STEP 7. PLOTTING DATA ON THE 3D MAP
Once the legend is ready data may be plotted on the 3D map. The following paragraphs provide suggestions on how to proceed with the plotting of data on the 3D map. This is an activity which is usually very lively and enjoyed by the participants whose knowledge is emphasized. Therefore, the facilitator must be very careful in respecting momemtums and participants’ initiatives as to how to sequence and organise the plotting of the different data. At any time, however, the facilitator should monitor the legend and make sure that the participants use the correct symbols.
Plotting data needs to be a collective activity which involves everyone in the community, young and old, men and women, farmers and employees. All collaborate and contribute their own knowledge to the map together. However as indicated in 7.4 some specific sessions may be required for specific groups of people or when schedule of daily activities does not allow gathering all participants at the same time.
Building a 3D map is a collective learning experience which stimulates the exchange of information through the continual search for consensus among the participants about the type and location of information to be plotted on the 3D map. P3DM thus facilitates the exchange of information and dialogue within and between members of the local community, especially those who are usually excluded from policy planning because they are marginalized, e.g. children, elderly, women, people with disabilities, etc (Figure 34).
7.1 Plotting pushpins for punctual features
Placing pushpins to depict point features is one of the most laborious tasks of P3DM (Figure 35). The sequence of plotting may be suggested by the facilitator but ultimately must up to the participants.
Often it starts with major landmarks in the community such as the village hall (or community’s meeting point), church or temple (and other religious or sacred places), schools, marker place, boundary markers, etc. The precision of the location of this first information is crucial since the location of the next information (other types of pushpins) will depend on it. If the participants struggle to plot these landmarks, the facilitator may step in the discussion and refer to GPS points (see step 3.5). However, this is always an unsatisfying strategy as it tends to induce a bias towards the facilitator’s knowledge and technology.
After plotting landmarks, the participants often proceed with their houses and then the vulnerable members of the different households. At that stage, the participants often gather according the hamlets or areas they live in. To facilitate the plotting process it is therefore recommended to distribute small sets of pushpins at different locations around the 3D map so that small groups of participants can plot on their own (Figure 36).
Participants eventually proceed with other man-made and natural features such as vehicles, animals, springs, waterfalls, etc.
When the 3D map becomes too crowded it is possible to resort to small pieces of carton / polystyrene to gather specific information for a particular area of the map. For example, plotting all vulnerable people is often difficult, especially in densely populated urban areas. In that context, a small piece of carton / polystyrene may be used to list the number of children, pregnant women, elderly, etc., for a particular ward (Figure 37).
At that stage too, participants often decide to identify their hamlet or wards on the 3D map. If need arises, they may use small pieces of carton / polystyrene / crepe sole to make small sign board indicating the name of the places (Figure 38). This usually helps in enhancing the appropriation of the 3D map by the participants.
7.2 Defining land-use through yarns and paints
Plotting land-use follows a two-step process. It first necessitates delineating the extent of the area covered by a specific land-use. Then, only, the paint may be applied on the 3D map. Do not apply the paint directly to the 3D map. There are always chances of mistake and disagreement among the participants whether the information is properly located or not.
Yarns, affixed on the map using dressmaker pins, should therefore be used first to trace or to enclose the area covered by a particular feature (Figure 39). For instance, instead of directly painting blue paint to represent a river, a blue yarn can be used to trace it. It makes it easy to locate and relocate each feature in order to find a consensus amongst participants.
Once everyone agrees that the river is indeed in such location, then that is the right time to apply the blue paint. Remove the yarn after the application of paint (Figure 40). The reason for this is to facilitate the discussion between the participants in finalizing the location of the information and to serve as guide during the application of the paint. Ideally the entire map is painted to provide the overall land-use pattern.
Painting areas which have been already plotted with pushpins may require to carefully removing those pushpins first to facilitate the process. Conversely, it is obviously better to wait for the paint to dry before proceeding with the plotting of pushpins.
7.3 Stretching yarns for linear features and additional areal features
Major linear features such as rivers and roads are usually plotted early in the mapping process as they often help in locating further pushpins and land-use. Yarns are stretched and affixed on the map using dressmaker pins. They are easy to move and are often readjusted throughout the activity.
Other linear data such as electricity lines, pipelines, telephone lines, etc. are frequently plotted later in the process, often after houses and other punctual infrastructure (Figure 41).
