launches Geo Challenge Grants for non-profis
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November 06, 2008 -- has launched an exciting new grants program for online mapping. Geo Challenge Grants will award small grants to non-profits and NGOs around the world to create projects using online mapping tools, such as Google Maps and Google Earth. The program is an open application process that will award grants up to $100,000.

Maps are a powerful way for organizations to display and share data, promote ideas and issues, and plan and organize activities. Online mapping tools can help the world visualize and understand information, problems, and solutions - whether locally or globally. We've found that well designed maps can help organizations operate more effectively. They can convey the importance of your cause in a visual, compelling way. And, they can give individuals from around the world a chance to experience the work you do. We want to help organizations use these kinds of tools to advance their work in the areas of global development, climate change and global public health.

Here's an example project. The Dreaming New Mexico initiative seeks to encourage adoption of clean electricity and to move New Mexico away from dirty, polluting power plants. Using the Google Earth API (browser plugin), Dreaming New Mexico shows some of the choices available to New Mexico as it considers a move to sustainable clean energy. Click here to view the site.

Applications, which are open to NGOs around the world are open now and will close on December 22. (We hope to continue with further application rounds next year.)

There are 3 levels of funding. A US$5,000 grant is enough to complete a small mapping project or a prototype of a more ambitious map project. Examples include maps such as the Women for Women project locations. A US$25,000 grant is enough to complete a substantial mapping project using one or more data sources. The map will typically still use a fixed data set vs a dynamically updating data source. Examples include maps such as the Appalachian Voices Mountaintop Removal Layer with associated "Are You Connected?" interactive website noted in this case study. A US$100,000 grant is enough to complete a more dynamic mapping project, or a system that will enable the production of maps across a number of scenarios. Such a project might include tools that the grantee as well as other organizations could use to quickly create maps of a certain type.

To learn more about the program, check out this blog post and the Geo Challenge Grants website which has a description of the program, FAQs and the application. Also, for other ways that Google can help your organization, check out our Google for Non-profits site.