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Global Mapping International

Next-Generation Mapping

Global Mapping International is in a two-year program of developing a series of next-generation mapping systems for the church and mission communities. These next-generation systems will include both new mapping software (ArcView from ESRI) and several levels of additional geographic detail not included in the current Global Ministry Mapping System. Funding for research and development of an initial series of software and data offerings scheduled for release in 2003 has been received from two foundation grants and several other funding sources. As of October, 2002, funding for the first project phase (thorough mid-2003) is fully committed. Additional funding later phases of the project (including additional training and equipping of overseas sites and development of additional regional data collections) is still needed. Contact Bill Dickson ( for additional details. Additional detail follows:

Project Outline: What are we planning to accomplish?; How are we planning to accomplish it?

 Project Description: The Need, Proposed Solution, Approach/Strategy, Intended Outcomes

Project Outline

What are we planning to accomplish?

    1. Create a mapping system including improved mission-oriented, international-focused geographic, linguistic, and demographic data along with next-generation mapping software.
    2. Provide this package at deeply discounted prices to at least 250 existing and 100 new client mission organizations and church bodies.
    3. Provide training in the use of mapping software and data to many clients, primarily through overseas associate organizations.
    4. Improve, through better staff training, data, and software, GMI's own ability to undertake mapping projects in order to create superior map-related products for the international mission community.

How are we planning to accomplish it?

    1. Contact Finalization - software contract negotiations.
    2. Staff Development - train GMI staff to use new software.
    3. Software Customization - customize software to allow worldwide distribution and increase functionality.
    4. Data & Map Conversion - Convert and update current digital base maps, statistical databases, and finished maps into formats required by the new mapping software.
    5. CD-ROM Publishing - Write new tutorial documents, and publish the above software, data and maps together as an integrated single-CD mapping solution, replacing the current Global Ministry Mapping System.
    6. Supplemental CD-ROM Publishing - Convert the best digital base maps currently available on a worldwide basis (VMAP0), adapt GMI-specific data (language locations, sub-national political boundaries, additional city data, etc.) to fit these base maps, and publish them as separate CD-ROM data supplements for each continent and as a single DVD for the world. In addition, as the next-generation digital base maps (VMAP1) are released, develop a mechanism for efficiently downloading, converting, and creating CD-ROMs or DVDs of this data on demand for particular ministry applications.
    7. Marketing - Promoting, distributing and selling the new mapping system.
    8. Field Training - Training our overseas associates and major clients to use, and train others to use, the new software and data.
    9. Evaluation - Communicate with and survey our software users to determine the level of system use, their level of satisfaction and productivity, and suggestions for improvement.

Project Description

The Need

Global Mapping International grew out of the experience of our founder, Bob Waymire, while training national church leaders overseas in strategic planning. Once these leaders could see clearly where the needs were in their areas of ministry, they became significantly better at meeting those needs. Surprisingly, though, the leaders often did not know where the people groups in their own country were and whether they were reached or unreached, where the churches were, and which church planting strategies were proving most fruitful. Bob found that leaders were more effective in acting on information if it was presented visually and graphically, rather than as statistical tables or text. Maps, in particular, turned out to be an especially valuable way of presenting large amounts of data so that leaders could readily understand, make strategic decisions, and act.

GMI worked with a number of other mission agencies and secular organizations for a dozen years to bring together highly capable mapping software with the best worldwide geographic, linguistic, and demographic databases. This collection was first assembled on a single CD-ROM in 1995 as the Global Ministry Mapping System (GMMS), and is now in use at over 500 mission sites around the world.

Maps produced with the GMMS have profoundly affected the way the mission world views its work, with applications ranging from major global concepts (AD2000's 10/40 window), to major global publications (the maps for Wycliffe's Ethnologue, and Patrick Johnstone's Operation World), to mass-produced mission wall maps (over 100,000 copies of "Status of Global Evangelization"), to major locally produced ethnographic studies such as Operation China, Unreached Peoples of Indonesia, and Unreached Mega Peoples of India, to national church growth studies, and on down to studies of target areas and missionary deployment affecting primarily a single agency. In fact, there is hardly a mission map produced today - anywhere in the world - that did not originate in some form from GMI's mapping system. And the demand is growing constantly for more mission mapping capability.

The time has come, though, for a major overhaul of the Global Ministry Mapping System, for the following reasons:

Proposed Solution

To appropriately serve the worldwide evangelical church and mission community's need for strategic planning and communication, GMI intends to move their mapping capability to the next level, by providing:


GMI has already begun collecting and processing next-generation mapping data and making it available to clients for particular ministry needs. We have obtained agreement in principle from our software vendor (ESRI, the world's leading mapping software developer) to allow us to distribute their next-generation mapping software (ArcView) at deep discounts for the people we serve. The primary activities needed to deliver this new mapping solution for the international church and mission community are:

Intended Outcomes

Within one year of receipt of funding, we expect:

Within one year after the new Global Ministry Mapping System is published we expect:

The completion of this project also provides a foundation for Internet delivery of user-customized mission maps and for a substantially enhanced GMI capacity to deliver custom printed maps to mission clients. These projects are expected to be implemented in longer time frames and to be funded by other donors and fees.

Long term, we expect to see the real fruit (the real reason we do all this), including:

It is our prayer that the new Global Ministry Mapping System will indeed help to multiply the ministry impact of God's people around the world.

06/13/01 For comments on this web site, write Return to GMI Home Page