Using online tools to map/serve/render visible offline communities

Offline happenings - you know, life - leave a massive digital footprint. Opening up this information could be useful for all of us. Feeling part of your local area and knowing what happens there is really good for your  wellbeing and health. Often, people would like to be more involved locally, but find it hard to find out what is going on in their area.

Various projects have tried to find the best ways of compiling information about local community groups and activities, but none are truly able to provide a full and up-to-date picture. One way of doing this is speaking to the people involved, directly. This can be a very good way of doing this, because when you ask people to tell you what is great about their local area, you collect information that is rich in context and meaning, and that paints a vibrant picture of the areas they live in. However, approaches that rely on speaking to people can be expensive, and the information they collect is soon out of date.

Other ways of collecting information about local areas involve online or automatable ways of finding out this information. However, doing automatised research online, often means that researchers are unsure about the real meaning of the data that they are collecting: is someone tweeting about a local yoga group because they love it, or because they hate it? Further, solely relying on online data means that we run the risk of missing out on the lived experiences of those people who are not online, or who do not share much information about their lives online.

This session is to pool our knowledge of what has worked and what has not worked, internationally, and to scope out the possibility of building something that does.


Date: 2014-10-25 10:30:00 - 2014-10-25 10:30:00, Europe/Brussels Time.


Ushahidi - might be interesting to consider in this discussion

Real time mapping

two videos one short, one long–

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Or Crowdmap. Or Resource Map.

Crowdmap is a gratis web service based on the open source Ushahidi platform that Maria recommends above. Another alternative is the InSTEDD Resource Map, a free and open source application to map and dispatch local resources, developed initially for crisis mapping – see also.