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Check out our Google map of 70+ California projects!

NCDD and the New America Foundation’s California Civic Innovation Project (CCIP) worked together this summer to create an interactive map of exciting public engagement projects in California.  In just a short 3-week time period, movers-and-shakers in dialogue, deliberation and public engagement shared with us details about over 70 local, regional, and state-wide programs happening throughout California.

Check it out at www.ncdd.org/community/ca-map.

Click around the map to learn more about the projects and the people behind them — and feel free to contact folks you’d like to connect with.

CCIP director Alissa Black made this project possible, and we plan to update this map every few months with Alissa’s help and your involvement. We’d like this to be an ever-growing resource that gives people a sense of (and access to) the amazing work being done to engage citizens and stakeholders in public issues throughout California. So if you missed our deadline this time around, you can still complete the survey and be added to the next iteration of the map.

This project is also a test for NCDD to see what we can generate from a mapping process like this — using free online tools and depending on data provided by our amazing members, and how we might want to duplicate this effort in other locations across the country. Our community members have told us they’d like easier ways to connect with others in their region, clearer ways to see who’s working on projects on what topics, and better ways to demonstrate our collective efforts to policymakers, funders, and others.

What do you think about this project, and the map itself? Do you find it useful? Interesting? Fun? Do you think we should create maps like this for other regions and, if so, how would you want the data collected/shared to be different for your region? Would a national map be useful? Please let us know what you think and help us move forward!

Sandy Heierbacher is the director of the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD). She co-founded NCDD in 2002 with her husband Andy Fluke. Sandy has an M.A. in International Management from SIT Graduate Institute. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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  1. From John Inman:

    This is very cool. It would be great to have a national map of projects posted at the conference with a link to this work. Wouldn’t it be cool to find a project to support that way. I love the detail behind each pin. Nice work. John

  2. From Juli Fellows:

    You might imagine that I would like it because it’s so visual – and I DO!! Really cool to see what’s happening in such a user-friendly way. What I think are particularly useful are the links after the brief descriptions. My only constructive suggestion is that the descriptions are so dense, they’re a little hard to read. A line break before and after the description would make it a little easier on the eyes. (At least my 61-year old eyes!)

    It would have been awesome to have had something like this for our Regional meeting, for our showcased projects. I’d love to know what tools you used to create it.

    • Good point, Juli! I’m not sure google maps gives you many options in terms of spacing, but that’s something to check on. Definitely one of the challenges was that we wanted to collect meaningful info about projects, contact info, organizations, etc. — but the pop-up box on the map for each project got so long and is visually a bit too much. We had word limits and length guidance (like “one brief sentence”) on the survey, but people tended to ignore those instructions and paste a lot of text in the boxes. We did a lot of editing down, but probably not enough.

    • In terms of technology, we used all free Google tools for this. We used a google survey (http://bit.ly/NCDD_CA) to gather the info into a table, and then Alissa used Google fusiontables in order to geolocate the data and then create a Google map with the data. I wanted to learn much more about the ins-and-outs of this process myself, but I was so swamped with other work that I mostly focused on getting people to fill out the survey. So though the technology is free, it’s not a simple process that anyone can do; there’s a bit of a learning curve.

  3. Some feedback from the NCDD Facebook group…

    Aimee Samara Krouskop:
    Great idea! yes; lets do the pacific northwest next. Let me know how I can be of assistance.

    Gretchen Reinhardt:
    I think this is exciting. I would love to hear more about the use of mapping technologies in public planning and conflict contexts. There are so many interesting things that can now be done with GIS and different data sets. I would love to hear from anyone that has used the new ArcGIS online (for organizations), and how they have used it. I for one would love to see a map done for Arizona. :o) Let me know if I can help.

    Also from Gretchen:
    Another person to consult is Marc Armstrong, PhD http://www.uiowa.edu/~geog/faculty/armstrong/index.shtml

    Colin Gallagher:
    Great idea, though I think Pete Peterson of (( formerly Common Sense California, now at http://publicpolicy.pepperdine.edu/davenport-institute/ )) has an excellent system of mapping seperated out by city, county, state, and project type, consult Pete!

  4. Cheryl Honey says:

    Amazing. Maybe we can train Community Weavers how to map the engagement activities in their communities. Just a thought.

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