Thursday, October 19, 2017

Unique Geography Teaching & Learning Resource

I've been following a Twitter chat using the hashtag #worldgeochat and this week I saw this graphic introducing a web site titled The Human Imprint.

I took a look at the site and found it to be a treasure of information and ideas.  It was created by a geography teacher and one section is an Illustrated Textbook for teaching geography and spatial-based history, current events, environmental topics and more.

However, another section is a web library, organized in nine categories, with topics such as population and migration, urbanization, industry and economic geography, political configurations, etc.  In each section are sub-sections, which you can find using the drop-down menu. 

I've been building a web library for more than 20 years and I have two categories with links to geography and mapping resources.  The graphic at the right can be found in this presentation, describing the information library I've been building and showing my goal of finding others who are experts in specific topics. It looks like The Human Imprint is providing some of this expertise.

I encourage you to book mark the site as I did, and visit regularly.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Updating CPS Tiers Map - How It Was Done

Many well-intentioned civic tech volunteers are creating apps and web sites, but seldom do the work to update them regularly.  Thus, it was great to find a set of Tweets and web links posted by Derek Elder, of ChiHackNight, showing how he updated a map platform showing Chicago Public School Tiers. You can read Derek's article here.

The CPS School Tiers map can be found here.

The same tier info is also used on the CPS School Locator.

I think the information Derek is sharing could be applied by civic tech volunteers in other cities and working on other projects.

I'd love to find some volunteers who would help update, and/or rebuild, the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator, which was built for me by a team from India in 2008. I've not been able to update the site since 2010 and have not been able to update the tutor/mentor program information on the site since 2013.

The Program Locator is part of a project started in 1993, intended to identify all non-school, volunteer-based tutor and mentor programs in the Chicago region and share that information in on-going public awareness activities intended to draw resources and ideas to existing programs,  help parents, volunteers and donors find programs, and help people see where more programs are needed.

Initially the list of programs was published in a printed directory that was mailed to libraries, businesses, foundations, and existing programs each year and shared at a May and November Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference.

In 1998 we began putting the list of programs on line, pointing to program web sites, which we felt would have much more updated information than what we could provide in a directory. It could also be found by more people.

In 2004 we launched a ProgramLocator search portal, which you can see at the right, which enabled people to search for programs by age group, type of program and zip code or community area. The results would show on a Google map.  A special feature made it easier for Tutor/Mentor Connection staff to update program data, and allowed programs to enter and  update their own data.

Unfortunately, this feature has not worked since 2013 and even in the late 2000s we had too few dollars to train programs to use this effectively.

This is one of many graphics created over the past 20 years to emphasize our intent of connecting donors and volunteers directly to individual tutor/mentor programs, using the Program Locator, and eliminating us or anyone else as the gate-keeper or middle-man.

Our goal was to create PDF essays, like this Shoppers Guide, to educate programs and resource providers, so they could make informed decisions on which programs to support.  In some cases, there are almost no choices in some zip codes, so you need to help which ever programs are there become great at what they do. That take time and perseverance.

This page contains articles that show ways to use the Program Locator.

I've not found many using maps this way, to draw needed support to organizations who are already doing needed work in different parts of a city.  Yet, I believe what I'm piloting can, and should, be applied in cities throughout the world.

Read more stories about my use of maps, on this blog, and on the Tutor/Mentor blog. See history of my use of maps, and current status, on this wiki page.

So, as I look at what Derek and others are doing with GIS technology, I hope to find people with similar talent, or some dollars, who will help me upgrade what I've been doing for almost 24 years.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Help More CPS Youth Move To&Through College - See the Data

I attended an event in Chicago yesterday hosted by the To&Through Project of the University of Chicago's Urban Education Institute. The Project's mission is:

The To&Through Project’s mission is to close the gap between the 76% of CPS freshmen who aspire to attend college and the actual results of only 18% obtaining a 4-year college degree within 10 years, with research, data, and resources designed to give every student who aspires to earn a college degree the opportunity and support to do so.

The Project web site has a data portal that anyone can use to understand how each CPS high school performs, with a multi-year history and with comparisons to other schools, CPS in total, and national results. The site also has reports produced by experts in Chicago and beyond that provide additional ideas that can be used to build a stronger support system for Chicago youth.

This is a rich resource. You'll need to spend time on site to learn what's there.

