The advantages of collaborative mapping
Collaborative mapping provides a way to crowdsource Profile data to produce sophisticated maps and directories.
Instead of relying on centralised datasets which quickly go out of date, Murmurations leverages the collective effort of multiple mappers to help you produce customisable maps and directories from decentralised, interoperable Profiles.
Murmurations solves the problems of centralised maps and directories, managed by a single entity or person by:
- Distributing the effort of data collection
- Making data interoperable so it can power multiple maps and directories
- Providing a ‘last updated’ timestamp to show the age of every profile
- Distributing the effort of keeping data up to date
- Enabling Profile changes to be reflected on multiple maps and directories
- Improving data quality, reliability and usability
Below are some user stories explaining how Murmurations supports collaborative mapping:
I want build a map of X (e.g. Vegan shops) in my area
Murmurations provides a simple way to build customised maps and directories, with the added advantage that you can draw from, and add to, a large body of collaborative mapping data, so you don’t need to start from scratch and your mapping efforts will contribute to a growing body of open, interoperable data.
Suppose you want to create a map of ‘Vegan shops in Berlin’ to show on your website. Here’s how to do that using Murmurations:
- Search the Map by tags to see what data already exists. NB: To see all the available data for a specific Tag remove the ‘schema=organizations_schema-v1.0.0’ part of the URL e.g. https://map.murmurations.network/?tags=vegan
- Adjust the search URL using the URL Parameters until the map shows the area and data you want e.g. this URL centers on Berlin and shows only profiles with the ‘vegan’ tag: https://map.murmurations.network/?tags=vegan&zoom=11&lat=52.5200&lon=13.4050&hide_search=true
- Copy the URL for the search and paste it into a iframe e.g. <iframe src=”https://map.murmurations.network/?tags=vegan&zoom=11&lat=52.5200&lon=13.4050&hide_search=true“></iframe>
- Then add additional nodes to your map by creating new Profiles using the WordPress Node Plugin or the Murmurations Profile Generator
- The new Profiles you create will show up on your embedded map straight away
See other examples of custom embedded maps.
I want to show a map of our networks Members
Building, curating and keeping a network map up to date takes time and asking people to submit their data to centralised data silos isn’t great because once the data is collected (which takes ages) it’s hard to share elsewhere, goes out of date quickly, needs constantly updating, and people struggle to find the time to update multiple profiles on multiple platforms and sites… Plus, if you add data on behalf of your members it can be hard for them to edit when their data changes.
Murmurations provides solutions to these problems by enabling people to host their Profile data for multiple maps and directories on their own websites, thereby making it more likely they keep their information up to date. This distributed setup makes the data available to other networks and maps, and distributes the effort of maintaining a large dataset by leveraging the power of collaborative mapping.
You can use Murmurations in a few different ways to create a network map:
Option 1: Create an embedded map
- Pick a descriptive Tag for your network e.g. ‘Global EcoVillage Network’
- Ask your Members to create Profiles including the ‘Global EcoVillage Network’ tag by using the WordPress Node Plugin or the Murmurations Profile Generator
- Search the map for Profiles tagged ‘Global EcoVillage Network’ e.g. https://map.murmurations.network/?tags=global%20ecovillage%20network
- Adjust the search URL using the URL Parameters until the map shows the area and data you want
- Copy the URL for the search and paste it into a iframe
- Either you, or your Members, can then add additional nodes to your map by creating new Profiles using the WordPress Node Plugin or the Murmurations Profile Generator
Option 2: Create a map from existing Member data
If you already have a lot of data you can register this with the Murmurations index to avoid asking your Members to make new Profiles. The disadvantage of this method will be that you are the ‘owner’ of the data, making it harder for your Members to edit and update their Profiles themselves. However, the Murmurations WordPress Aggregator recognizes the ‘authority’ of Profiles according to their primary URL, so if a Member wanted to update their Profile on your map they could simply create a new Profile and host this on their own website and the new Profile data would be displayed instead of the original, since it would have greater authority. See this post for a demo.
To import an existing dataset and create a map:
- Prepare your data as a csv file by following the instructions here using the example import file
- Register your data with the Index using the batch importer
- Create an embedded map showing the data you want (as per Option 1 above) or,
- Use the API to get the nodes you want and display these on a custom map
Option 3: Use the Murmurations WordPress Aggregator Plugin
The Murmurations WordPress Aggregator Plugin makes it easy for anyone running WordPress to access data in the Index, and to collect, filter, moderate and curate Profiles in order to display customised maps and directories on their sites.
The Aggregator Plugin is currently being updated – please contact us if you would like us to update you when it’s ready.
By using Murmurations to create Profiles for Organisations, People or Offers & Wants you can contribute to the collaborative mapping commons of open, interoperable data, which anyone can draw on to build maps and directories.
Murmurations even makes it possible to build sophisticated systems maps (think graph databases) showing relationships between different Profiles – more details and a demo coming soon.
By creating Profiles on Murmurations you get free promotion for your projects because your Profiles can be used on multiple maps and directories and, if anything changes, you only need to update your details in ONE place (i.e. on Your website).
Let us know if you have any questions about using Murmurations – we will be happy to help.