Mapping Hope – Final Project

Project Overview

Climate change is an issue that drive people to apathy for the sake of sanity as often as it inspires people to act. It is such a large and intersectional issue that one quickly becomes overwhelmed when they begin digging into the details. My project aims to break the issue of climate change down into manageable portions, providing users with resources, place based education, and ways of engaging in solutions that can be used in their own back yards.


Climate change is global, but solutions can be local. When we look at the climate change as a looming global disaster, we freeze. But when action on climate change means cleaning up the back yard, solutions are actionable.

My vision for this project is to create a story map which links resources, education, and stories of action to the places that we live. This story map would allow people to learn about climate action in their communities and access relevant resources. People could connect with other community members to support and inspire each other, opening opportunities for collaboration and developing community resilience.

This project would tailor itself to each community by inviting locals to contribute to the project, filling in the space of their community on the map with action in the ground. This can include any number of things including stories about local food production, access to government resources and programs, media articles on local climate events, history of local Indigenous cultures, or profiles of sustainable business in the area. The map would become a rich illustration of regional climate action and have the potential to grow indefinitely while maintaining accessibility by the nature of its place based organization. People would be able to access relevant information simply by finding their location on the map. Communities would also be able to explore the climatescapes of other regions for more ideas to implement at home.


This mapping project would be accessible on a number of levels.

One: Being relatively informal, people would be more willing to share their ideas, stories, or suggest resources. It would be a shared community tool box that welcomes input in many forms.

Two: As an interactive map there would be a wealth of information available but users could chose what it is they engage with and where. There is no requirement for linear exploration to understand and utilize the different map entries.

Three: The variety of entries means there could be something for everyone, and if there is not, that they have an opportunity to fill the gap. Written articles, videos, images, and topics as diverse as the community (though all tied to climate change and intersecting issues) would allow people to use the map how they like.

Four: Communities contain people with diverse perspectives and experiences. The project values place based knowledge opening the door to under represented groups who may not have equitable access to climate resources, education, or opportunities to share their experiences. Colonization plays a large role in the stories we tell. I believe that this interactive map can help to break down colonial structures as discussed in The next Wave of Digital Storytelling Platforms (n.d.)


This project would source map entries from the communities themselves. Community members, businesses, individuals, organization, artists, teachers, gardeners, ranchers, scientists – everyone would be invited and encouraged to contribute. Members would not be able to edit the map directly, instead, proposed entries would be submitted through a dropbox system linked in the map’s introduction. The project team (currently made up of me, myself, and I) would review the entries and make edits, return the edited entry for approval, and then post it to the appropriate location on the map. This would allow for the moderation of a publicly accessible platform and to screen map entries for the base understanding the climate change is real and has been caused by human activities.

Proof of Concept

My story map is only a small sample of my vision. It includes five map entries including one for a government resource, one for a regional program, one personal story, a profile of a community organization, and one brief overview of a natural disaster and its aftermath.

Being that this project is meant to center on place based knowledge, I chose the Regional District of Kootenay-Boundary (RDKB) where I grew up and now return to for work in the summer months. The entries are relatively personal and based on my experience of living, learning, and working the the RDKB. This is intentional and I believe reflects my visions for a relatively informal community tool which values place based knowledge. The map is intended as a multifaceted portal and so the entries are heavily linked to resources that would allow users to follow up on what they read or to dive deeper into the topic.


This project is limited by my knowledge of available tools at this time. StoryMapJS does not allow me to completely remove the linear connection between entries nor does it permit me to purposefully link or categorization related entries. It is also difficult to include additional media except through a hyperlink. The proof of concept lacks the diversity I envision for a larger project as my own experiences and the resources I found online were the only contributions to the entries. This proof of concept cannot illustrate the richness of entries I envision for a larger project, which would allow map users to visualize the extent of climate change related resources, stories, and action across the province.

Given the Opportunity

Should I find a more comprehensive tool or develop one in the future, I would like to implement map layers which would allow map users to access the map archives. This would add the element of a digital archive of regional responses to climate change. This would also allow the map to be remain up-to-date without discarding older entries. Owens & Padilla (2020) talks about using digital archives to preserve pieces of our histories and this map has the opportunity be a living archive. Being that the information is being preserved in its original form, there would be little worry about having someone miss-copy the information. As with the example of accessing editing in Thorkelson (2019), the archived layers would allow users to trace the evolution of the project.

A navigational tool I would like to have included in the map is the ability for users to search for specific regions or topics and allow relevant material to be highlighted. This would help to gather data from the map and permit all users to navigate with more selectivity. More options for integrating metadata into the map entries would be important for this tool.


Owens, T., & Padilla, T. (2020). Digital sources and digital archives: historical evidence in the digital age. International Journal of Digital Humanities.

The Next Wave of Digital Storytelling Platforms. (n.d.). Retrieved April 9, 2024, from

Thorkelson, E. (2019, September 18). Archives are adapting to an era of digitization and decolonization. University Affairs.


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