One of the features of the site is a collection of stories, submitted by anyone in the community, showing how they are using To&Through data to help CPS students through school and through college.

I attended this event in September 2016 and posted this story on the Tutor/Mentor blog.   In that story I encouraged Project leaders to review the ways I'm using maps and showing how others use maps, via articles on this blog. 

Birth to Work Support

I included this graphic in that story, emphasizing the need for support that starts as early as first grade and points to jobs as the result of post high school college and/or vocational school programs, along with an expanded network of mentors who help open doors to those jobs.

In the breakout group that I attended yesterday I asked if any of the data was plotted on GIS maps. The best answer I received was that you could find such maps on CPS web site, and perhaps on other sites, such as that of WBEZ radio. 

data platforms
This blog is full of articles showing uses of maps. The concept map at the left shows many data portals that are models that can be reviewed.

On other concept maps, like the one below, I show how maps should be used in planning and community building efforts that focus on specific neighborhoods, such as the area surrounding each CPS school. 

Use maps in planning

I'd like to see stories on the To&Through site that show how people in different map-areas are using some of the ideas I'm sharing and are coming together to help students be more successful in moving through school and into jobs and careers.

One goal expressed by the To&Through Project director at this year's event was data that show income and earnings of CPS alumni, as a result of having obtained a college degree. That would align with my own goals and perhaps build greater support for the broader system of supports needed by youth in many school neighborhoods.

Last year's article did not result in an invitation to connect and share ideas with any of the organizations working toward the To&Through Project goals. Hopefully, this year's article will lead to some conversations.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

KUMU adds GEO layer to Community-Based Concept Maps

Map from Kumu blog
I was delighted to scroll my LinkedIn feed today and see a post announcing that is introducing Geographic Mapping Underlays.  Here's the blog article that introduces this feature. 

I've been interested in mapping event participation for about a dozen years. In this article on the Tutor/Mentor blog I describe my interest. In this page on the Tutor/Mentor Conference site I show conference participation maps.

In this 2014 article I talk about systems mapping and introduce Kumu and a few other companies I'd connected with. I also bemoan my lack of resources to apply their technology, or my ability to influence others in Chicago to apply these tools.

The map at the right shows participation in one of the MOOCs I've taken part in since 2013. I first saw this type of mapping in an Education Technology and Learning MOOC (#ETMOOC) which was I joined in Jan 2013. As I participated in later MOOCs, such as Deeper Learning (DLMOOC), then Connected Learning (CLMOOC), I shared a link to the ETMOOC and encouraged adoption. I was pleased to see this happen.

In this Twitter chat the #clmooc group is talking about using maps to understand "who's here and who's not".

Now if only the foundations and event organizers in Chicago would take the same steps.

The Kumu GIS Mapping Underlay looks like a really sophisticated, but simple, way to map participation. I'll be following their progress and user groups to see (and share) how this is used by people throughout the world.

If you're trying to bring people with different talents and representing different networks in order to solve a problem, you might use maps like the one at the left to show what talents or networks you seek.  Using tools like KUMU is developing you might find a way to map participation in your meetings and events and do the analysis needed to know if you are getting the range of participation you need, and where you might still have some missing pieces.

If you're using these tools, for this purpose, I look forward to hearing from you.  If you'd like me to sit in on your brainstorming and share my ideas, I'm available.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Learn about Open Street Mapping

The video below is from last week's ChiHackNight session. Steve Vance describes Open Street Mapping and efforts to create better maps for areas of the world, like Puerto Rico, where there are not enough good maps to support disaster recovery efforts.

Here are some relevant links:

Open Street Map site - click here

Humanitarian Open Street Map team - click here

Many areas prone to disaster have not yet been mapped. View the video, visit the web sites and find ways you can help.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Distressed Communities in US

Distressed Communities Index map and data show a fragmented economy with nearly 52.3 Americans living in economically distressed communities.  Read the report-click here. View the map-click here.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Mapping Indiana After School Programs

There's a lot to like about the map/directory on the Indiana Afterschool Network web site. They not only are collecting location information, but through surveys and data analysis are providing an overview of that information.  Take some time to browse the site.

The 2018 Indiana Summit on Out-of-School-Learning will be held in Indianapolis on Monday, April 9, 2018. Out-of-state programs might find this useful.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Mapping Terrorist Attacks Around World

This is another ESRI story map, showing terrorist attacks around the world in 2017.

