3 March 2004

Mapping Feedback

MoveOn Map 1As far as centrally-coordinated online campaigns go, one technique I’ve particularly admired about MoveOn’s organizing is the way the coordinators gather feedback and circulate it back to the participants of a given action. Participants around the world can read about of what others are doing, and get a sense of the impact and scale of the action. Too many organizations simply fail to ask who is taking offline action. And many send out endless streams of urgent action alerts with little, if any, follow-up.

Usually MoveOn’s updates arrive as the text of an email, but this Flash driven map does the job visually and interactively. The map effectively presents both the macro and micro views of the many house parties organized across the U.S. on December 7, 2003 to view the documentary Uncovered: The Whole Truth about the Iraq War.

MoveOn Map 2Despite the initial written instructions, the interface could be made a little more intuitive by giving shapes of the states some kind of rollover behavior.

Still, I find it more informative than MoveOn’s previous action map. This map of the February 26, 2003 phone-in rotates the display of only one tesimony per state. Instead of plotting data the map paints a more atmospheric picture of the plurality of voices and the outrage that rained upon the Capitol that day. The geographic shapes only provide a general spatial context to the ticking clock and growing tally of calls.

Between the two is a world map of candle light vigils organized on March 16, 2003. The map displays testimonies, photos, and the sites of vigils, but the user is unable to draw any actual numbers from it, only impressions. The zoom effect is gorgeous, but the testimonies quickly overwhelm, like hundreds of little pop-up windows you’re unable to move or close.

The maps were all designed and programmed by Stamen Design in San Francisco.

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See also this Jully 2004 item about Stamen Design’s live, interactive conference call map.