Sunday, 8 September 2019

Local community engagement, Part 4

Part 1 introduced this project to engage local residents in villages north of Cambridge UK. Part 2 elaborated on some resources available and communication via Story Maps. Part 3 looked at three more resources, introduced an open call and closed with an Elevator Pitch.

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


1 comment:

  1. This lines up perfectly with "environment as the host" in your Part 3 elevator pitch and reminds me of the missing something. I'm emailing Viv Alexander today about bringing Wikipedia into the frame for each of the 268 civil parishes in Cambridgeshire. Wikispecies ought also to be on the agenda.

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