Teams of students, volunteers and researchers in US cities could create similar maps to show neighborhood violence and the availability (or lack) of  youth jobs, tutoring and mentoring support services.

Mapping Segregation in Washington, DC

This image is from an ESRI story-map, showing the growth of racial segregation in Washington, DC.

Take a look at this, and other articles on this blog, where I've shared maps focusing on race, poverty and segregation.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Pain and suffering throughout the world - how do we respond?

I have been watching the daily news briefs following hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Mexico, along with daily shootings that take lives of young people in Chicago and other cities.  Yesterday I did a search to see if anyone had been mapping locations of natural disasters throughout the world.  I found the map below, showing events in 2014, on this United Nations Disaster Prevention resource page.

This map only shows natural disasters. If wars, terrorism and other man-made disasters were plotted on the map, or added as an overlay, we'd see a lot more pain in some parts of the world, but not much more than what's on the map now, in other parts of the world. If poverty overlays were added, we'd see that much of the man-made and natural disasters hit people hardest in high poverty area. These are areas where people have the fewest resources to rebuild their own lives and communities.

With so many bad things happening, how can anyone find a meaningful way to respond?  I encourage you to visit this article, which I posted over the weekend on the Tutor/Mentor blog. It includes the graphic shown below.

Look at the slanted white line in the middle of this figure-8 graphic.  This represents information, such as the UN Disaster Prevention site, or the Tutor/Mentor web library, which people can use to learn more about any of these problems, learn what some people are doing in different places to solve the problem, and find places where they might get involved with time, talent and dollars.  It also represents the role of intermediaries, who help people connect with this information and  help them  understand how to apply it.

I first used this ENOUGH list in 2007 after seeing a newspaper headline following a shooting in Chicago, where a talking head said "Enough is Enough".  This is a list of steps anyone can follow to become involved.

A couple of months ago I updated it in a video that you can find here.  The first step is educate yourself, and the second is educate your network. Use the information made available by myself an others to know more about some of these problems and to find ways to use your time, talent and dollars to become part of the solution.

Related article: "I'm up to my neck in alligators. How do I drain the swamp"  click here

I've never claimed to have the solution to any of these problems. I only offer a learning path that might lead to solutions if more people begin to use it.  Want to connect with me? Visit this page to see social media pages where you can find me.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Analysis of Philadelphia using maps

Here's an article in the site showing changes over the past five years in different Philadelphia neighborhoods.

Getting people to look at this, talk about it and act in ways that help struggling neighborhoods grow while continuing the success of other neighborhoods is a challenge for people throughout the city, not just city leaders.

I don't think this set of maps includes an overlay showing youth serving organizations and/or other needed services like I've tried to provide with the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator.  All it would take would be a dedicated group of people, including funders, to make that happen.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Violence on doorstep of Church in Austin neighborhood

While social media rages against the violence in Virginia, my Monday Chicago Tribune reminded me of another act of violence that took place yesterday in Chicago, when two men were gunned down right in front of the Friendship Baptist Church in Chicago.

I have written often on this and the Tutor/Mentor blog about violence in the Austin neighborhood, using maps to encourage businesses, universities, faith groups and others to work collectively to build a first-grade to careers support system that provide hope and opportunity and competes against gangs and their influence

The daily newspapers provide just one more reminder of problems that won't go away unless many more people give time, talent, dollars and votes over many years to address the root-causes of these problems.

That's true for racism, fanaticism, fascism and other problems we face in America and the world.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals - World Bank

Image from World Bank web site
This graphic is found on a web site that hosts an Atlas of Sustainable Development goals. Here's the description on the web site:

 "The Atlas is built around World Development Indicators 2017 - the World Bank's compilation of statistics from over 200 economies about global development and the quality of people's lives.  For each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, selected indicators have been identified and visualized to analyze trends and challenges, and to stimulate discussion on measurement issues. You can browse the Atlas online, or download it as a PDF." 

 There is a load of data here, and will take many hours to review and get to know the information. What I'm interested in seeing is how people use the data to tell on-going stories that build the public will needed to invest in future solutions so that over time the Sustainable Development Goals are achieved, in every country, including the USA.

 If you're seeing some good stories using this data I invite you to share links using the comment section of this blog.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Role of Facilitators - See Blog Talk Radio Interview

In the 4-part strategy that I've shared often on this blog, step  3 focuses on facilitation, or helping other people find, understand and apply the information on my web sites.

