Annotable Digital Map

Annotable Digital Map enables the (asynchronous) cartographic collection of citizen’s location-bound needs, knowledge and experiences by commenting in online maps.

Level of participation


Duration of participation process

Preparation: Several weeks for planning
Implementation: 1-2 days
Follow-up: Internal to the group who need to implement and monitor

Target group size

<15 people​
15-30 people​
30-100 people​
100-250 people​
> 250 people



Resources for a short workshop

Human resources needed
At least one person for preparation, moderation and documentation

The method: what is it, when to use it and what outcome to expect

Annotable Digital Maps are an interactive participation method that crowdsources information from citizens that is connected to specific locations within an area. It is based on the idea that citizens know their surroundings very well and thus serve as a potent source.

Annotable Digital Maps are useful for district planning, e.g. in terms of traffic and mobility, citizen services, to collect issues, e.g. to demonstrate urgency or severeness of a topic like bike accidents or violence against women, towards officials.

The result is (unexpected) multi-facetted, location-bound, first-hand information that otherwise potentially could not have been assessed (that quickly) and a mobilized community.

The process: how to conduct it in an in-person setting or online using a PC/laptop with video option

The method follows three steps:

  1. Preparation: Decide for an appropriate mapping tool, a time span for citizens to comment, and a promotion strategy to reach citizens willing to contribute. Consider identifying organizations or individuals with a large network. Set up a point of contact for the commenting community. Hire or assign professionals to moderate the process if needed. Schedule in-person events before, during or after the commenting time if desired.
  2. Conduction: Consider a (virtual) kick-off event prior to the commenting. Let the community bring in their contribution. Answer arousing questions and file interim analysis and reports if needed. 
  3. Evaluation: Analyze the comments, compile a report and send it to officials ifdesired.

Blended participation

While mainly implemented online, in-person meetings before the start of the collection, during the collection (to reflect on contributions) and after the collection (to reflect on results and to increase accountability) can be very useful.

Digital communication

  • Useful to reach and activate citizens, to keep them informed during the collection process and to answer questions.

Good to know

  • Compared to Asset or Pin Mapping, this method focuses on qualitative, open-text-based input
  • Similar to Text Reviews, but with comments made towards certain locations instead of paragraphs
  • Digital mapping enables easy crowdsource information mapping but be aware to double-check contributions with regard to veracity
  • Consider combining the remote mapping with in-person events to make the process more personal and strengthen togetherness

Read further: (Tool) (Example in German) (Example in German)

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