How to create a WikiMapp
Before accessing Wikimapps.com to start creating your Wikimapp think first of the concept that you wish to represent. Remember that it´s not a matter of mapping something new in Google maps. A WikiMapp is a collaborative application (in a site in the web) in which the map and the markers (pins or icons) that will be placed on it are the instruments around which the collaboration and interaction are going to take place. The experience I´ve had and am still having with WikiCrimes has shown that creating the WikiMapp is only part of the problem. The big question is how you expect to articulate the persons around your WikiMapp so that it is alive and dynamic. I, therefore, suggest that you consider the following aspects in your WikiMapp´s project:
1) Define your concept, your idea, your objectives. The first thing you need to do is to think what you intend with the WikkiMapp, i.e., what is your objective. 2) Define which markers you will use and how they Will be distributed in the space. They may represent an object, a project, an individual, an institution, an event or whatever, as long as it is possible to place it on the map. 3) Define the realm in terms of geography, specifying which área of the map your project is to cover. Will it be limited to a neighborhood, a city, a country or the entire world? 4) Define which group of persons you believe will make up the WikkiMap´s social network. It could be a group of friends, a city´s population, an institution´s staff, etc. At this point is important to categorize two types of users: those you expect to participate actively in the process of registering that which you wish to map and those who will participate more with consultations about what has been mapped. 5) Identify that which may the object of interaction among the individuals. That is, reflect about which information of the markers could be used by the individuals in the social network so that they interact. Every time someone comments about a marker, the person who registered it will be notified. Note that this is crucial for people to consult your WikiMapp. The goal is that your WikiMapp become a place where people will interact over the subject that you are mapping. That will make it dynamic and will reduce the chances that it will die out.
6) Identify advantages for individuals who access the WikiMapp. Remember that, although this is a collaborative project, people will feel motivated to participate if they have an enticing reason. They may be attracted by a cause and act altruistically for it. However, it is more
common for people to participate because their collaboration may bring them some individual benefit. That benefit may be the use of the information entered on the map, but it is also very common for people in social networks to be motivated simply to become well known in that network. 8) Identify moderators or facilitators who will be able to assist the interaction process. You yourself will obviously be one of them, but it is interesting to have more people with you, since they can animate the process mainly at the start. 9) Identify special users Who may become partners in your Project. For example, many WikiMapps relate to reporting urban problems. It is interesting that in such cases the officials in charge of those problems be partners in the project. They can feed the WikiMapp with data that will serve as feedback to the reporters, pushing the interactive process and increasing the dynamics of the WikiMapp. 10) Think about how you will be able to evaluate the success of your project. Will it be through the quantity of markers, the number of users, the total of the accesses, etc.?
These tips are not necessarily followed in this order nor are they a sine-qua-non for the success of your project, but they may help you along the way. Anyhow, one thing is fundamental: be persistent. DonÂ´t imagine that people will bend over your WikMapp and use it continuously. ItÂ´s a slow process. The WikiMapp concept is pioneer and innovative. It is normal that its implantation should be gradual and a continuous apprenticeship. As you become better acquainted with the social network that is part of the WikiMapp the better prepared you will be to create new strategies to animate the process.
Published on Mar 10, 2011