‘5. Dissemination’ Category

climaps.eu, a global issue atlas of adaptation to climate change, is online

November 21st, 2014

Climate change is happening; we have no choice but to adapt. Yet how are we going to live with a changing climate? How are we going to share the burden of adaptation among countries, regions and communities? How to be fair to all human and non-human beings affected by such a planetary transition? Since our collective life depends on these questions, they deserve discussion, debate and even controversy.

To provide some help to navigate in the uncharted territories that lead to our future, the three-year EMAPS project has produced an electronic atlas called Climaps.

The atlas offers 33 data visualizations. They deal with topics ranging from the funding of adaptation, the calculations of vulnerability to climate change, to the scenarios of the future in the cli-fi literature. The atlas also proposes 5 issue stories that bind together visualizations to produce novel narratives about climate change adaptation.

Digital data have been harvested, processed and visualized through a unique methodology created by the teams involved in EMAPS, which the médialab coordinated until its end on October 31st. This methodology involves working right from the start with the communities of experts that the maps are addressing. In the future, it could be applied to other issues of societal and political relevance.

EMAPS (Electronic Maps to Assist Public Science) was funded under the EU FP7 Science in Society Programme.

For more information write us at info@climaps.eu.

A speculative blog post about changing how we engage with issue professionals in the design and production of issue maps within EMAPS

December 10th, 2012

Ahead of our two-day workshop in London later this week, I present some suggestions that follow on from our discussions in the project team about we can engage productively with people who might use the issue maps we are creating in the project. As I understand it, the role of The Young Foundation in the EMAPS project is primarily about helping to engage with people beyond the project team, specifically with the communities of issue professionals working on the two topics.

This post builds on recent emails and skype meetings between us; our small workshop in Oxford in October (see posts by Michele and Benedetta in Milano and by me afterwards, with comments by other EMAPS team members), as well as our June meeting in London (see posts by Tommaso) and discussions about the design process by Milano and Paris.

I will cover

  • a narrative about the project’s trajectory to date in terms of engaging with issue professionals, written from a personal perspective as someone working within YF on EMAPs since March 2012 (when I was employed there, and now freelance);
  • a brief introduction to some concepts and methods from the fields of Participatory Design and Design Research, which offer some approaches that could move EMAPS towards a more participatory mode of designing/using maps in the context of a research project;
  • a speculative description of what these concepts and methods might look like in practice, if the EMAPS team decided to use them.


Network of articles about climate change

October 3rd, 2012

In a previous post, we have explained how we collected a list of about 1000 articles related to climate change, and presented several measures of the associated discussions. Here we want to study the network of hyperlinks between these articles.

More specifically, we build a graph in which each article is a node, and a directed edge connects node A to node B if the corresponding articles are linked, i.e. if article A contains a link to article B.

As in Wikipedia each article represents an encyclopedic entry, and thus an entity, each link can be interpreted as evidence of a relationship between the entities which are the subjects of the articles. Following this idea, for example, the network of hyperlinks betweeen biographies in Wikipedia can be interpreted as a network between notable persons and historical characters, as shown in Aragón et al. (2012).

In the present case, each article represents an issue, an event or an actor related to climate change, and the network can reveal how these entities are related to each other according to the Wikipedia community.

Hyperlink network

Network of hyperlinks between Wikipedia articles related to climate change

In this figure, drawn with Gephi, the size of each node depends on its pagerank. Colours have been assigned to nodes and arcs according to a clustering algorithm (modularity maximization), so it is possible to get an idea of the main groups (clusters), in which articles are strongly interconnected. To better visualize the network, you can download the pdf version (searchable).

On the bottom-left of the figure we observe a purple cluster which includes articles Global warming and Climate change and is mostly focused on the scientific debate on climate change, and the associated controversies and actors (e.g: Global warming controversy, An inconvenient truth, List of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming, Al Gore). This cluster has no clear boundaries and is strongly interlinked to a turquoise one on the bottom, focused on global models for climate, and centered around the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

If we keep moving towards the right, we can see a cyan cluster grouping articles associated with climatology and the effects of global warming, such as Ice Age, See level rise or Greenhouse effect, and a dark blue one mostly related to Climate change mitigation and Geoengineering.

On the top we can distinguish two clusters related to energy and climate change: a red cluster on the right, centered on Greenhouse gas, Fossil fuel and Renewable energy, and a green cluster on the left, associated to the Kyoto protocol and policies for emission reduction.

Close to this we find the last cluster (mustard, on the left),  grouping articles related to international treaties and conferences on climate change (the most relevant one appears to be the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) and more in general Individual and political action on climate change, including some relevant actors such as the World Bank and Greenpeace.

Beyond showing how articles can be grouped into different clusters, the figure also reveals which articles are more relevant in this network, according to the pagerank. In order to investigate further which are the most relevant nodes in the network, we will apply and compare several centrality metrics in the next post.



Aragón, P., Kaltenbrunner A., Laniado D., and Volkovich Y. (2011).
Biographical Social Networks on Wikipedia – A cross-cultural study of links that made history
WikiSym ’12 – 8th International Symposium on Wikis and Open Collaboration.


Where we are, where we are going

June 9th, 2012

The London workshop will not start until next Wednesday, but I already want to express great satisfaction for process that led to this event. In a handful of months, we identified a number research questions, we collected and analysed the data necessary to provide some answers, we visualised the results of the analysis and we are now ready to share our maps with a real public. On a small scale, we already proved the worth of our consortium.
And there’s more: next week event is only a small test compared to the exhibition we will organise in London in the next fall, which in turn is only a small test of the online/offline platform we will develop on climate adaptation.

During the kick-off meeting, I said that our project is complex because it is experimental. I think we have found the good organisation to tame such complexity. The circle displayed in the image below (courtesy of Axel) describes the iterative process of questions-data-visualisations-tests that characterize EMAPS. What is most remarkable about this circle is that it reaches further every time we go through it. More then to a circle, our project resembles to a spiral where every coil delivers better maps and engages more people.
Accordingly, the success of EMAPS depends crucially on our capacity to multiply the iterations among ourselves and with our publics. To use a slogan borrowed from software development: “release early, release often!”

Acknowledging the spiralling nature of EMAPS transforms slightly but decisively the goal of the second day of our London meeting (see page 7 and 8 of the survival kit sent by Axel). At this stage, the priority is not to decide once and for all the precise focus of our project, but to set the mapping spiral into motion. What we need is to identify a first set of adaptation maps that are both interesting and relatively easy to produce.
To facilitate our work, I drafted a list of potential research questions and maps (see page 10-12 of the kit). Our goal for Thursday is to complete this list (because I certainly forgot something important) and agree on the interest and feasibility of each of the proposed maps.

This assessment will be the basis for the work of following months, which will consist in developing a first set of maps to submit to a first sample of public in order to produce better maps to submit to a larger audience and so on and so forth. So the spiral goes, so the project advances…

Three exhibition projects inspired by controversy mapping

March 2nd, 2012

For discussion, here are pics (see gallery below, 3 pics/project) and texts about exhibition projects I made/participated in, which display “spatialized maps” in different ways. (more…)

New ideas from the past

February 27th, 2012

To develop new ideas, it can be worthwhile to look into the past for inspiration. Visual representations have played a role in conflicts, controversies, and power struggles over the course of history, but these roles have varied from case to case.

This presentation is a loose collection of commented images from the last 1000 years that stand as examples for the complex relationship between conflict and visual portrayals of many different kinds.

Many of these images are not only original in terms of visual technique but also in how they related to their subjects and how they try to intervene.