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Design Research

Locality mapping

Locality Mapping :

Locality mapping is serving as a tool to give a visual representation of information in relation to a geographical context. Usually, it is based on the perception of stakeholders in relation to a certain issue. This can be in relation to sanitation and water related problems, but also in relation to people’s experience of city’s nightlife, attractions, tourists and much more.

By asking locals or stakeholders who know the area well about their experiences with certain places in that area, and asking them to mark those places on the map, the researcher receives an insight into stories or experiences, as well as the locations where it took place, which might have been difficult to collect with different tools.

How to use this tool

First, you should find out what questions you would like to ask the participants of the research and find a location where the target group is well-presented, in order to make sure that you have enough participants. An example of an interesting question for locality mapping is: Could you mark a place on the map where you had a bad experience and why was it a bad experience? After defining your questions and finding a location where you want to put up the map, you should find a map that is up to date and representative for the city you want to do research upon. Also, you should buy the materials that are needed in order to mark the places on the map.

Secondly, the map should be put up at the location of your choice, and you can start to ask people your questions and to mark the places that appear in their answers.

Finally, after collecting the information, you can clearly see, whether there are places in the city (or tourist destination, theme park, shopping centre etc.) many people shared their experience about. However, also places that weren’t mentioned that often, but that had interesting experiences or stories, will be relevant for your research.

  • IFAD (Editor) (2009): Good Practices in Participatory Mapping. Rome: International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). 

    This report explores the power of participatory mapping. Covering a range of techniques, intermediaries, tools and impacts, it is shown how a systematic approach could contribute to addressing conflict-related issues and improving community ownership in sustainable environmental and natural resource management.

  • NOOA (Editor) (2009): Stakeholder Engagement Strategies for Participatory Mapping. Charlston: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 

    This publication provides some simple strategies for facilitators leading a participatory mapping process. While there are many aspects of participatory mapping, the document focuses primarily on stakeholder involvement.