Went balloon mapping in the neighbourhood Esfuerzos de Paz of communa 8 of Medellin, an area not covered by google map. Medellin is divided into different districts, called communas, and the slum neighbourhoods are called by the communa numbers, whereas the other areas are called by names, El Poblado is the name of the most expensive area, for example.
Communa 8 is one of the neighbourhoods where many affected by the conflict and internally displaced live. The mapping exercise, using a bottle of helium, balloons, a go-pro camera; as well as a few strings,tape a plastic bottle to put things in place, is simple. The aim is to give a sense of identity and ownership to the residents, to connect them to the world, and for letting the government know where they are.
On top of mapping out the area, there is also a focus on teaching the youth how to conduct the mapping, to empower them with skills.
A bonus result is the colourful balloons were irresistible, and they made everyone smile.
This project is a partnership between the team from Parque Explora, an interactive science and technology park, and ConVerGentes, a group working with the vulnerable community, and is supported by the Department for Youth and Alcaldía de Medellín, another government agency.
More photos which show the setting up process can be found here.