I suggest we ...

Create local maps of existing activity

Simple, Our Society already exists! We aren't building something new. Voluntary and community groups, CVS', CABx, Volunter Centres, Community Development Workers and more have been building Our Society for decades. Bring together and work with exisitng local support providers to map what activity and coverage already exisits in a geographical area.

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  • Louise Francis commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    We (http://www.mappingforchange.org.uk) have been working in the area of mapping, public participation and Geographical Information Systems ( GIS) for over 10 years. We have done much of the hard work involved in developing the necessary tools that are accessible and user-friendly to support the kind of needs expressed in some of these posts.

    Mapping is a powerful way to engage local communities as well as visually represent their information, helping to draw new links and ideas. An on-line map and directory provides an effective alternative to the static directories of old and offers a new way to highlight local facilities and resources. The ability to access an interactive map that provides information on anything from health services to education, support organisations to transport, provides a way in which people interested in their community can find out what is going on and those operating within the community can promote their services and activities is very valuable.

    Furthermore, mapping provides a mechanism to communicate community-gathered (‘local’) information to highlight social and environmental issues and priorities.

    We have developed a web based mapping platform based on the Google Maps Application Programmers Interface as well as a process of engagement which enables communities and organisations to visually represent their information, helping to gather and exchange knowledge, create an evidence base for local needs and provide evidence on the local impact of a range of interventions.

    As a social enterprise we work with communities, third sector organisations and the public sector to map out what's really happening at the local level. We already have a number of Community Maps (see: http://www.communitymaps.org.uk) with a variety of different focuses. We would be happy to discuss/collaborate/assist anyone interested in using our Community Maps platform to highlight and bring together existing local support providers, projects, groups and activities.


  • Chris Church commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    There are many local mapping processes. Mapping for Change (ours) has been going as a social enterprise for three years and we'd like to think that we've got useful experience not just on the technology and use of GI, but more critically on participation and how users generate and use data and manage the maps. see www.mappingforchange.org.uk and www.communitymaps.org.uk

  • Jeff Mowatt commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    @AnneMarie, I've got a featured project on ThePlaceStation but many report difficulties in logging on to support. They may not be arriving from Facebook


    Associated with this is a hyperlocal site focussed on community development:


    There's a site where hyperlocal community sites are listed but having submitted two, after several weeks they are still not visible and I suspect the site is defunct..


  • ClareWhite commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    We use Google Maps to build up a free map of health, education and social opportunities in North Staffordshire. The map is here icanhaz.com/openlearningstaffs and we've developed some resources about how to create one here http://www.westmidlands.wea.org.uk/building-community-map

    Thought this was worth adding as it is a free platform - the big consideration is time for someone to find and add all the points, this is done by a volunteer at our office without whom it would be impossible.

    We've had great feedback on the map and it has had high use as we've found that very few people, including within the council, have easy access to this sort of information.

  • caseymorrison commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Hi all. i'm trying to do a quick and dirty GIS map snapshot of VCS activity in york (with help from the city council) mostly by using awards for all grant recipients and the charity commission website. We can do a similar thing with volunteers through the volunteer centre and then make this publically available. Not only would it help identifying gaps with voluntary activity, but would help people have a way into voluntary activity in their localities. I'll read the various blog posts, but anyone done this? got any tips? @yorkcvs

  • watfordgap commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I so often hear from our network of CVS' comments about "why are they doing that" or "didn't they know we ran a service like that".

    What I envisage here is a some form of local reference point or service that has already mapped locality activity and service provision.
    Informed choices can then be made by both residents and providers about locating access to the service or viability of setting up something similar.

    Noel - that is so true, many networks and providers are hidden, this could be because they are comfortable with their audience ... but could mean are not taking advantage of marketing themselves - maybe through use of social media.

    Annemarie - also interested in what Your Sq Mile will bring, if there is going to be a community mapping excersize for every "square mile" then we absolutely don't want to duplicate (would make this post a little daft!)

    Patrick - totally! If we all know what the local conversation in Doncaster, Dudley or Dunster are then there is more chance of not duplicating effort

    We aren't starting from scratch, I know many CVS' have a good handle on their local community networks and Community Development Workers at a more local level too. I know the work of the Total Place Pilots and the establishment of LSPs join up some of the plans and networks. This needs to be built upon.

    A subtitle to this post probably should be "trust other community organisations!", for our society to work well when funding is decreasing we need to be prepared to know who else is out there, share ideas and resources .. ultimately the beneficaries are communities not us who support them.

  • AdminDavid Wilcox (Social reporter, Oursociety) commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Thanks all - Jonny Zander has some fascinating ideas on mapping networks over here http://oursociety.org.uk/forum/topics/network-theory-and-the - see the piece he references.
    I've blogged a piece on the opportunities offered by the NESTA neighbourhoods programmes, and community organisers - http://socialreporter.com/?p=1234
    Should we create a networks and mapping group on the main site? What would work best for you enthusiasts:-)

  • Annemarie commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Happy to help via @theplacestation - if welcome - but also wonder what One Square Mile and Neighbourhood Challenge websites will herald...presume others agree that it's important we try and gather data (somehow?) consistently in order to build/consolidate the case for community-led action?

  • patrickdaniels commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This would be brilliant - would be great to combine with Steve Bridger's "humungous aggregator" and Andy Gibson's idea to pull together Big Soc conversations.

  • noel commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Community mapping is a good way to bring people together to better understand their community (inc and perhaps especially the hidden stories, groups and assets). Look forward to the mapping Toby, community resilience is critical

  • tobyb commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    we're working on something not dissimilar to this - mapping social sector activity which contributes to community resilience. Starting work with CLES on this (who have been doing work with LAs on assessiing resilience).
    Mapping is methodologically challenging...but we'll see what we can learn from having a bash!

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