Mapping Emotions in Olomouc

Yesterday my post about Mapping Emotions in Olomouc was posted at Participatory Geographies Research Group blog. I wrote mainly about our experience with testing emotional mapping platform – PocitoveMapy in Olomouc. The whole post can be read below. 

Recently I wrote a post about Emotional maps, how they can be used in local participatory mapping?. In this follow-up post I would like to share few outcomes from testing the platform. PocitoveMapy.cz is an online application that allows users to crowdsource data about emotions in relation to used spaces. Users can mark points, lines and polygons on a given map, without any need to register or create a user account.  These data are later available in GeoJson format, which we can easily open in the open-source software QGIS. Currently we are testing the platform with the Healthy Cities of the Czech Republic project. The application can also be used to collect any other data – noise, POIs, voting patterns, sociological data, etc. Our aim, as part of testing process, was to deploy the emotional map of Olomouc, in the Czech Republic, among students to see if/how the platform will perform with data input from multiple users.

Our aim was to ask users about their feelings towards specific places in the city. We defined 6 feelings: “I like it here”, “this is ugly”, “I spend my free time here”, “I like shopping here”, “I don’t like driving/riding here”, “Here I feel proud of the city”. We deployed the map mainly via the University Facebook page and our departmental website and within a few days 87 people participated with a total of 1387 marked locations.  The most frequently used data category was ‘I like it here’ with 4.78 spots per person, followed by places where people spend free time (2.9 spots per person) and places where they feel proud of the city (2.59 spots per person).  Least frequently they marked places where they do not like to drive (1.23 spots per person).  There were large differences between the minimum (2 spots) and maximum (74 spots) number of places marked per person, but the average number was 16 locations per person and the median was 14. The gender distribution of participants was 45 male/42 female.

Places people marked "I like it here"

Places people marked “I like it here”

So the main question is: what we can do with all this data? From our platform – www.pocitovemapy.cz we can download it as GeoJson format, which we can easily open in QGIS and save as shapefile, or alternately save the data as GPX (GPS exchange format) and then use ArcGIS online (free for non-commercial use) to create a heat-map. I tried this approach as a part of the testing, with the spots marked “places I like”. I had to select only point elements as ArcGIS online can create a heat-map only from one type of the shapefile – point, line or polygon. As most of the data were points and polygons, I decided to use points in creating the map.  As you can see from the map, users mainly like the area of the old city centre and some random spots in the vicinity. The other map shows spots referring to the category “this is ugly”, where users marked mainly the area around the main railway station.

Places people marked "It is ugly here"

Places people marked “It is ugly here”

More practically, this platform can provide city planners with a support tool for urban development plans. For example, an application called Maptionnaire.com was used by the Helsinki department of city planning for crowdsourcing information from citizens about future city development plans. During one month, almost 5.000 people mapped 33.000 opinions and ideas, including 9.000 places for new residential areas in Helsinki.

The emotional maps are still in the process of development, so I will be happy for any feedback from you!

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