Who we are and what we do

Language Mapping Project Mapping the world's 6,900 languages.

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Imagine seeing the world as a mosaic of peoples -- a distribution of tribes and ethnic groups and languages -- rather than primarily as countries and cities, or mountains and lakes. It was this dream that led GMI in 1988 to partner with SIL to begin the Language Mapping Project. The Language Mapping Project is based on the language classifications in SIL's Ethnologue language database.


The purpose of the Language Mapping Project is fourfold:

  • to enable organizations to see and manage their peoples-related information
  • to further mission and people research
  • to enhance the development of mission strategy, and
  • to help people better understand the mission of the church.

The objectives of the Language Mapping Project are:

  • to develop and verify computerized locations of the peoples of the world, tied to longitude/latitude coordinates, major geographical features such as rivers and roads, and major peoples databases; and
  • to publish and distribute the resulting maps to Christian organizations and educational institutions.


Christian ministries are benefitting in a variety of ways from these digital maps:


  • Bible translation agencies and radio broadcasting agencies are using the maps for strategy and management
  • Agencies with peoples-centered strategies are using the maps in their annual reports to show where they are working
  • Missionaries are using printed versions of the maps to explain their ministry to supporting churches
  • Ministry organizations are using the mapping for reaching unreached peoples
  • GMI uses the Language Mapping Project as the basis for an extensive array of custom maps for churches, mission agencies and schools

The results of the Language Mapping Project are available to Christian ministry organizations as an intregal part of the Global Ministry Mapping System, and available to other users packaged separately as the World Language Mapping System.