Make Meaningful Policy Maps For Your Community

As one of the largest collections of spatial data in the world, the Living Atlas website by Esri houses a tremendous amount of content. Over the past few years, Esri has increased their focus on incorporating maps for data-driven policy. But with over 7,000 datasets on the site, their policy map content was getting lost in the shuffle. When Esri came to Blue Raster, they wanted to broaden the reach of their policy content through a focused website. Esri saw an opportunity to create a new resource where audiences could explore what’s going on in their community, gain insight, and learn how to better apply maps and analysis to their decisions.

Esri Policy Maps

User Research

Esri’s target audience already believed issues like affordable housing, crime, and workforce development were important, but they found it hard to turn their belief into tangible solutions. Our team worked with Esri to identify main hurdles users faced. We discovered three common obstacles:

  1. “If we make a policy change, where are the areas we would make the change first?”

2. “We want to use maps and analysis to inform our decisions, but where do we start?”

3. “Is there information about the community already? What webmaps, applications, and story maps already exist?

Our job was to ensure the new website within the Living Atlas helped users break through these questions.

User Experience

Our team reviewed more than 200 policy maps within the Living Atlas to inform the website’s layout and user interface. After defining the hierarchy and topics of interest, we designed a workflow that tapped into existing Esri code logic to use `category` tags to bucket the maps. This enabled rapid development, where the project went from design to deployment within two weeks. The end result was a site that allows users to explore maps on topics like “Social Equity and Health,” and then save and share their map collection with peers. For example, check out this collection of policy maps for Baltimore, Maryland.

Wireframes to Visual Design

Connecting users to resources explaining how to get started with using maps for policy making was also important. We worked with Esri to identify the types of resources that would maximize a user’s experience. The result was a sub-page on the site containing in-depth trainings, actionable tips, and inspiring stories to equip users to tackle today’s community challenges.

Make sure to explore this free, Policy Mapping resource today!

Video of Esri Policy Maps