6-15 locales. 16-30 locales, 31-50 locales.

Governmental agency: Any level of governmental agency is included. Options: under 10 staff, 10-100 staff, 100 or more staff.

Tourism Agency: A tourism-based entity. Options: public or private.

Small Business: Less than 10 on staff (see below)
Medium-size Business: 10-100 on staff (see below)
Large Business: 100+ on staff (see below)
Options: mapping 1 locale, 2-5 locales, 6-15 locales.

Any company, including GIS and consultant firms, should register in this category.
Corporate campus, factory, store or indoor/outdoor Green Maps may be made by companies of their own facilities as part of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and/or sustainability programs, with the advice of a nonprofit organization (preferably with Green Mapmaking experience). May be created for specific small audiences. Business Green Map Projects are required to keep a Map Profile current for each of their projects. See special limitations in the Mapmakers Agreement. More on CSRs is in our Glossary.

Comments welcome. Green Map System may update this guidance from time to time.

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How can I get a Green Map?

GMS has an online Store where you can order Green Maps, books, posters, and media resources created around the world. Alternatively, you can contact the local Mapmakers directly from their Profile or by contacting GMS with your request. We appreciate your interest and your patience, as our stock of available maps varies. Special thanks to all Mapmakers who provide our Store with great products!

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How can I help support Green Map System?

Other than leading a Green Mapmaking effort in your hometown, you can help us develop new resources and improve our global network and by sharing your skills and social/environmental knowledge. You can collaborate with us virtually from any corner of the world, as described on our Internships & Volunteer page. Or, add our banner to your website and help promote our work!

Donations are always welcome! You can send us money from anywhere in the world (and it’s tax-deductible in the US). You can also Introduce us to a foundation or corporate sponsor who might help us. Find out more about supporting the local-global Green Map System by checking our wishlist and sponsorship opportunities pages, or simply contact us with your supportive thoughts and ideas. Thank you for joining our list of generous supporters!

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How long does it take to make a Green Map?

The amount of time varies greatly from project to project. It depends on the time, skills, and other resources available to your Mapmaking team as well as the scale of your project. In the past, sketch Green Maps have been created as a result of a one-day workshop. At the same time, some large-scale citywide projects have taken years (many find that the process of involving their community in workshops, focus groups, etc. is as valuable at the final product!). Generally, we suggest 10 to 12 months as a good target for a comprehensive and printed citywide project; less time is needed for digital Green Maps. You can read more about timing in the Mapmakers Guide (available to all registered projects in the tool center of the Resources section.

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How many Icons are used on a Green Map?

It varies widely, from just a handful on a youth neighborhood Green Map, to upwards of fifty or sixty different symbols on a larger scale citywide map. Some Green Maps use more than one Icon to define a single site. And yes, you may use other symbols, but at least 50% of the icons must be Green Map Icons for it to be a real Green Map®! Get more information on the copyrighted Green Map® Icons in the About section.

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Service Support Fees

All Green Map projects help support the continual development of this movement by contributing a fee or a service each year. The fee is based on the type of organization, your country's average income and number of years you are paying for. There is a handy calculator for this in the online Registration form - you can test the calculator here.

Since some Mapmakers cannot pay, we accept services, such as translation, outreach or support to other Mapmakers, technical help, etc. You can indicate the service you will provide in the Registration form.

The service support fees can be downloaded in this file: Service_Support_Fee_Chart_EN.pdf

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Trademark Usage Guidelines

These guidelines have been prepared to inform you of the proper use of the trademarks and service marks of Green Map® System, Inc. (“GMS”). These are the property of GMS and should be used only in connection with locally created Green Maps and Supporting Materials (see Glossary for definitions and Mapmaker Agreement for Terms of Use) and by GMS.

A trademark is both a symbol of the trademark owner’s high standards and an assurance of the consistent quality of the product or service being offered under the mark. You have been entrusted with the right to use GMS’s trademarks on the express understanding that you will maintain this consistent quality.

GMS’s trademark/service marks designate our specific, protected Mapmaking System and use of our copyrighted materials. Trademarks are valuable “intellectual property”, and protecting GMS’s trademark will be beneficial to you because:
• it is assurance that all Green Maps are properly registered and licensed.
• the strength of our trademarks grows with use.
• it helps protect Green Maps’ distinctiveness.
A trademark which has lost its distinctiveness can become generic, i.e., come to mean the product itself (for example “aspirin” and “escalator” are former trademarks).

