What can you map with?

- hand or car GPS-devices created for hikers,
- phones with an integrated or an external GPS device
- digital maps can be used. 

The precondition of the last option is that the mapper knows very well where the trash spot is and also has a very good digital or a paper map with detailed coordinates.

What kind of infotechnological programs would one have to use?

In Estonia it was comfortable to use a program called Nutimap (www.nutiteq.ee), which in addition to being an interactive map also enabled us to map the trash (with a special software). 

Trash-database (in our-case Google Earth/Google Maps based) – all trash points were added to this database separately or as GPS tracks. Users with given passwords could add, remove or edit data in an area which was appointed to them. The administrators of this database saw all added points, could add/modify/delete data to all areas (or specified areas depending of rights), could add users and change their rights. 

What kind of coordinates can one use? 

All widely known coordinate systems. One can use latitude and longitude and L-est system or the one which is mostly used in the military. Our trash-database accepted all coordinates and transformed them to a common system. For adding saved GPS-tracks to the database the program accepted files with extensions like GPX, UPT, WPT, PLT, GDB, KML and  KMZ.                                                                When adding photos the size was not important because the program also accepted zip-files.  

What kind of data we need about garbage?

To be able to work out the amount of garbage it is beneficial to mark diameter and height (if it was over 1 m). If the garbage was spread out in a large area, then those small pieces should be calculated together as one spot. For coordinates you needed to mark the center of the area.

Because different type of garbage needs a bit different handling (old furniture, car tires etc, hazardous waste), it is good to also include the information about the content of it (what type of garbage is there). You can either work out codes for most common type of garbage, or add comment section. 

Also the comment section is useful to mark down any extraordinary circumstances a place can have - if this spot also contained hazardous waste, if it was in a hole, on a slope etc.

What else is important?

When starting the mapping process, you already would have to have decided which type of garbage you will include in the clean-up. You may decide to leave out bricks and wood, as materials which are either extremely heavy and/or don't present a danger to the environment and to the fauna. Be sure to communicate this to the mappers - there is no point mapping the types of garbage which will not be included in the clean-up.

Also there might be a question about the ownership of the land you are mapping. Make sure the mappers are not mapping and marking down somebody's private property as a garbage. You might want to consult with some legal advisor, when planning the whole process, just to be sure.

For example:
In Estonia we decided not to map bricks, building panels and wood (In Estonia some people also take building materials and furniture to the forest), because those are not very dangerous to the environment. They also give a lot of weight and volume to waste transportation cars. That could cause a noticeable part of „important trash“ like domestic garbage staying in the forest.
Attention should be paid also to land property. It’s good to get a map or set up a layout of the land property types. We planned to clean private land, state owned land and municipal land. Other countries might have different land types.