Green Map System turns 15 this year

The Cape Town Green Map website – – makes use of a series of award-winning icons designed by the Green Map® System, which is 15 years old this year.

These award-winning icons are the world’s only universal symbol set for maps, not only creating a world-wide community of Green Maps, but also making each green map easy to explore regardless of the language and culture of the viewer.

The very first Green Map was created in New York City in 1992 to highlight the green side of the city. Originally named the Green Apple Map, it was designed to help tourists, relative newcomers and native New Yorkers develop a renewed personal interest in sustainability, along with the natural sites and culturally significant places that make the city’s environment unique.

This fresh approach to empowering locally led mapmaking – Think Global, Map Local! – was conceived by Wendy Brawer, and published by her eco-design company, Modern World Design, three years after publishing the original Green Apple Map of New York City.

The response to this original map sparked the concept of a globally linked, locally adaptable Green Map® System. By 1997 it could claim its place as a global system with projects on every continent and in 2000 it became a not-for-profit organisation. The Green Apple Map remains the one local project run by the Green Map System team in New York City.

Since then the Green Map® System has grown in leaps and bounds, and over 500 print maps have been published to date. On World Environment Day 2009, at the same time as our team launched Cape Town Green Map, the Green Map® System network launched their participatory map-making website, called Open Green Map – Development had already begun in spring 2008 on the social mapping platform that now allows anyone to explore multiple websites and blogs, transforming local information into global interaction.

With 660 Green Map Projects in 55 countries either active or published, Open Green Map is revolutionising green map making, connecting ‘go local’, green development and ecotourism movements worldwide. It is an interactive space for everyone to share their insights, images and impact of local green sites of all kinds.

The map is based on open-source software and familiar mapping technologies like Google Maps. Green Maps are always available, easily updated, expanded and explored in online, mobile and custom formats.

People who use the maps are often surprised and delighted to find great new places to experience sustainability first hand. Every site on every Green Map gains recognition and new patrons. Decision-makers, travellers, educators and many others find that Green Maps give unique insights.

The Cape Town Green Map is part of this global network and also a project of Host City Cape Town Green Goal 2010, the environmental programme for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. As such, it is aimed at raising environmental awareness and providing valuable ‘green’ information as part of the Green Goal programme’s green building and sustainable lifestyles target area.

Cape Town Green Map reveals a different aspect to the Mother City, by showing visitors and residents how to enjoy and use their environment in a sustainable way. It is a resource full of ways in which to live, work and play; in order to reduce our impact on the fragile ecosystems within the city.

The printed version of Cape Town Green Map works in conjunction with the online version of the map, which can be viewed at Together they provide a dynamic and interactive way to engage with ‘green Cape Town’, with the print map functioning as a handy snapshot for easy reference.

The user-friendly print map, aimed at both residents of Cape Town and visitors to the city, will help you find sites of interest, whether it’s a nature reserve, local organic market, green accommodation, where to eat organic, or which recycling drop-off site is closest to you.

The second edition of the printed version of the Cape Town Green Map will be available free of charge at all Cape Town Tourism Visitor Information Centres in early June 2010. Cape Town Tourism is a contributing sponsor of the Cape Town Green Map and is committed to implementing the Host City Cape Town Green Goal 2010 programme.

The map is printed on SAPPI Triple Green paper, an environmentally friendly paper stock made from chlorine-free sugarcane fibre, to support sustainable afforestation in South Africa, and kindly sponsored by SAPPI. The printers use only vegetable-based inks and presses rated amongst the most energy-efficient in the world.

You can currently download the first edition print map from The latest edition will be available for download on World Environment Day, June 5, 2010.



Issued by: Communication Department, City of Cape Town

Media queries: Arne Purves, Professional Officer of Sustainable Resource Management, Tel: +27 21 487 2136 or E-mail:

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