Thursday, February 06, 2014
Building map stories like this required the aid of a skilled map maker, along with a computer, software, etc. I've never had the money to have such people working with us consistently, although in the Map Gallery you can see maps made between 2008 and 2011 because of funding for a part time Map Maker that had become available. At this link you can see a couple other maps made between 1996 and 2000 by part time staff and volunteers. I have quite a large archive of these.
However, making the map was just the first step. We also needed to find a way to get the map into the newspapers, or in front of potential volunteers and donors and tutor/mentor program leaders in different neighborhoods. We did not have much money for that, but did include maps in a printed Directory that we mailed to about 400 locations once each year.
In 2008-09 I was able to build an on-line, interactive version of the Directory, which anyone could use to make their own map stories. If you browse past articles I've written you'll find many examples. If you read this article you'll see instructions for making a map. This shows how students could make maps that can be used to follow negative news stories.
I think maps are a powerful visual tool that can be used to point people and resources to all of the places in a city or country where a problem persists. This map from the Program Locator shows all of the banks now included.
Zoom into any section of the city and you can create a map view including banks, faith groups, hospitals, etc. who all share the same geography and who should be working together to solve a problem, because of their own investment in the neighborhood.. Students in local high schools or non-school programs could be creating map stories like this and using them to mobilize adult support for extended learning, internships, jobs, etc. Volunteers in faith groups and businesses could do the same. Anyone can create a map and tell a story. They can also show assets in a map-area. They can even create maps of political districts and use them to evaluate the effectiveness of any elected official.
However, there is a cost to doing this work and since 2011 I've not had a non profit structure to raise money via grants and charity donations and I've not been able to build a business plan that would show potential investors a return-on investment that would attract needed capital. Thus, I'm dependent on volunteers to help. There is much work still to be done to update all the sections of the Program Locator, keep it working every day, and teach people to use the maps in their own planning and leadership.
If you feel this map strategy has value and you want to help, you can send financial support at this page. Or you can introduce yourself to me on Twitter, Linked in and/or Facebook and we can talk of ways we might work together.