Mapping Techniques

The following are mapping techniques discussed or implemented at the Edible Cities Edinburgh workshop series in February 2015.

If we break down the basic components of a map, what does a map show? Map traditionally show point, lines and and areas. A map often shows space at a relative scale, information about places or things and is meant to be used for some sort of navigation.

Maps were used in the Edible Cities Edinburgh workshop series, which aimed to address some key issues of Edinburgh’s food system and propose alternative futures. Maps can be particularly useful for showing the network of components that make up a food system.

How can we re-interpret maps to better express culture and social trends or needs? The following are some examples of maps that go beyond naming streets or places.

Mapping every McDonald’s in USA by artist/scientist Stephen Von Worley (via HuffingtonPost)

“McDonald’s cluster at the population centers and hug the highway grid. East of the Mississippi, there’s wall-to-wall coverage, except for a handful of meager gaps centered on the Adirondacks, inland Maine, the Everglades, and outlying West Virginia.”


Where People Run in Major Cities (via Flowing Data)

What is the relationship between running and water? These maps also represent use of public space in a city.

Creating a Great Pedestrian City (via Sustahood/Gehl Architects)

This diagram maps the distance an average person can cover by walking in Sydney, and is part of a study to advocate for more walking in this compact city centre (Jan Gehl architects 2007).

timthumbFallen Fruit Maps

Fallen Fruit is an art collaboration originally conceived in 2004 by David Burns, Matias Viegener and Austin Young. Since 2013, David and Austin have continued the collaborative work. Fallen Fruit began by mapping fruit trees growing on or over public property in Los Angeles. The collaboration has expanded to include serialized public projects and site-specific installations and happenings in various cities around the world. By always working with fruit as a material or media, the catalogue of projects and works reimagine public interactions with the margins of urban space, systems of community and narrative real-time experience.


GOOD Works Administration (via GOOD Magazine)

“In the depths of the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration put millions of Americans to work. In addition to employing laborers for infrastructure and agriculture, the government funded the production of bold graphic posters to communicate with the public and provide artists with a much-needed source of income. We took a cue from FDR and asked artist Dan Cassaro to illustrate a series of posters in the spirit of their WPA predecessors, but updated for the modern era.”

GoodwoodsLondon Food Essentials Illustrated Maps (via Livi Gosling)

These illustrated maps capture the social culture of food in different parts of London. Please visit London Food Essentials to view the maps (All Rights Reserved).

The New York City Doughnut Map (via BLDGWLF)

How could we recreate this type of map for Edinburgh? Glasgow? Dundee? Aberdeen?

edinburgh-specific maps

Mapping community food is an idea that is alive and well in Edinburgh (and across Scotland!). The following maps are valuable precedents to any future community food mapping projects in the city.

Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens Interactive Map

Showing city/community farms, school farms/gardens and community gardens

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 5.00.29 PM

Edinburgh Lothian Greenspace Trust Community Garden Map

Shows community gardens across Edinburgh and the Lothians. A special “carrot” symbol shows new projects that are looking for volunteers!

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 7.49.30 PM

 Edinburgh Community Cafes

Shows community cafes in Edinburgh- inclusive spaces where you can grab tasty, healthy and affordable meals. Income generated and increased footfall supports the local projects, training programmes, charities and community centres that run the cafes too.

Edinburgh community cafes

Map Ideas bank for future Edinburgh food mapping projects

The following ideas were discussed during the Edible Cities Edinburgh workshop series. This idea bank is “open-source” and free for anyone to develop. If you’d like some assistance, guidance or collaborative support, please get in touch!

  • Mapping all available space for growing- greenspace, brownfields, verges, roundabouts, etc.
  • Intergenerational food storage map
  • Food-sharing (waste/excess food) opportunities
  • Mapping local food outlets (retail and markets)
  • Mapping local community gardens/groups (Grow Stronger/Transition Edinburgh South is hosting an upcoming event to implement this idea! Mapping Community Food and Growing will take place 16th March 2015. Event details/registration available via Eventbrite)
  • Map of foraging sites
  • Mapping ‘local’ food restaurants, cafes
  • Outlets classified by food sources (eg green = local, orange=part local, red=no consideration given)
  • Independent suppliers (and markets) vs. large chains
  • Existing growing spaces (allotments, community gardens, private) and potential growing spaces
  • Home deliveries- supermarkets, independent, organic producers
  • Outlets (markets, independents, supermarkets, cafes/restaurants)
  • Digital map with classifications (expandable for detail)

Maps initiated by Edible Cities Edinburgh workshop participants:

  • Sustainability concept map
  • Plan for 2050
  • Transport map v. outlets
  • Supermarkets, Agricultural opportunities and farmers markets locations in Edinburgh

One response to “Mapping Techniques

  1. Pingback: Edible Cities Edinburgh | The Dinner Lab

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