• Tools

From Local to Global: The Power of the Map of Machinery

Are you a maker or SMEs looking for a specific machine? Are you starting your own project but you lack certain resources? Are you a company or a person who wants to manufacture something on a small scale? The Map of a Machinery is a tool for distributed manufacturing that will help you achieve your goals and explore the resources within the maker innovation ecosystem.

Watch the mAkE talk about it:

The Map of Machinery is one of the projects developed by the Internet of Production as part of the mAkE project. The objective is to enable digital infrastructures for distributed manufacturing across networks by sharing open data about:

1) facilities

2) machinery inventories

3) people and skills

4) open-source projects.

What is the Map of Machinery?

The Map of Machinery provides data for all makers, makerspaces, and SMEs (small and medium-size enterprises), to be part of the distributed manufacturing ecosystem. The objective is to provide the tools necessary to participate in production. One can look for machines, makerspaces, and/or projects around the world, in order to make it in their own place.

Different needs have been identified in the ecosystem, in order to make, innovate and solve global issues, or those of a community.  If a company or a person wants to manufacture something on a small scale, the map will enable them to find all the resources necessary to start a project, compare or even kickstart their own makerspace.

The Map of Machinery is part of the Open Know-Where (OKW) Initiative by the Internet of Production. The (OKW) working group collaborates openly to provide all the theory, data, and the technical parts of the initiative. Documentation is available at https://map.internetofproduction.org/

All developments resulting from the working sessions are available on  the GitHub repositories of Internet of production, notes are available at: https://map.internetofproduction.org/working-group/

The data collected comes from different sources. The collection of data follows the four FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Replicable), and it follows the GDPR for privacy and security compliance, enhanced by language localisation, open-data and geo positioning standards.

The map is available here

Use Cases

After running multiple interviews and visiting different digital production spaces, we have identified four scenarios:

  1. Disaster response: based on learnings from pandemic Covid-19 responses. People around the world offered  locally made face masks and respirator units as the global supply chain collapsed during the pandemic. In this scenario, the map could be used to serve the emergency needs by identifying the makers and manufacturing places to produce locally. 
  2. Economic development: to create stable income for SMEs, and to create opportunities for the governments to finance the opening of makerspaces and to support innovation.
  3. Education: create opportunities to recreate in your own place what is done in a successful makerspace or FabLab. 
  4. Open-Source Hardware design tools to gather all the information needed, so OSH designers can understand where their projects can be replicated or made. 

By designing the tools, by exploring the use cases, we go one step closer to offer useful tools that will be enabling distributed manufacturing in different contexts, interests and organisations. More details available at https://map.internetofproduction.org/use-cases/.

Data Collection

The data collected to populate the Map of Machinery comes from partners, international networks of makerspaces and FabLabs, and global organisations for innovation. With the mAkE project, we are focusing on spaces and networks in Europe and Africa. Once the data is accessible, an automated process is used to retrieve the data. The data can be machinery (machines, tools and materials), makers, projects, and facilities like makerspaces and FabLabs. 

Today, we can count several organisations and networks that openly share their data, as part of the Map: Fablabs.io, Global Innovation Gathering (GIG), the African Makerspace Network (AMN), AfricaOSH, Association pour la Promotion de la Science Ouverte en Haiti et Afrique (APSOHA), Verbund Offener Werkstätten, among others.

Once the data is collected, a cleaning process allows to only keep reliable data, useful in a distributed manufacturing ecosystem. And the next thing is to use the standard that we have been developing, the distributed manufacturing resources. The specification is online. Also, you can check this on the GitHub repository and on the web page. And the idea is that we have all the data together so we can analyse the data and give insights about how makerspace is distributed around the world, what kind of projects are more developed in some regions of the world, and especially now emphasising in Africa and Europe.

How to contribute?

A version of the Map of Machinery, between Africa and Europe is currently live on https://map.internetofproduction.org/makeafricaeu.html. A first prototype of a data collection tool has been used so far to collect data from within the mAkE networks.

The submission form collects data about facilities and inventories (machines). 

One example of how useful it is to collect the right data is when there is a need to cut large pieces of metal or wood, or for precision milling for PCBs. Knowing the specifications of a machine is necessary to determine where to go. Therefore, the more you contribute, the more useful the map will be.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Submitting Facility and Machinery Details

Submission Process

  1. Add Your Facility:
  2. Provide Feedback:
    • As you fill out the form, provide feedback at any step if necessary.

Validation and Display

  • Once your information is submitted, it will be validated by the administrators.
  • After validation, your data will be shown on the map.

What’s Next?

  1. We are developing an API for data publishing. The specification of the API is on the IOP Github repository for you to contribute and comment.
  2. An MVP following the use case of the disaster response is under development. The idea is to provide a tool that will share all the information necessary for production, such as materials, machines, locations, and vendors. In case you need to recreate something, all the information would be available offline (via an Excel sheet, offline maps and guidelines on how to develop your own network).
  3. We are organising monthly working group sessions. If you are interested in contributing please check the updates on the community forum.

If you have ideas to share on the Map, please engage with our community. If you have any ideas on how to modify the code, modify the notebooks, please submit and reach out to us on the IOP GitHub.

Take a look at the presentation on the Map of Machinery:

  • Tools