Why Making Maps Guides Us to Be Greener


A picture is worth a thousand words, and that's the case for maps too. Turns out, using some visual mapping helps groups show people their purpose and get the support they need to accomplish their goals. The map above is from Friends of the High Line, and was used - successfully - to show how preserving the structure of the elevated rail line in Manhattan and turning it into a park would benefit local wildlife. That's just the beginning of the potential visual mapping holds.Core77 points us to an article in Communication Arts about the potency of using visuals to illustrate the impact of a goal or an issue.

The article, titled "Mapping Power: Using design to get where we want to go," shows how using mapping can be a powerful tool, from the illustrations that made An Inconvenient Truth so impactful, to tactical mapping that was popularized by the Center for Victims of Torture. It also points towards Open Green Map, a mapping system that lets users point each other to the green resources in various communities.

TreeHugger loves maps for exactly this reason - seeing the impact of a problem helps the problem make an impact on us. That's why we're always highlighting visuals like the carbon emissions of flights, or new amazing Google layers that illustrate green issues.

The creative use of mapping that Friends of the High Line used to help turn existing infrastructure into a green oasis shows that making the goals of green efforts visual has as great an impact as the more negative images we're used to seeing, such as showing the very disturbing impacts of climate change, or driving home numbers that are too big for people to really comprehend without an image.

By giving an visual component to issues, mapping the present and the future helps us understand the extent of our ecological problems and the vastness of our possible solutions, and select a way forward.

More Maps We Love
Great New Google Earth Layer Maps US Carbon Emissions
New Maps Hope to Slow San Francisco Bay Wastewater Spills
New High Rez Wind Power Resource Map Covers the Entire Planet
NPR's Interactive Power Grid Map Shows Who's Got the Power

Tags: Education | Maps

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