The following rules must therefore be followed when referring to the GMS trademarks in news articles, photo captions, advertising, literature, and correspondence.

a) You must use the symbol ® the first time the phrase Green Map is used: Green Map®. (™ appears on the new logo because it has not yet been granted registration).
- Keyboard strokes for Mac: (option R = ®)(option 2 = ™)(option G = ©)
- Keyboard strokes for PC: (control alt R = ®)(control alt T = ™)(control alt C = ©)
b) GMS’s Copyright & Trademark Notice must be prominently displayed on each Green Map and all Supporting Materials as follows: “Icons © Green Map System, Inc. 2003. All rights reserved. Green Map® is a registered trademark and used with permission”.
c) GMS must be the registrar, at Licensee’s cost, of any Green Map logo being trademarked in other languages or non-US countries.
d) The Green Map phrase appearing in the trademark and logo may be translated into your language. A high-resolution digital image must be forwarded to GMS for approval before you utilize it.
e) GMS trademarks should be used only when referring to your Green Maps and Supporting Materials. If you wish to create products or other uses, contact GMS first.
f) Please provide copies to the GMS Archives of all Green Maps and Supporting Materials.
g) If you see what you consider might be unauthorized use of our trademarks, or elements thereof, please alert GMS! Reach us at info@greenmap.org , tel +1 212 674 1631, or mail at PO Box 249, New York, NY 10002-0249

Good habits of trademark usage are a “must”. We must all be concerned about the maintenance of our trademarks as the high quality of our products, services, and the name of Green Map System, Inc. are reflected in each of these trademarks. Thank you very much!

Download the Trademark Usage Guidelines

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What are Green Map Icons and how are they created?

Green Map Icons are used on all Green Maps. Our globally designed Icons identify, promote, and link a full range of sustainability, natural, social, and cultural sites, as further described here.

Starting in 1995, a geographically, culturally, and professionally diverse group of individuals collaborated on Green Map System’s award-winning iconography. They created the original list of symbols then refined their design and perfected the universal set of Icons that allow for the easy interpretation of any Green Map. This set is said to be the only universal symbol system for maps in the world! Over the years, many Mapmakers developed their own local icons that better identify sites specific to their geographic location as seen in Icon Credits. Several were adopted into the global set in Version 2 in 1999. Another update is expected in 2008.

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What belongs on a Green Map?

This is a central question to the creation of any Green Map and it can only be answered by people local to the place where it is charted. Each Mapmaking team must research its environment thoroughly, finding sites where people can:

  • Feel a strong connection to the natural environment.
  • Find a way to make sustainable choices.
  • Learn something about ecological systems.
  • Support organizations, agencies, and companies working towards a sustainable future.
  • Connect with local culture and feel a sense of community.
  • Understand what sustainability means in the local context.

Ideally, each Green Map project sets criteria for site selection (of area to be mapped) that is available and easily understood by the public. Site selection should be narrow enough to be manageable (consider your budget and time limitations) but wide enough not to be limiting. Many first-time Mapmakers start with a smaller area or a themed Green Map. All Mapmakers consider the needs of their map’s users and plan carefully to optimize the map’s impacts on the individual user and the community as a whole. Check out this page for more mapmaking tips and the profiles in the Maps section. There are several resources available to Mapmaker that will help you with this important question.

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What does it cost to make a Green Map?

All Mapmakers are asked to pay an annual Service Support Fee to be part of Green Map System. This varies by type of organization, country, etc, as explained in the Participate section. Service Exchanges (such as translation, outreach, etc.) are possible alternatives for low-income Mapmakers so that fees are never a barrier to participation. Mapmaker fees help insure that we can further develop resources used by all and continue to provide support to all projects, especially those in low-income areas and the developing world.

The cost of making a Green Map itself varies depending on the project, whether there are volunteer-run or paid staff, an office to pay rent on, equipment, and public workshop costs, etc. Mapmakers have found many inventive ways of funding their projects as described in the Maps section. Printing the map is generally the biggest expense, but its often the best way to deliver the map to your intended audience. Online maps also vary greatly in cost, depending whether you use open source/free software or license a GIS application, server costs, etc.

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What is a Green Map®?

