Mobile Mapping: 7 Ways to get your audience involved


Remember when a blizzard hit New York City last December? The mayor claimed that all streets had been plowed, but residents could take a quick look outside their living room windows and tell that this was not the case. But how to accurately report the truth?

Enter WNYC, Jim Colgan and their mobile mapping project. Using Mobile Commons, they were able to get creative and quickly push back on the mayor’s false claims.

To find out more, we opened up the story to our listeners around the city with a question: Has your block been plowed? All listeners had to do was text the word PLOW to a short number. Using a Google Fusion Table, we plotted all the submissions on a map. (via

After the success of the WNYC mobile mapping project, Jim has gotten creative with using mobile mapping to engage audiences. And now he’s sharing what he’s learned.

News organizations are increasingly involving the community in their reporting and trying to figure out which approaches work well.
One way to get your audience involved is to combine the ease of mobile texting with the visual appeal of a map. Throughout the past few years, I’ve launched several successful mobile mapping crowdsourcing projects for public radio stations and have found that they engaged audiences and helped advance news stories.
Drawing on my experience with these projects, I’ve come up with some tips on how to involve your audience in a successful mobile mapping project in any medium. (via

Read all 7 tips and tricks over at And happy mapping!

Comments are closed.

Still have questions?

Request a Demo