I use my articles to help people understand ideas and information they can use to help build and sustain volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning programs that reach kids in high poverty neighborhoods of Chicago and other cities.

I point to work interns have done in past years to help people understand ideas I share on this blog and the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC library.

On Monday, August 7, 2017,  Valerie Leonard, a Chicago community organizer, who I have come to know over the past 15 years, interviewed me for her Blog Talk Radio show.  You can see the interview below.

By hosting this show, and inviting me to be a guest, Valerie is modeling a facilitation role that needs to be duplicated by people in many groups to draw people to articles and ideas that I and other people share and help them build their own understanding and use of the ideas.

This graphic illustrates what I'm saying. There are many different groups who could be taking a deeper, more strategic, and on-going role to help improve the quality of life for people in different parts of Chicago or in other parts of the US and the world.

You don't need to have a deep understanding of any of the stuff I post or write about. You can invite a group of people into a room, project the image or article on a screen, the ask people to share what they are understanding.

You don't even need to be in the same room, at the same time. Connect on the Internet.

This past month the Connected Learning #clmooc group has been encouraging people to "make" visualizations that express their ideas. Take a look at their web site and see the activities they have been doing and the way they share and connect with each other on several social media platforms.

The #clmooc organizers are educators from different parts of the world who meet on-line to plan each year's activities.

Go ahead and get started. Invite some people to come together. Pick any of the articles I've posted over the past 10 years or that you find in the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC library.

If you're taking this role, send me a link and I'll join in when I can, and share  your videos and Tweets as I receive them.  It's another example of what I mean when I say "It takes a village to raise a child."

One role in the village is information net-worker, facilitator, trainer, etc.

If you want to make a contribution to help me do this work, visit this page and use the PayPal button.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

New report details Chicago’s racial, ethnic disparities

Browsing Linkedin feed today and saw link to UIC press release titled "New report details Chicago’s racial, ethnic disparities".  Opened link to full report, which is in an eBook format.

 “A Tale of Three Cities: The State of Racial Justice in Chicago,”
I've pointed to articles like this for many years and supported the growth of volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning programs as a strategy to engage people from different parts of the Chicago region with people living in high poverty, segregated neighborhoods.  Read more articles on this blog, or visit the Tutor/Mentor blog or the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web site.  Use this concept map to guild you to different research sections of the Tutor/Mentor web library. 

Nothing will change unless people form learning circles in business, faith groups, colleges, high schools and other places and begin reading these articles and looking for ways you can get involved with youth and families who are different from your own.

Visit this link to browse my list of Chicago area tutor/mentor programs where you might get involved. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Mapping Collaboration - Who's Here? Who's Not.

On this blog I show many examples of how maps can be used to show areas where people need extra help, based on indicators like poverty, segregation, wealth inequalities, violence, poorly performing schools, etc. I also demonstrate how data on existing youth programs can be collected and plotted on maps, in an on-going effort to help programs get the talent, dollars and ideas each needs to constantly improve and become the best they can be.

In the map below I show participation in the 2017 Connected Learning on-line community, which you can find on Google+, Twitter, Facebook and other platforms.

view map

If you look at the on-line spaces where #clmooc participants are connecting you'll see a wide range of interaction around ideas and around "making things" like music, postcards, coloring books, etc.  

I'm interested in this because I've been trying to connect people who are involved in helping youth in high poverty areas get comprehensive support systems that help them from first grade all the way to first jobs, over a 20+ year period of support.  

While I've attended Chicago conferences hosted by big foundations, universities and/or businesses, with as many as 500 or more people in the room, I don't feel that these really are interactive, where people in attendance are connecting deeply with speakers and other participants the way people in the #clmooc are doing. 

I've found very few building participation maps as part of their on-going strategies.

Thus, I share the map and the idea in stories on this blog, and on the Tutor/Mentor blog.  I can't make this type of engagement happen through my own limited efforts. However, by shining the spotlight on the #clmooc group and sharing this attention on social media, I can try to inspire and influence others to help make this happen.

Nov. 1998 conference map
I hosted Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conferences in Chicago from May 1994 to May 2015 and created some maps to show participation.  I've also created concept maps, to show the range of talent and networks I was trying to attract to the conferences, and to help me help tutor/mentor programs grow throughout the region. 

You can see from viewing my maps that too few people from business, philanthropy, media, politics, universities and faith groups were attending the conferences I was hosting.  You can also see, from viewing the #clmooc participation maps from the past three years, that too few people from Chicago or other urban areas are participating in their efforts. 

