Public Lab Research note

How useful is a map?

by clauds | December 17, 2016 02:31 17 Dec 02:31 | #13791 | #13791

As we finish preparing the map of Bourj Al Shamali refugee camp that we are producing from our balloon-mapping images, I have often wondered how useful a map is for the local community. I definitely think maps are useful and there are a lot of people in the camp behind the initiative, but I have wondered how much use will we give to the final map and if we can measure it. So in an attempt to "evaluate" our map, I have come up with the following indicators that we are going to try to measure.

Has anybody tried to do anything similar and tried to evaluate the usefulness of the balloon mapping images taken?

Any thoughts and feedback are very much appreciated!

Thank you, Claudia

Mapping Indicators for Balloon Mapping Project in Bourj Al Shamali

The purpose of the map is:

  1. To improve understanding of the space in the camp and increased awareness of potential areas of intervention/improvement. (both at programme-camp level and with partners).

  2. To support the development of the committee in the camp and its aims of working to improve services to the community.

  3. To building awareness of key issues in the camp, for advocacy purposes (at partners level)

To measure improved conditions: Two surveys to a select group of key stakeholders in camp. Survey will be undertaken before and after the final map is presented to the community. The aim is to measure relevance and effectiveness of a map as a tool for the community. - Before Survey: (i) Have you seen a map of Bourj Al Shamali camp before? (ii) Do you think having a map of camp is useful for you? (iii) If yes, how would this be useful? - After Survey: (i) Do you think having a map of the camp is useful for you/community? (ii) What for? (iii) Approximately, how many times have you referred to the map in the past 6 months? (iv) Has the allocation of resources in the community been affected by this?

To measure dialogues created: 1. Number of printed maps distributed inside the camp 2. Number of maps requested inside the camp 3. Number of people engaging in the political process before and after map (i.e. is it helping involve more people in the local committee and attracting different people).

To measure improved/increased visibility: 1. Number of printed maps distributed outside the camp 2. Number of maps requested outside the camp 3. If the map is placed online: number of downloads and document views.

To measure how many leads and opportunities are generated by map. (i.e. the view of content is not the goal, but rather what it leads to.) 1. Number of opportunities generated (and quality of opportunities) 2. Number of email subscriptions to


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