Amber J. Bosse

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  • NSF Graduate Research Fellow
  • PhD Candidate
  • Geography
  • New Mappings Collaboratory
based in Boulder, CO
  • Other Affiliations:
Research Interests:

Amber J. Bosse is a Ph.D. candidate in the University of Kentucky’s  Department of Geography. As a pioneer of participatory action mapping (PAM), Amber combines the application and theory of public participatory GIS (PPGIS), critical cartography, and participatory action research (PAR) to facilitate community-driven mapping projects. In collaborations with more than a dozen grassroot organizations throughout the past four years, she has repeatedly observed how maps that ‘break all the rules’ of functional cartography can work to successfully gain the attention of local, state, and federal leaders.


As such, her dissertation examines how map design is conceptualized and negotiated within participatory mapping projects. She’s achieving this by 1) curating an archive of participatory produced maps (PPMs) 2) analyzing the archive to explore the multiple components of design observed in PPMs, and 3) investigating the mechanisms through which these designs emerge. Through this work, Amber will reveal how current design practices are generating opportunities and challenges in PPMs’ attempts to represent the perspectives of marginalized communities. She strives to formulate a set of “best practices” that can be used to support future participatory mapping efforts. Additionally, by juxtaposing these findings on PPMs against traditional notions of cartographic design, her research also works to broaden our thinking around cartographic efficacy and what produces a “good” map.


Amber is also a freelance cartographer; she has made maps for purposes ranging from historical tourism plaques and books to art and political campaigns.


M.S. Georgia State Univeristy, Geosciences, 2015
B.S. University of North Dakota, Geography, 2013

Selected Publications: 

Boll-Bosse, Amber J, and Katherine Hankins. 2017. “These Maps Talk for Us:” Participatory Action Mapping as Civic Engagement Practice. The Professional Geographer.

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