Defining hazard-prone locations usually comes last in the process of plotting data on the 3D map as people often need other features to identify areas which have been affected in the past or may be affected in the future. In addition, scientists may step in the process at that stage (see step 8) or alternatively the participants may resort to available scientific hazard maps and confront outsiders’ knowledge to their own awareness of hazardprone areas. This may prove important in facing rare phenomena or the potential effects of future changes in the climate patterns.
7.4 Special sessions
As mentioned in step 3, on top of the collective sessions which facilitate dialogue between members of the community (Figure 42), it is suggested to carry out particular sessions for specific groups within the community, e.g. children, women, elderly, farmers, fishermen, to make sure that all needs and viewpoints are covered in the map. Sometimes, some people feel more comfortable to speak out when only in presence of their fellow villagers. In that case it is often best to have a regular participant who is a member of the said group to facilitate the discussion to avoid unbalanced power relationships between insiders and outsiders.
7.5 important issues arising while plotting data on a 3D map
7.5.1 Overcoming territorial conflicts through P3Dm
The plotting of features on the 3D map is likely to trigger intense discussions which sometimes may lead to potential conflicts. P3DM is believed to be a powerful tool for solving such conflicts as it facilitates debate between participants based upon tangible data (Rambaldi and Callosa-Tarr, 2002).
Such conflicts may arise in the case of political or territorial boundaries. In many rural areas, technical descriptions of political boundaries do not exist or are not accessible even to the local officials. In such case, the facilitator has to be very cautious. Inviting authorities and local officials and resorting to existing legal documents may useful depending on the context (Figures 43 and 44). This might cause some delay but consider it as one of the purposes of the 3D map – to solve conflicting interests.
On the side of the facilitator, it is suggested to always consult available official or legal documents such as local land use and cadastral plans before the P3DM activity starts.
7.5.2 Confidentiality of the information
Another issue which arises when plotting data on the 3D map is that the nature of tool makes that household information is not anonymous since they are obviously associated with a particular house in a given place. In some countries, there may laws which prevent the divulgation of such data. In other settings, it may be culturally or socially dangerous to indicate certain information on the map, e.g. women who suffer from domestic violence or people with disability. This is a major issue which may render those marginalized even more vulnerable in facing natural and other hazards.
The easiest way forward to include them on the 3D map without breaching any cultural, social or legal rules is to gather the information at the scale of a neighborhood or hamlet so that it is not anymore associated with a particular home. Participants may resort to small pieces or carton / polystyrene, as described in 7.1, to indicate a list of data for a given area.
7.5.3 Waste management
Waste management is critical to an effective and environment-friendly P3DM activity. This is particularly important when using materials which may harm the environment such as polystyrene or any sort of crepe sole or rubber mat. In that context, it is essential to anticipate how small pieces of waste materials will be cleaned, collected, temporarily stored and then thrown away in an appropriate place/container.
Waste management very much depends on the type of venue and materials selected for the activities. It is often much more challenging when working outdoors or in windy places. Sandy grounds also prove tricky to clean. When using polystyrene, specific cutters (instead of scissors or regular cutters) help in limiting the amount of waste (see table 4).
7.6 Process and outcomes
Throughout the plotting of data on the 3D map mistakes or errors on the part of the participants are inevitable. Although it is necessary to correct those errors, there is a risk that the facilitator, as an outsider, intimidate the participants or worse end up humiliating them in front of others. To level down power relationships between outsiders and members of the community and to avoid disempowering participants, the facilitator must never teach nor correct participants. Instead, he/she should foster discussion and spur reflection amongst participants.
Along that line there are two ways for dealing with errors in the plotting of data: (1) just let the participants uncover the mistakes by themselves at the end. For example if participants start plotting pushpins two far from each other’s they are likely to lack space for further data at one point ; or (2) ask someone amongst the participants to raise the issue with his/her fellow participants. In the first strategy, the participants will eventually find and correct their own mistakes. However, re-plotting 500 pushpins because of a mistake at the start is not an easy task. The second strategy, on the other hand, encourages discussions among participants and mistakes can be corrected as early as possible.
The ultimate rule in using P3DM for DRR is that both the process and the outcomes should be considered. The objective of a P3DM activity is not to come up with a stunning and perfectly accurate map if this is through disempowering the participants. Tangible outcomes should not overcome the process through which these outcomes are achieved. Therefore, it is sometimes better to end up with a poorly finished map because for example the participants discovered painting for the first time in their life. If the use of the 3D map is solely for the community and depending upon the context, minor inaccuracies in the plotting of data may be acceptable. It may cause more harm if the facilitator tries to correct such errors, leading participants to feel disempowered.