You can change that by visiting the #clmooc site, joining the group, and adding your name to the map.

While participation ( or non-participation) in the Tutor/Mentor Conferences could be the topic of many discussions, my goal with this article is to encourage others to think about mapping participation in events they host (on-line and face-2-face) to show "who needs to be involved and interacting with each other" and "who is already involved"  

Duplicate the #clmooc.  Look at the image shown in this Tweet. Imagine many people from throughout the Chicago region, and the world, interacting and sharing ideas about who needs to be involved in on-going efforts intended to build and sustain needed youth and family service and jobs programs in every high poverty neighborhood of Chicago or other parts of the country, or the world.

Interested in helping? This could be an on-going project hosted by a college group, or even a high school service learning course.  Tweet me @tutormentorteam or post a comment to this article if you're interested in exploring this idea.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Interactive map showing home price data

WBEZ91.5 Chicago is doing some of the best research and mapping that I see in the Chicago region so I encourage you to visit their web site, Facebook page and other links and find ways to  use these tools in  your own communications.

Here's map/article that shows home prices in metro areas around the US.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Why I Created Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993. Why I Still Lead it.

I started leading a volunteer-based tutor/mentor program in Chicago in 1975 while holding a full time retail advertising job at the Montgomery Ward corporate headquarters in Chicago.  I used many of my advertising skills to support a volunteer based that grew from 100 to 300 between 1975 and 1992, then to support fund raising in the years since then.

Over the years I saw many media stories talking about violence in Chicago, and editorials saying "we need to do something" but no strategies similar to how the corporate office supports hundreds of stores located all over the country.

In late 1992 while forming a new non profit to serve 7th-to-12th grade kids who were aging out of the original program, I and the six other volunteers who were helping me, decided to fill the leadership void that I'd seen over the previous 17 years. We created the Tutor/Mentor Connection, to help volunteer-based programs like the one I had led, and the new one I was forming, get the resources needed to grow in all high poverty neighborhoods of the Chicago region.  All of the ideas and information on my blogs and web sites, created since 1993, focus on that goal.

I signed up to take part in the summer 2017 Connected Learning #clmooc group activities, and added myself to their member map today. I first joined this group in 2013 and over the past four years I've developed some strong idea-sharing relationships with people from different parts of the country and the world as a result.

Village cMap
I’ve been trying for the past 20 years to build this type of learning community, connecting all of those who are concerned with the gap between rich and poor in America, the education system, workforce diversity, social justice, violence, public health, and a number of other reasons to be involved. Some people talk about the "village" it takes to raise kids. I write about it and try to bring members of the village together.

As I wrote above, I started leading a volunteer-based tutor/mentor program in 1975 (see history) while I held a full time job with the Montgomery Ward company. While our program grew to include over 300 pairs of youth and volunteers by 1990, funding was not an issue because all of the leaders were volunteers.

However, in 1990 when I converted this program to a 501-c-3 non profit and needed to raise money to pay salaries for myself and others to stay involved, the funding of non profits began to become a real issue. Over the years I’ve aggregated a wide range of personal frustration on the challenges small non profits face in finding consistent operating funds, and I’ve built a library of articles that show how others think on this topic.

I illustrate my thinking visually so let me show some maps that I think many of you will find interesting, and useful.

This is a map showing nearly 400 foundation (corporate and private) in the Chicago region and Eastern part of the United States who I put on my mailing list between 1993 and 2005.

Every year I send copies of my printed newsletters to these people, showing why tutor/mentor programs were needed and what I was doing as a direct service provider, and as leader of the intermediary Tutor/Mentor Connection.

The green icons on the map are foundations that funded my organization at least one time. Few funded me more than 2-3 years in a row. Some, like Montgomery Ward, funded me for seven consecutive years, then went out of business, and thus were not able to continue their support. None of the grants was larger than $50,000 and most were in the $1,000 to $10,000 per year range. Some were for general operating expenses, which I could use flexibly to build the organization, while many focused specifically on activities of the Cabrini Connections direct service program or the Tutor/Mentor Connection. In total I raised more than $6 million between 1993 and 2011, with a peak of $500,000 in 2000. This money split with 40% funding the Cabrini Connections direct service program, 40% the Tutor/Mentor Connection, and 20% funding operating and fundraising expenses. With no multi-year commitments, each year since about 1998 I started from zero in raising $300 to $400,000 from a wide range of donors.

