Module M08 - Ground and Sketch Mapping

Unit M08U01 - Introduction to Ground and Sketch Mapping


This Unit introduces the trainee to the basics of ground and sketch mapping.

Community mapping is a process and a tool used to visually convey spatial knowledge. A community mapping process may help to visualise the distribution of resources, issues and spatial relationships at the village level. Ground and sketch maps are powerful tools that make it easier to identify and analyse place-based patterns and communicate those patterns in a simple and visually realistic way to a broad range of stakeholders. Ground and sketch maps offer local communities a means of spatially visualising their knowledge and perceptions which, in turn, stimulates the exchange of information and equalises opportunities for all community members to participate in processes affecting their livelihood.

Unit objectives / expected outcomes

After the completion of the Unit the trainee will be able to:

  • describe and differentiate ground and sketch mapping;
  • explain the characteristics of ground and sketch mapping;
  • conduct ground and sketch mapping;
  • discuss strengths, weaknesses and opportunities of ground and sketch mapping.

Content outline, main topics covered and suggested sequencing

This Unit focuses on the topics listed below:

  1. Ground and sketch mapping; their strengths and weaknesses (PPT No. 1, including brief Q&A session at the end) (30 min); (Exercise No. 1) (1 hr); (Exercise No. 2) (optional; 1–3 hrs, up to a whole day); (Exercise No. 3) (1–2 hrs); (Exercise No. 4) (1 hr)

Components of the Unit


Handouts for Trainee (to be distributed in printed format):

Handouts for Trainee (to be distributed in digital format)



4-5 hrs; if Exercise No. 2 (transect walk) is included, the Unit may take up to 2 days.

Additional trainer resources

  • Jules N. Pretty, Irene Guijt, Ian Scoones and John Thompson, Participatory Learning and Action: A Trainer’s Guide, IIED, 1995, Participatory methodology series, UK

Equipment needed

Beamer, computer, flip charts, pin boards, blackboards or whiteboards, wall space, marker pens, large sheets of paper, craft paper (1m x 2 m), masking tape, scissor, small notebooks, pens, prepared maps copied onto coloured paper, table, meta cards, pins or thumbtacks

Additional downloads