Mapping involves visually representing community characteristics and resources in relation to geographical features and physical space, connecting to community values, histories, assets, and lived experiences.

Problems and Purpose

Mapping involves the visual representation of a personal or community characteristics in relation to geographical features. The exercise allows for the visual representation of the connection between location and personal details such as individual or community values, history, and goals.

Mapping exercises include but are not limited to: Community Relationship Mapping, Personal Meaning Mapping, Community Asset Mapping, Data Mapping, Web Mapping, and Mind Mapping. 

Mapping is a tool that allows community members to visually represent various features such as their values, histories, lived experiences, assets, wants/needs, and relationships. Mapping is often used in participatory planning as a way to get residents to think about what aspects of their community they value and how these can be preserved or strengthened. Mapping is commonly used as a storytelling device since location and geography are essential components of personal history and lived experience. According to John Melcher et al. of Michigan State University: community mapping can be a "dramatic way to establish a common knowledge base among a group of diverse persons concerned with improving or changing outcomes for communities and their residents."[1]

Origins and Development

How it Works

Analysis and Lessons Learned

See Also



Queering the Map 

Grassroots Jerusalem's Mapping and Storytelling Project 



External Links

Community Mapping:

Community Asset Mapping:

Mind Mapping:

Data Mapping Examples:

Web Mapping:

University of Victoria Community Mapping Initiative:

An Introduction to Concept Mapping as a Participatory Public Health Research Method 

Participatory Mapping: An innovative sociological method 

Asset Mapping as a Research Tool for Community-Based Participatory Research in Social Work