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3 ways that maps can help your organization

Many of my clients over the years have been local non-profit groups, NGOs, industry organizations, and small and large businesses.

From planning, to marketing, to education - there are so many ways that my clients have used maps. Sometimes they have a vague idea that a map might help them communicate their ideas more clearly, so we have a conversation and figure out the best way to do that.

1. Planning

Non-profit organizations use maps to help with internal planning of program delivery. For example, the Strong Start literacy organization has maps to help them plan expansion of their literacy program. They work with volunteers in school boards across Ontario and need to coordinate training activities in multiple locations.

Businesses that offer delivery of their products use maps to plan the most efficient routes, or to divide a city or region into areas for multiple delivery zones.

Moran Towing uses two different kinds of maps: customized interactive maps to show their locations; downloadable PDF maps of each port showing docks, bridges, and towing zones, to help their customers plan routes. 

2. Education

Many types of organizations use maps to educate:

  • NGOs (non-governmental organizations) include maps in their reports to help illustrate complex topics such as global conflicts, environmental issues, etc.
  • schools have large wall maps to help teach geography and history
  • non-profit organizations use maps to help the community locate services they need. The Waterloo Region Food Bank has an interactive Community Food Assistance Map. I didn't create this, but it's a good example of this type of map - and an important service offered in many communities.
  • industries/sectors use maps to help educate their potential customers. Wine Terroir has a website and social media channels to educate people about wines, and includes maps in their podcasts

3. Marketing

Any time you stay in a hotel you'll see a rack of brochures for businesses, attractions, walking tours, etc.

  • non-profit tourism marketing organizations add maps to visitor guides to showcase local and regional attractions
  • tour companies often include route maps of the stops on their tours
  • in some cities you'll find free large folding maps that are sponsored by businesses, with ads around the map. This free resource to tourists also helps drive customers to those businesses.
  • many businesses include interactive or static location maps on their websites or brochures to help customers find them, or show service areas - think of coverage areas for telecoms or ISPs
  • real estate maps highlight the amenities of an area for prospective buyers

Some of these map purposes overlap - a map can be used for planning and education, or for education and marketing, etc.. But it's important to know the main purpose for your map because that drives the design.

Brochure templates

If printed or downloadable brochures are part of your marketing plan and you have your own designer, I'm offering free PDF templates to help you get started. There are a few templates in letter, legal, and tabloid size.

Let me know if you're interested in a template but don't see the size you need. I can create one and add it.

Some past projects

In case you missed it, I published a blog post highlighting some of the ways non-profits have used maps. I linked to some of them in this newsletter, but there are more in the blog. And here are some past projects with businesses that may be covered in future blog posts.

Map of wine regions in FranceMap of Flower Growers in British ColumbiaMap of Upper Richton neighbourhood in Houston

I hope that the information in this newsletter has given you some ideas on how you can use maps in your organization to plan, educate, and market to your customers and clients. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or want some advice on how a map can help your organization.

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