This map shows a close up of the Chicago region so you can get a better sense of how many foundations I was reaching out to.

My organization never had more than 3 or 4 people on staff, and never had a full time professional development officer. I was CEO, chief innovator, chief marketing officer, newsletter writer, grant writer, janitor. Yet every year I was challenged to write letters of introduction, letters of inquiry, grant requests, grant reports, each with different requirements and different questions.

Yet we all were focused on helping expand the network of non-school hours support for inner city kids. By 1998 I was using web sites to show the work I was doing and what I was trying to do.

This map shows the Chicago LOOP area.

When I begin using maps I started following media stories about kids being killed in Chicago with maps showing where this was happening, and with links showing what tutor/mentor programs were operating in those areas, and what knowledge was available to community leaders, business and foundations, etc., so they would work to build programs that would provide more mentoring, tutoring and learning opportunities in more places.
In 2008 the T/MC created a Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator with maps that show where tutor/mentor programs are needed, and other maps showing banks, hospitals, universities and faith groups who are spread in different parts of the city, and who could be supporting the growth of programs in each of these areas.

I keep asking myself, "Why haven’t leaders in these foundations use my maps, or similar directories, to adopt neighborhoods, then adopt tutor/mentor programs in those neighborhoods and make long-term commitments to help each program become the best in the world by borrowing ideas from each other and using a constant flow of operating/innovation dollars and volunteer talent to implement these ideas?"   No good answers to that question.

Here’s an interactive version of the map of foundations. You can enlarge the map and zoom in and see the name and location of each. Some no longer exist since this list was last updated in 2005. 

With more than 200 youth serving organizations in Chicago offering various forms of tutoring, mentoring and non-school support, we can have 200 development officers and/or Executive Directors reaching through this list to find foundations who will give them funds each year, which is a tremendous redundancy.

Or we can build strategies that educate and motivate donors and business partners to reach out and build proactive support systems for tutor/mentor programs in neighborhoods that need such programs.

I'm no longer hosting the May and November Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conferences, due to lack of funding. However, these could be started again, or we could build an on-line conversation, similar to the CLMOOC community, if partners and sponsors stepped forward to help.

This and other articles show why I created the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993. I still lead it, through the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC because no one else has created a similar 4-part strategy with the same aim at supporting the growth of mentor-rich non-school learning programs in all of the high poverty areas of Chicago.

We can do both. We can do better.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

ESRI solution templates for local government

ESRI has created a set of map templates that local governments can use to tackle the Opioid Epidemic and other public health issues. They are shown on this page.

This same set of tools, or ones similar to it, could be used to identify existing non-school tutor/mentor programs in a geographic region and draw support to each of them. That's what Tutor/Mentor Connection has been trying to do with GIS maps since 1994. I've never had the talent and resources that companies like ESRI have to do this work.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Example of using maps to connect communities & reach more places

Since 2013 I've participated in several on-line events and some have used Google maps to show participant locations.  

I started creating maps to show participation in Tutor/Mentor Conferences in the mid 2000s.

Thus, I was pleased to find this interactive map on the Our Revolution political organizing web site.

You can zoom into the map, to the zip code level, and click on the icons to find out what group this represents and how to get connected.

I've posted articles about the #onthetable event hosted the past four years by the Chicago Community Trust and suggested that they create a map like this to show people hosting their informal meetings and another to show locations of participants, as part of an evaluation process and also as part of an organizing effort intended, as Our Revolution does, to keep people working with each other to understand and solve problems important to the Chicago region, or the nation.

If you've examples of maps being used this way feel free to post a link in the comment section.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

U.S. Census Bureau - Learn to Use Its Data

This is a screen shot from a page on the web site, which makes U.S. Census Bureau data easily available.

This was just one of many resources that I learned about during last night's Chicago City Data User Group (#CCDUG) meeting at the Microsoft headquarters in Chicago.

Other resources were shared by participants in the MeetUP, using the #CCDUG  hashtag. Browse this thread and you can find more links.

I posted to Twitter my own long-term vision of sharing map-based data with this type of sophistication.

