Maps can be a key tool in promoting physical activity. They can easily provide visual information on the locations of parks and sporting facilities, walking and cycling routes, destinations etc. This information can be combined to provide region-wide maps or local neighbourhood maps including the locations of these facilities.
Key information that can be provided on My Neighbourhood maps include:
- Walking and cycling routes including type of facilities and grades
- Parks and sport venues including facilities available, such as BBQ facilities, exercise stations, shade, seating, toilets, water coolers, community gardens
- Public transport routes
- End of trip facilities, such as bicycle parking, lockers and showers
- Community facilities
- Suburb and street names
- Destinations, such as shops, schools and railway stations
- Healthy food options.
The maps need to be easy to read. They should be simple and include a legend and northpoint, scale (with measurements, distance and times), readable typefaces and be produced in waterproof materials.
Helpful hints to assist with map development
- Identify who is the target group? What level of detail will they require? What area the map will cover? Consider producing a number of local area maps if a lot of detail is to be provided.
- Are there other departments in council who can assist with preparing this information (that is provide information, have skills in GIS or graphic design)? Will you need external resources for the map production?
- What information should be provided on the map? Where can you access this information?
- Are there other agencies that can support development and promotion? Consider Queensland Health, Department of Communities (Sport and Recreation Services), Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (Tourism Queensland), local businesses
- What funding is available to assist map production?
- Can the map be made available on the internet?
- What size will the map be? Can it fit in the pocket of a potential user?
- Where will the maps be made available? Consider tourist information bureaus, local libraries and community groups
- What other information can be provided on the map? Consider information about safe cycling, information about public transport, health and physical activity programs, contact details of council and other key contacts (such as bicycle user groups, walking groups, bicycle shops, taxi numbers), signage information (that is how to read signs and what they mean), information about car sharing, taxis and travelling with limited mobility.
Providing this information on the internet is also useful and easily accessible. This information can be provided in printed maps and as a PDF on the council’s web-page. However, depending on the level of sophistication on council’s webpage and the level of sophistication in the mapping, this information can be provided in a search engine feature. Examples of interactive maps on the internet are provided below.
- Active & Healthy Gold Coast website: allows residents to search for an activity, park, active club or organisation or an Active and Healthy Gold Coast activity.
- Map My Walk and Map My Run: American based websites that are essentially fitness training websites which allow users to become members and map the walks they have done, find walks around their local area and access information on events in their local area. The sites use Google Earth to provide information on distance walked. They also calculate calories burned on a walk or run when the user provides information on their height, weight, etc.
- Walkit: a good information and awareness raising website in the United Kingdom which allows users to enter a location they would like to walk to and from. The website then:
- Produces a map of the most direct route
- Calculates the distance of the route, the time it takes to walk, the calorie burn achieved if the route was walked and C02 emissions avoided if undertaking the same route by car.