There is so much that can be accomplished today with one of the most fundamental tools for communities: the map. Data-driven storytelling with online maps provides a concrete and easily digestible tool to engage citizens in a manner they are familiar with. But what stories should your map tell? Which data should power it and which segment of the population will find value in your map?
The primary goal of data visualization is to communicate information clearly and effectively through graphical means. Due to recent technological advances in this realm, what might have once been considered boring or extremely sophisticated, can now be interesting and even beautiful. As experts in this field have pointed out, to convey ideas effectively, both esthetic form and functionality need to go hand in hand AND provide insight into complex data by communicating its key-aspects in a more intuitive way. Experts have suggested that an ideal visualization should not merely communicate clearly, but stimulate viewer engagement and attention - meaning it should enhance public engagement.
“Telling Stories with Maps,” a workshop to be facilitated by Noah Iliinsky at the upcoming Where 2012 conference, will explain the how-to of online mapmaking. Iliinsky, also the author of Designing Data Visualizations, consultant and teacher. Program organizers promise this hands-on workshop will provide tips to planners on identifying what story to tell, how to choose the right data, layout, and encodings. The basis behind this educational session is that if planners are able to make the map design process a concrete endeavor, they will be assured that their map is an effective tool conveying the appropriate message; therefore enhancing public participation and leading to real change.
According to Iliinsky, it is not necessary for planners to have prior graphic design knowledge or technology experience to begin telling stories with maps. While some sophisticated mapping tools can be used, and will likely be discussed, really, all you need to start with is pencil and paper. If attendees show up with knowledge of specific data and data types they work with and an idea of a story they’ve been eager to tell, this workshop will definitely be worthwhile.
The more the Internet has become part of our lives, the more it seems we recognize the human connection we have to actual places. For instance, there are the communicative values we assign to public places that we carve our memories onto and give us a sense of identity. Our particular place in this world is shaping so much of who we are.
When people gather,the place and its surroundings affect the quality of the experience and its outcomes. The power of place could be defined by the people who inhabit the "place", in their work and day-to-day lives. Until people gather together and discover one another they may not realize the commonality they share with others and the beliefs, values and intentions that bind them together. At EngagingCities, we have explored this topic of place making frequently, as we believe in its power to provide valuable public engagement opportunities.
Another Where 2012 workshop that should be on every planner’s must attend list is “Power of Place,” presented by Andrew Hogue and Akshay Patil, pros at foursquare. The duo will explain what the idea of place has come to mean today and how utilizing this strategy can benefit development projects. Armed with one of the most popular application programming interfaces (APIs), they will share how they do it at foursquare so that you can do it too. Those devoted to enhancing our “place” in this world such as should check out this workshop.
Our friends at Place Partners offer a great example of a firm utilizing location-based technology to encourage public participation. Another example, worth checking out, is Chicago’s, Project for Public Spaces (PPS). To learn more about the power of place, we encourage you to take a look back at some of EngagingCities most popular place making related archives:
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