A couple of other links that were shared are:

The Space Informatics Lab (SIL) at the University of Cincinnati - click here

Census Explorer - click here

Census Business Builder - Regional Analysis Version - click here

Census Business Builder - Small Business Addition - click here

Below is a pdf created in 2009 to show how to use the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator to create map stories. The program locator is now out of date and needs updating. Imagine what I could do if I had the talent and resources to apply some of the mapping tools shown above to the work I've been trying to do since 1993.

If you can imagine this, and you understand the need and opportunity, and you have either the talent or the dollars, why don't you reach out and offer your help?  This can apply to any city in the world, so you can be located in any city and work with me via Skype or other on-line tools.  Let's connect.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Building a "Fellowship" on the Web.

Last week I posted this article, with a TED talk presented by Steve Whitla, based in the UK.  Today Steve sent me a Tweet, pointing me to a thoughtful article he'd written, in response to my article. He focused on the three challenges I'd offered in my article, and expanded on them from his own perspective.

I  hope you'll take time to read it.

1)  Challenges of Making Maps - Steve recognizes a truth that I've understood for many years.  In the past I've had people question the value of the maps I've created, saying people in poor areas don't have access to the technology to view the maps. I said, "I know.  I'm trying to reach the people who don't live in poor areas who have the resources to make technology and access to my maps available to people in poor neighborhoods, and who will help me collect the data, build the maps, and train people to use them."  In Steve's article these would be the "Gentry" who supported map-making in the middle ages.

2) The Challenge of Motivating Growing Numbers of People to look at the maps.  I love the reference to Bilbo, from The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. I've read the series several times.  My graphic above draws from another fantasy series, the Wheel of Time books by Robert Jordan. In both books a small group of people band together to save the world.  In both books the 'hero' was a reluctant 'hero'.  I never sought the role I'm in. It grew on me over many years.   In Steve's article, he focuses on the 5% of people in an organization who might already be interested in an idea.  My efforts have focused on the same 5%, or even 1%, of people in the world who might be interested in the work I'm doing. That's like looking for a needle in the universe!  Yet, that's how I connected with Steve.

I created this concept map to show the different skills and networks I'm trying to bring into my fellowship.  I first used the Wheel of Time graphic in 2011, in this article.

3) The Role of Network Builder, Facilitator and Teacher.  In Steve's article he writes "If we're all looking a the same map, then we have a much more meaningful conversation."  That's what I think, too, but it takes us back to Challenge 1 and Challenge 2.

I've used this pyramid graphic often since the mid 1990s, such as in this article.  I've created a library of concept maps, that support the GIS maps. Steve's blog is full of visualizations.  If more people spend time trying to understand these, when we get together we are closer to a common frame of reference.

In my case, I feel that we all want kids to go safely through school and enter jobs and careers as contributing members of society. However, if someone is not doing the work at the bottom of the pyramid, of creating a map-based information system, it's hard to have a 'meaningful conversation' about actions each of us needs to take to make that support system available in all places where kids need extra help.

If people are not motivated to spend time looking at these articles, and our maps, our meetings lack the common understanding and frame of reference needed. Back to Challenge 2.

Final Challenge - Remaining Neutral - Steve added this since I did not mention it in my original article.  I think that if the data on the maps is accurate, anyone can use the map to develop strategies that support a common vision.  In articles on this blog I point to many data platforms, not just the interactive Tutor/Mentor Program Locator and maps the Tutor/Mentor Connection has created. Keeping the maps updated and accurate goes back to Challenge 1, which is finding the talent and resources to do this.

Another Challenge - Overcoming "Not Invented Here".  Over the 24 years that I've been doing this work, too many have started their own "fellowships", drawing support from political, business and civic leaders. Too few, like almost none, have reached out to say "What can I learn from your experiences? Or, "How can I help you?"   Here's one of several articles that focus on this challenge.

One more. It seems to me that Steve is writing about challenges within organizations, where there are many different power bases and hidden agendas. I'm writing about the challenge of mobilizing people from many different organizations and sectors of society - the village of people who need to take roles in raising kids and helping them move to productive adult lives.  They also have power bases and hidden agendas. They don't have the structure, and pay check, provided by corporations, which offer some motivation for people to work together.

That makes this even more difficult.

I can't express how pleased I was that Steve took time to read my original article and reflect on it on his blog. I've encouraged others to do the same, and created this concept map as a way to connect those people and their articles with each other.  I added a link to Steve's blog today.   In some ways, the people I point to are "companions" who I've been able to attract and connect in my own on-going efforts to have a positive impact on the world I live in.

I invite other readers to join us.