Online Mapping

Community mapping participation techniques use pre-prepared and self-created maps of a local area to stimulate discussion and to identify good aspects and aspects in need of change in a local area. With the rise of interactive online mapping tools such as Google Maps, and 3D mapping tools like Google Earth, it has become possible to hold use interactive maps as part of a consultation process.

Using the 'My Maps' option at anyone can create and share a customised map of their local area, indicating points of interest. These maps can then be browsed in 3D using Google Earth.

This offers a world of possibilities for consultation and participation projects with young people exploring issues in their local areas.

Getting Started  

There are many different online mapping tools available. Below are details of a few free options along with downloadable guides to help you get started using them.

Google Maps has a 'My Maps' feature that allows you to create collaborative online maps, adding annotations, photos and embedded videos the the map, as well as marking out areas and features with drawing tools. You can easily share your created maps with others, or view them on Google Earth in 3D.

This briefing sheet available for download (PDF) introduces the My Maps feature of Google Maps

Google Earth is a free programme you can install on your computer. It allows you to navigate around an interactive 3D globe. You can also add your own annotations to the globe.

This briefing sheet for download (PDF) introduces Google Earth and how you can add your own annotations.

Flickr is a photo-sharing website which allows you to plot your photos on an interactive map.

This briefing sheet for download (PDF) outlines how to get started with Flickr, and includes details on using Flickr geo-tagging as part of a photo-mapping project.

FixMyStreet is a tool for reporting problems such as broken street lighting, abandoned vehicles and other similar issues to your local authority using an online map. It also allows you to track whether the local authority have fixed the problems you told them about.

Participation Works is a partnership of…
British Youth CouncilChildren's Rights Alliance for EnglandKIDSNational Council for Voluntary Youth ServicesNational Youth AgencyNCB