I attended a ChicagoCityData user group meet up last night in Chicago, and heard a team from DePaul University show Life Expectancy maps that they had been creating. You can find links in this article.

This got me thinking of my own efforts to use maps to motivate more people to support non-school, volunteer-based tutoring, mentoring and learning programs in every high poverty neighborhood and led me to this thought.

Too few people apply spatial thinking to their leadership and too few places are teaching these skills and habits.

I Tweeted this thought out last night, suggesting that learning spatial thinking should start as early as 5th grade. One response was that we should start teaching this in pre school. I agree.


Gathering and cleaning data and creating maps is just one part of a spatial thinking leadership process.  Making sense of the data, then sharing your understanding with targeted groups of people, who need to be part of solutions, and resource development, is an on-going process of story telling, that too few do regularly, or effectively.

I have been using the MappingforJustice blog, started in 2008 to share map-stories, created by my own team and myself, as well as mapping platforms hosed by others. I created this concept map to show some of those platforms.


While I’ve shared several hundred articles that include maps since 2005 on the MappingforJustice blog and the Tutor/Mentor blog, these have not led to conversations that need to take place, expanding the number of people sharing ideas and resources, or applying the ideas in different places.

I created the concept map below to show some places where other people are writing articles that point to my own sites, with a map illustrating a goal of having such people located in cities throughout the US and the world.


I hope you’ll take a look at the articles I’ve posted, and visit the links I point to. If you’re already doing some of this work, share your link and we’ll expand what is available to others who follow these stories.  Or write about it on your own blog, and share the story through your own network. Tag me on Facebook or include @tutormentorteam in your Tweet.  Send me the link and I’ll add you to this concept map.

Better yet, help find one or more millionaire/billionaires who put up money every campaign season to get someone elected for local and national positions, and convince them to fund the work I’m doing, and that others are doing, for the next decade or longer, so we can build better maps, teach spatial thinking to kids starting in pre-school, and create a new generation of leaders who start the conversation with “Here’s a map showing where the problem I’m talking about is most concentrated”.

tmi-talent-neededThen, the leader might show a concept map like the one at the left, saying, “This map shows the different types of talent that needs to be  in this discussion, learning to use maps, and learning to communicate ideas, and mobilize resources, to help every neighborhood have organizations with this mix of talent helping them do great work.”

And she might point to a participation map, such as these, showing participation in past Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference, saying, “This map shows who has been attending our meetings. Let’s study it and give praise to those who are attending, while also reaching out to those who still are not participating.”

That leader might also show a map with pins showing K-12 schools and universities where spatial thinking is part of on-going learning, embedded in a variety of courses and service-learning activities.  He might point to a cMOOC participation map, like this one, saying “Here’s a map showing how students, teachers and administrators,. plus alumni, from these schools are connecting and sharing ideas with each other.”

Finally, that leader might point to his own web site, saying, “Here’s where I show my commitment, and here’s a page to links showing where I’m getting my ideas, and where I’m connecting to others to hear their ideas and look for new ways to solve the problem we’re gathered here to talk about.”

If you know of leaders taking this role, share their web site and point them to this and other articles I’ve been writing.