Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Using data maps to tell stories

This is a screen shot showing an Opportunity Youth map on Policy Link's National Equity Atlas data platform.  I have been listening to webinars for the past year, in which Policy Link shows features on its site and explains how to make your own map.  The archive of today's webinar is here and slides are here

While this map view shows the entire United States, the next image shows a close up view of Phoenix.  The Equity Atlas has data for the 150 largest cities, so a similar map could be created for Chicago, Dallas, NYC, Detroit, etc.

As I watched the webinar my primary concern was "Where is the talent in a city who can create map stories out of this data?" I'd add, "Is there a marketing/PR team, focused on creating on-going map stories that reach people with enough frequency that they begin to respond to what the maps are showing.

Shortly after watching the PolicyLink webinar, I came across this message in my Twitter feed:

The graphic at the left is just one page out of many in this presentation, that helps people in this suburban community better understand a problem that only has a direct affect on a a small percent of the population, but has an indirect impact on the entire community.

I present these two different uses of maps to illustrate the type of data that is available to leaders and community advocates in Chicago and other places, as well as the ways data can be turned into stories.

If you browse past articles on this blog, and the Tutor/Mentor blog, you'll see that I have been creating maps for nearly 20 years, with the goal that people use them to fill poverty neighborhoods of Chicago with high quality, non-school tutoring, mentoring and learning programs, along with other supports, that enable more kids living in these areas to move safely through school and into jobs and adult roles.

I created this concept map to point to many other data mapping platforms that can be used to create story maps. Here's the link.

For this to happen, many people need to be creating story maps, and many others need to be sharing them regularly.  That will require leadership from business, universities, foundations and political leaders.

If I can help you think this through, lets connect.

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