Visually mapping the system

I was recently asked to coach a group of undergraduate students who are entering the “Map the System”  from Oxford University.

 A global competition to learn more about the issues you care about and present your findings to the world.

As part of the competition, each participant is asked to submit a “visual map” to accompany their report, but there is little criteria to describe how to create the map, nor its intended role in the presentation.  As far as I have been able to determine, it is a supplementary document, which allows the students to show their creativity. Looking at the finalists from 2017, it seems most of the students took an infographic approach, or went into a full scale interactive website production.

I wanted to share a few resources that I have seen that may show some alternatives.

Truth be told I am not a master at creating or using infographics, most of my recent work has been creating visual summaries of conversations and keynotes, in the realm of graphic facilitation and recording. My ‘go to’ if asked to create a visual map would likely be some kind of sequential art, combining narrative and data with some eye catching visuals.

I have dug up some research though to help explain visual mapping and its variety and power. The landscape for visual work is expanding, and more often the discrete disciplines tend towards overlapping.  It is a good idea to zoom out and get a high level look at the space before we begin. Continue reading “Visually mapping the system”