Live Map Of UK Students' Protests

  • In UK, the House of Commons has voted in favour of the increase in university tuition fees, ignoring the widespread students’ protests. The protests saw continuous, and often violent, face-offs with British police, including kettling charges by the mounted police.

    UCL Occupation, an anti-fee hike students’ group from University College of London, created a live protest map using Google Map, with real-time updates about police positions and movements. A wonderful use of low-tech tactical mapping. The protesters used the map to both document and broadcast information about police activities, as well as using it as an online space for passing on information between protesters facilitating resistance strategies.

    In the screenshot below you can see how the spatial markers of police activities came annotated with further information for protesters out on the streets, in this case about possible strategies for dealing with mounted police.

    Technology-wise Google Map may not be the most accessible (for updating information and for receiving live feed), but used in combination with the group’s tweeter account, it proved to be the most pragmatic and fastest to set up (say in comparison to a Crowdmap setup). Using a publicly-accessible platform also comes with the problem of British police following the conversation. Still, a superb use of location-based information gathering to support real-time decisions. Augmented urban guerrilla activism, here we come!