Community Mapping, also called Public Participatory Geographic Information Systems (PPGIS), is a tool that can be used to tell a story about what is happening in our communities.
During community mapping events, community members come together and collect field data. The data collected, whether it be an inventory of health centers, restaurants, pedestrian infrastructure, toxic emissions, or health conditions can be used to improve things such as health equity, the environment, pedestrian safety, obesity, and community violence. The information collected can be analyzed with a range of different types of statistical analyses to identify relationships with other data, such as socioeconomic data to view changes over time. Community mapping can be used to identify “hot spots” which can be extremely useful in targeting interventions.
Community Mapping can empower the public by providing opportunities to have a lasting, positive influence on their community. The maps that are generated can be used to document community needs to and assist with consensus-building and decision-making for improving program design and public policies aimed at improving health and decreasing disparities.