Sunday 8 September 2019

"I searched it my way"

Local Community Engagement 1234 & 5

[Update: Part 6 adds our own Wikipedia Gazetteer as we build up the local landscape]

Let's look now at community engagement's key differentiator: Search for local info your way, not the search engines'.

While they provide a real service to all of us, search engines in particular and the internet in general have become a Faustian deal well written up elsewhere - in a nutshell, share your information in exchange for the web using theirs to help you find something new - and nowhere was it more evident in the mapping world, where for example Strava inadvertently created a monumental faux-pas. Search bias also shows it cuts both ways:
A biased view of the Internet is exactly what search users are seeking. By performing a search, the user is seeking what that search engine perceives as the "best" result to their query. Enforced search neutrality would, essentially, remove this bias.

While net neutrality is debated elsewhere, community engagement seeks it from a localized perspective:
  • use open data
  • process it transparently
  • publish it on an open platform
  • seek user input through public forums
  • using publicly available processes

And the stakes have never been higher: no matter your views on climate change / breakdown / emergency, something must be done to mitigate the increasing pollution and extreme weather that is already affecting low-lying tropical areas, hurricane-prone geographies or the Arctic ice sheets. These issues are very well written up elsewhere, but this blog-post describes my take on the latter subject.

Our community engagement plan will echo Dr. Philip Bubb (pers. comm.):
How about a deliberative planning of necessary and desired ecosystem functioning of our environment? 

And there is a lot of help already:
  1. GIS helps you "see what others can't" by putting data and tools at your disposal

  2. We also use Story Maps to weave maps and narrative into a compelling medium

  3. Click here for Story Map

  4. Finally we plan to reach out to communities to ensure a positive feedback loop

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