A Green Map is a locally-made map that uses the universal Green Map® Icons to highlight the social, cultural, and sustainable resources of a particular geographic area. Since virtually all decisions about each Green Map are made locally by the Mapmakers in the community being charted, the mapmaking process and final products vary widely in terms of goals, content, and design. Some Green Maps focus only on beneficial natural and sustainability sites, while others include problems impacting community well-being, such as toxic hot spots and other sources of blight. Many Green Maps include narrative text, photos, and background information about the sites identified by the Icons. Printed, interactive, mural, and kiosk Green Maps can be thematic or connected to a specific event or season. Each map has its own unique style, validity, and audience, and many Green Mapmakers work in multiple formats over time, charting specific themes, piloting new concepts and continually creating compelling new perspectives on familiar places.

Explore GreenMap.org for great examples of Green Maps from your hometown and contact the Mapmakers directly about getting involved. If you can’t find your city/community/town on the list, consider starting your own Green Map project!

Please note that this website is new as of May 2007. It will take a few months for our entire network to add their Green Map projects. Here is a list (files/citylist.pdf) of all 400 projects in 50 countries, current up to the website re-launch (some are no longer active, though).

Find more about sustainable development below.

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What is GIS (Geographic Information System)?

GIS is an extremely useful computer-based resource that can be used to store, view, and analyze geographic data. It presents information in layers, allowing you to make comparisons between data in a familiar format. Please refer to GIS.com for more information. Google Map is an increasingly familiar form of GIS.

We believe the Green Map System is a unique compliment to GIS, and a number of Mapmakers have used GIS software to create their Green Maps in the past. Professor David Tulloch's paper on Public Participation in GIS and GMS can be downloaded on the Universities page, where you can also see his students' wonderful Green Maps of Somerset County New Jersey, US as an example.

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What is Green Map System and who is behind it?

The About section details our organization and the network of locally-led Green Map projects, our Icons, our staff, our history, etc. Developed collaboratively since 1995, all projects in the Green Map movement help the "system" improve continuously by sharing their experiences and helping new Mapmakers thrive.

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What is sustainable development?

There are many definitions – generally it’s about striking a balance between economic vitality, environmental integrity, and social equity. According to Ernest Lowe, industrial ecologist: "Simply stated, sustainable development seeks two basic objectives: widely-shared, high quality of life for humans, continuing through the generations; Healthy, diverse local ecosystems and restored balance in global systems. The challenge to our industrialized economies and societies is to create a transition from the present, very unsustainable system, without major disruption and breakdown." Or as we say on LoMap, our youth-authored view of Lower Manhattan: "Sustainability is living, working, eating, and playing in ways that will not jeopardize the health of the planet or the quality of life for all cultures, species, and generations to come."

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Who can participate as a Green Mapmaker?

The Green Map System (GMS) is flexible and open to a broad range of individuals, groups, agencies, classes, and businesses. All Mapmakers share a background in sustainability issues and some communications/mapping skills. If you do not have this background, try to organize a small team before registering. Additionally, you should live and/or work in the community you wish to Green Map and know a lot about its sustainability/environmental resources and networks. We prefer that you start small rather than make a cursory Green Map of a large area. Leadership and organizing skills are very important, as is the ability to realize a big project with a small budget. Starting a Green Map project is a big responsibility!

GMS grants exclusive rights to make a Green Map within city boundaries. The right is not exclusive for smaller (neighborhood, campus or district) or larger (watershed or state/province/prefecture/nation) area Green Maps. All Green Map projects update their Profiles and contribute a modest fee or a service each year to GMS – this varies by type of organization, country, etc, as explained in the Participate section.

Our global network of Mapmakers is both intergenerational and interdisciplinary. With the help of regional Hub, leaders, and our extremely diverse global network, we try to accommodate the needs and skills of all involved. For this reason we built the Greenhouse in 2007 to provide an online presentation, exchange, and resource center designed to help Mapmakers reach a wider public and build relationships that lead to better mapmaking experiences and collaborative sustainability initiatives. There’s a wonderful array of tools you can preview by clicking Resources. Once you have registered, these resources are available to you anytime. As a registered Mapmaker, you will also be able to share your project’s progress through your Profiles, blogs, etc. and exchange ideas with other Mapmakers anywhere in the world.

GMS functions successfully because of our cooperative communication, our flexible structure, and the remarkable people in the movement. We want everyone who plans to create a Green Map to register with GMS, even if they obtained GMS's Icon font and Mapmaker Toolkit from a friend. The reciprocal support of all who are utilizing GMS and communication between Mapmakers is extremely important. Our name and logo are trademarked, and our award-winning Icons are copyrighted, so registering is really the right thing to do!

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