45 votesLouise Francis supported this idea ·Louise Francis commented
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.