Background


Finding and connecting with local members and initiatives is a key feature of the DEAL Community Platform. However, current tools for doing so - such as searching for location names via the members directory - are limited and not as intuitive as they could be.

What is the essence of this proposal?


An interactive map of members (and community content) based in specific geographic locations. This might include features such as:

  • Show members who have added a location to their profile (opt-in)
  • Display member's profile picture with a link to their profile
  • Display stories and events based in specific locations
  • Combine items into "clusters” when zoomed out (see example here)
  • Enable filtering by keyword (if map is embedded, use existing search box if any)
  • Enable different layers (members, stories, upcoming events) to be toggled on or off (see example here)
  • Embed map on different pages with relevant layers toggled by default (e.g. only enable 'Events' on the events page at first) 
  • When embedded, respect active page filters and search terms if applicable
  • Buttons to zoom in and out (as well as support for scrolling)
  • Display local groups and networks (if we added this it would likely be in a second version, pending wider local groups exploration)

Here is a very preliminary mock-up of what some of these features might look like in action:


What are the potential benefits?


The DEAL Team has received a lot of feedback about members wanting to connect with others in their local area but being unable to do so easily on the platform. A map has been suggested several times as a more intuitive way of presenting this information.

Who would benefit from this?

 
A map would be useful for anyone looking to find and connect with members or initiatives in their local area. New users may find it particularly grounding and a useful entry point to the ever-growing number of members and content pieces on the platform.

Open Questions


    Brian Dowling

    Would it be possible to provide local groups the ability to make their own local maps for their specific purposes and include outside partner groups in the area?

    about 1 month ago
    Karn Bianco

    Possibly! But this seems like it would open additional strategic questions - e.g. What constitutes a partner? Do they also have to sign up to the Doughnut Principles of Practice? Etc.

    But it's something that could perhaps be explored as part of the broader local groups 'area of exploration' if it's something that lots of groups and networks would find useful?

    29 days ago
    Brian Dowling

    Another potential resource besides Network Weaver, https://networkweaver.com is SumAPP https://twitter.com/GreaterttSum/status/893488458689376261?s=20 Mapping Systems of Connection https://help.sum-app.net/portal/en/kb/articles/what-is-social-system-mapping with Christine Capra. Even though I am just beginning I know that they know each other. We are speaking of both mapping in the physical world on a geographical basis and mapping conceptually relationships between people and their stories. Another possible, though admittedly I have received some skepticism is PlaceKey https://www.placekey.io for connection to physical places and things for example those of a commons.

    about 1 month ago
    Karn Bianco

    Thanks for all these links - I'm sharing them with the team to feed into our broader delving into local groups. 👍

    (Also, seeing so many non-clickable links in one comment has highlighted how useful it might be to have a comment system that supports hyperlinks and basic formatting like bold, italic, etc. Another feature for the list, perhaps!)

    29 days ago
    Brian Dowling

    To the specific open questions, I do think that local groups and networks should be capable of being shown on the map if selected and the individuals within those networks or local groups should be displayed both within and independently as they choose. Also, think stories should be on the map, and when stories are told in a different format, it should lead to the place on the map and the people associated with that place. If people find inspiration, they can then see the place of context and connect with the people involved.

    about 1 month ago
    Karn Bianco

    Some sort of option to 'show this story on a map' to encourage exploration of other local initiatives and help connect with members is a great idea, thanks!

    29 days ago
    Roisin Markham

    I think this is really important for building local communities and action - lots of Irish people on the DEAL site but not all of them have connected to national or local actions. If we can build communities by connecting them when they first engage and become a member of DEAL that would be helpful.

    about 1 month ago
    Karn Bianco

    That's a great point, thank you! We could even automatically show this map to new members (who have added their location, and encourage them to add it if they haven't) to give them a taste of what is happening in their area.

    This would be particularly useful if we add local groups to the map, but even with what's already on the site (stories and events in particular places) it could be a really nice introduction to the community?

    29 days ago
    Nava Israel

    What a wonderful initiative! It would be great to create both local and content-driven groups and networks.

    about 1 month ago
    Karn Bianco

    That's a great point - teachers are a more content-driven group that immediately spring to mind. But perhaps a map is less intuitive for representing groups that aren't defined so clearly by place?

    about 1 month ago
    Bill Sams

    A good source of ideas on this subject is Network Weaver, https://networkweaver.com
    Network Weaving is a concept that has been around for over a decade in a realization that it is the social connections of a project that are key to its success or failure. They have an excellent handbook on the process and have created an international cadre of facilitators. June Holley, the founder who coined the term Network Weaver has just stepped aside from running the effort and is writing a book on the subject. I know June personally and am sure that she would be very willing to share insights and lessons learned. juneholley@gmail.com

    about 1 month ago
    Martin More

    not just located, because this is already possible
    more about where activities are going on (groups/networks/ single person who want to start) and which kind of activity and how to join (if possible); stories included, great!

    about 1 month ago
    Karn Bianco

    That's a great point. In terms of a 'single person who wants to start' something, are you thinking that an individual member could mark themselves in some way so that they appear on the map in a special way (colour, icon, etc.) that shows they are looking to start (or join?) something locally? Encouraging others to get in touch with them?

    about 1 month ago

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