Mapping IGES Research Activities: Creating a visual, web-based map of where IGES is conducting its research activities around the globe

no. 3
Working Paper

During FY2013, PMO Knowledge Management undertook a study and pilot work to consider options for creating a visual map of where IGES is conducting its research activities which could serve as both an interactive outreach mechanism and an internal knowledge tool. This idea was also discussed with the Network and Outreach team who felt that this would be a valuable addition to IGES’s website. It was also discussed that if such a map was loaded on a touch screen computer during events like ISAP this would allow participants to explore IGES activities and could be an engaging and interactive outreach mechanism.

In Section 1, the maps used by two other peer-organisations to IGES are reviewed and considered. In section 2, two different pilot options for IGES map are presented. The first map presents project-level information related to each country where those projects are occurring. The challenge of this map is the initial requirements for project-level data reporting. The second map utilises the publication database to present the resources IGES has for each country. This map provides an easier option for initial creation, but it may also be limited in the level of interactiveness it creates.

In section 3, several questions are raised for consideration to help define which option for future development may be most preferable to IGES. Four options are presented in total, each proposing an increasing level of data reporting, development, and management time for creating such a map. Option 1-3 present ideas of what the map could contain, while option 4 is for creating an automatic system for generating the map (which could apply to any of options 1 to 3). However, option 3 is much more complicated in regards to its data reporting and uploading requirements, thus option 3 would probably only be feasible if an automated mapping system (described in option 4) was to be pursued.
1. Map of Country Resources – web-based map that links to publication list per country. Pro: quick development time, can use free mapping software. Con: not the most interactive style map.
2. Map with PR Statement per Country (and country resources) – a short PR statement would be prepared for each country which would be in a pop-text box when a country is clicked on. Text could also include links to some research projects, and additionally the link to the publication list per country. Pro: increases interactive style of map (over previous option), can still use free mapping software and development time remains relatively short (although PR statements would need to be prepared on probably an annual basis). Con: the PR statements would need to be manually updated every year.
3. Map of Projects per Country – this map would show project-level information linked to each country in which the project is involved. Pro: shows a large amount of information and a clear record of what and where IGES is working, Con: the required data reporting for this type of map currently does not exist at IGES, the map could also become rather crowded/chaotic per countries where many projects are taking place, and the regularly upkeep and management of this map would be very time consuming if it remained on a free system that required manually updating.
4. Development of an Automated Mapping system: This option is to contract a developer to create an automatic system (within EnviroScope) for creating this type of map from regularly reported data.
Pro: ensures the longevity of the mapping system and that it is routinely updated, Con: initial expense and standardisation of data reporting system.