However, a new global venture called Legal Atlas caught our eye recently.
The initiative, which is both educational and practice oriented, aims to map the world’s laws.
At the center of the project is a new online application that allows users to research laws and legal frameworks around the world, and their effect on human and natural resources.
Legal Atlas uses cloud-based data management, web application programming, and mapping tools to build comprehensive legal information around specific resources and special interest topics.
The site is still in prototype mode, but even the beta version has real visual appeal – leaning heavily on the global map as the dashboard to find out more about the laws of different countries.
Jim and Maria met while working together in Afghanistan, and their time in the international development and NGO world inspired them to launch Legal Atlas.
In a call last week, Jim explained more about what he wants to achieve:
“Around the world, inadequate law and inadequate implementation of law are prime drivers of challenges like armed conflicts, natural resource degradation, and poverty.
While law does not create or solve all problems, its misuse is a key ingredient in missed opportunities, as wells as failed and failing systems around the world.
Naturally, the national laws of a country constitute one of the areas that international development efforts must consider and often work to improve.
In many countries this type of information is still not easily accessible or well organized, so sizable resources are regularly being spent simply tracking down legislation and conducting preliminary reviews, often repeating time consuming and expensive efforts.
Legal Atlas is an online tool supporting all types of studies that need to rapidly access, review, and understand legal frameworks.”
In November 2012, the Hague Institute for the Internationalization of Law recognized Legal Atlas as the world’s most innovative idea promoting justice worldwide.