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 Kumu.io 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.