I felt humbled at how normal people are joining together through communities in maps, online and offline, to make a difference to the world around us.
It was great to see this in action when I looked further into some of the community activities, as part of my role as community growth manager. I started noticing a clear logic to the most engaging maps. This gave me an idea to note down the best practices of starting a map and engaging communities. I know it’ll be useful for me working with communities, but it might be useful for you, if you’re thinking about a map of your own.
Inspirational Mapotic Communities
Let’s start with first example. The toilet navigator ‘WC Kompas’ which was created by Pacienti IBD, a Czech organisation who help people with Crohn’s disease and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to enable all community members and visitors find available toilets nearby.
Pacienti IBD are a non profit organisation who hold seminars, conferences and support IBD world day to help patients and raise awareness.
The map and its convenience has proven very popular and even branched out to help pregnant women and people who tend to plan ahead and want to find the nearest toilets whilst travelling.
WC Kompas used Categories in its map in a very specific way – people can use filters to easily search toilets nearby by type of place, such as a public WC, restaurants, offices, and even police stations (which joined WC Kompas’ honorable cause, opening up their doors to those in need – achieved as part of the broader community outreach). This categorization is very useful when community has over 1700 places to sort through.
Making very good use of the Attributes, WC Kompas enables users to see what’s available to them at each place. The attributes create advanced filters allowing users detailed cross category search.
Some of the attributes WC Kompas uses which offer an extra layer of information to its community are the addresses of the places, if a special card can be used for entrance and additional information if venue is free of charge or if it’s wheelchair accessible.
Even More Conversations and Engagement
WC Kompas has an amazing 1702 places so far. Some of these also have comments from users, where visitors are able to share their own experiences with others. With the Mapotic platform focus on knowledge sharing and exchange, this is empowering the community to find the most recent information about each place in the map feed section.
WC Kompas provides open data which is available to any map owner. See the Json link to download.
Data is available in JSON format and can be found at URL: www.wckompas.com/opendata.json.
What are Open Data or Open Data Structure?
Open data is free structured information freely available on the Internet. More information can be found on the following link.
Zero Going to Waste
Another map trying to help people by protecting the environment is Zero Waste Europe. The aim of this map is to pin all zero waste shops and places supporting this lifestyle across Europe, so a person who tries to live a zero waste life has all the places ready when he or she travels or moves.
One can find not only supermarkets and shops which sell goods in bulk but also places like cafes, farmer’s markets or farmers providing veggie boxes with seasonal vegetables and fruits. Zero Waste Europe encourages the community to add their own favorite sustainable places.
This map also used many categories for filtering to help the community find the exact places they need, ranging from bulk shops, to eco shops, supermarkets, foodstals, bakeries, farmer’s markets and even restaurants. Adding to the attention for detail, they were able to find the perfect icons within Mapotic library selections to represent these categories.
Organising Content Using Attributes
The attributes used for this map are tailored to each place and category: to clearly show what is supplied and how it’s supplied. Some of the attributes created for easier browsing are name of the place, of course, but also the address, the product types available, ranging from seeds, fruits and veggies to cosmetics, and even information on containers available or bring your own.
There are many other ways that you can use attributes to filter your content.
This attribute (section) is for a single line of text.
Attribute Multiple Select
Works much like the “Select Attribute”, but you can choose from multiple options.
Attribute Multiple Select
Works much like the “Select Attribute”, but you can choose from multiple options
This attribute creates a text field for the input of a single-line text in the entry field.
Attribute Long Text
This is a multi-line text. This is for those times when you need a larger description or text.
This section is for numerical entries.
You can also add YouTube videos to maps here.
Name, Icon, and Attribute Value
It’s important to correctly select the icon and name of the attribute.
For more information regarding Attributes – describing each choice and process in depth – see How to use Attributes.
As you can see, a map doesn’t have to be complicated or have too much information, only the facts which these communities require to search or find places. With some thought to the correct categories and attributes the right place is easier to find.
If you’re seeking further inspiration to start your own map, check out Mapotic’s map gallery full of wonderful maps sharing knowledge. If you’re just getting started on your map and would like some extra support in setting things up, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.