A Story Map was recently created to capture most of the ideas expressed in this post.
Maps Provide Context and Connection
For over a century, Cooperative Extension has relied on face-to-face, on-the-ground approaches for engaging clients and partners, often relying on stories and pictures to share information and get feedback from our stakeholders. Maps have been a key part of many in-person Extension events throughout the years, serving as a starting point for discussions, a way to share local knowledge, and providing spatial information to inform decisions on a range of issues.
Online Maps are Powerful Communication Tools
Online mapping offers the promise of a spatially relevant, interactive method for connecting to and with our audiences in ways not possible a few short years ago. It can allow Extension to continue place-based connection in a world where our traditional audiences, and new potential audiences, are increasingly looking for information online. It can serve as a platform to share relevant information, tell stories of our impacts, and provide people with the ability to explore issues that directly affect their lives. It can enable us to connect with our stakeholders before, during and after events (or, even if they don’t attend).
The effective use of online mapping can be helpful across all levels and in all areas of Cooperative Extension. Many in Cooperative Extension are already using online mapping in their work, but many more are either not using it at all, or not using it to it’s fullest potential. Everyone throughout Cooperative Extension should be able to use spatial data and technology to promote their programs, engage stakeholders, and to make informed decisions.
Learn to Tell Your Story With Online Maps
In the coming months, we are conducting a series of four professional development webinars on how Cooperative Extension can use online maps to connect with their audience. Be sure to join us (or watch the recordings) to explore the ways in which online maps can be used in your work.
Using online maps to engage your audience – January 19, 2016
Making maps shine with ArcGIS Online – February 4, 2016
Share your story with maps – March 2, 2016
Create a photo-based map in a snap! – March 7, 2016
Keep Connected to Mapping
Image 1 – Map created by Shane Bradt, UNH Cooperative Extension using GRANITView II. Creative Commons license, attribution only.
Image 2 – Map created by Shane Bradt, UNH Cooperative Extension using ArcGIS Online. Creative Commons license, attribution only.
Image 3 – Map created by Shane Bradt, UNH Cooperative Extension using ArcGIS Online. Creative Commons license, attribution only.
Originally posted December 16, 2015 at the eXtension.org blog.