Thursday, June 25, 2015

Mapping Event Participation as Part of Building Network

I've signed up to participate in the 2015 Connected Learning MOOC (#CLMOOC2015) and added myself to their participation map. You can zoom into this map to see who is participating from different parts of the world. I zoom into Chicago with the hope of seeing more than a few people on the map who might be taking advantage of this learning and networking opportunity.

Since 2013 I've been participating in MOOCs like this, and sharing the idea of mapping participation. The map at the left is from a Deeper Learning MOOC. It's on a different mapping platform than the #CLMOOC, but it works the same way. Zoom in to see who is participating. Again, too few people from the Chicago region.

I've been hosting Tutor/Mentor Conference in Chicago as part of an overall strategy aimed at bringing people together who would work to help mentor-rich non-school tutor/mentor programs become available in more of the high poverty neighborhoods of Chicago. I've created concept maps to show the range of talent needed to achieve the goals I've stated. In recent years I've used maps to show participation of past conferences. Click here to see these.

During Jan-April 2015 students participating in an Information Visualization MOOC hosted by Indiana University looked at participation for all T/MC conferences from 1994-2011 and began creating some participation maps. Click here to read the story and see the report produced by this team.

In the past couple of weeks I've participated in events that connect people from around the world, and throughout the US, via Twitter and live streaming video, and traditional face-to-face settings. These included the Global Cities Summit and the Independent Sectors Threads events. As I've participated in these events, now, and in past years, my first question is "Why aren't they mapping participation" using GIS maps and Social Network Analysis?

My second question is, "How could we influence more people to do this?" In many of these there is a lot of talk about collaboration, sharing ideas, and working together to solve problems. Yet, when I visit most web sites, the information they share is usually the information they produce. Few point to information of others, such as I do from Tutor/Mentor Connection and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web sites.

I created a new concept map today, pointing to organizations who are mapping data to show indicators of need. Creating a visual understanding of where poverty is most concentrated, or where water is most scarce, can help mobilize attention and focus more people on possible solutions. Instead of just pointing to your own maps, why not point to maps and data available on dozens of other platforms. That's what I do.

Drawing more users to these data sites, and teaching more people to create map stories that increase understanding and expand the number of people involved, should be a strategy of all of these different organizations. Using maps to show who is participating, how often they participate, and who is still absent from the conversation, could be part of a long-term coalition-building strategy intended to draw more of the talent and networks needed to raise funds, increase votes and build and sustain solutions in the different areas that maps highlight as areas of need.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Mapping Foreign Aid. Who Gives? Who Gets?

This map is from a data platform called, which is collecting and mapping data on foreign aid given by US and other countries. This article on provides an introduction.

This is an exciting use of data and mapping.

I'd like to see someone build a tool that offers the same features, but maps cities throughout the US and shows aid to poverty neighborhoods. Click on the Philanthropy tag and see some sites I've pointed to who are beginning to do work mapping donations in the US.

Visit the Tutor/Mentor Institute wiki section on uses of maps. If you're interested in supporting our own goals, let's connect.