These are exciting times at SCOPE, as we expand our in-house GIS mapping capabilities and prepare a 2011 Update of the Sarasota County Community Report Card - that comprehensive review of local community indicators that we've published six times over the past decade. Details to follow soon, but do stay tuned ...it's shaping up to be truly map-o-liscious! Maps help us to spot patterns we might not otherwise notice. Sometimes they also are used in playful ways, to prompt new insights through mind-bending visualizations of data. Take, for instance, a recent entry on Frank Jacobs' "Strange Maps" blog, which links to a map of the world's countries rearranged by population. Though Jacobs' acknowledges that it is a "disconcerting, disorienting map," he goes on to reflect on issues of population density, which the map brings into focus in unexpected ways. Hence, a map that first seems just plain goofy proves legitimately thought-provoking the longer it's examined.
This has got us thinking: What might we map about Sarasota County in order to bring attention to certain aspects of our community's well-being that could benefit from greater collective awareness and deliberation? And how might we map these aspects of our community in playful and creative ways?
Got suggestions? Let us know by responding on our blog. Or better yet - submit a playful map of local data, and we'll feature you as the very first "Guest Cartographer" in the history of SCOPE.