Commons Atlas Project Update

May 20, 2013 CommonSpark Uncategorized

With consideration given to feedback from allies in the commons movement, CommonSpark has refined the scope of its first project for the Commons Library. We feel the most valuable thing we can contribute to the movement at this time is to help people see the commons, so we have begun building a Commons Atlas.

The Commons Atlas will share commons-related data visualizations, and include a directory of resources for sharing communities: best practices, strategy, and threats. “Data visualization” includes geographical maps, network maps, charts, graphs, timelines, and infographics.  In the longer term, we also contemplate providing some means to create visualizations on line.  (This is a substantial technical challenge, so we will start out recommending sites with data sets and tool kits).

The Austin-based CommonSpark team is using a modified agile process. Agile processes focus on short sprints that move incrementally and flexibly toward a larger goal. We have been using an online collaboration tool called Trello which greatly simplifies our work and allows us to work together both in person and remotely.

Here’s a brief outline of the process we are currently engaged in:

  1. Create an exhaustive list of different types of people doing valuable things at the Commons Atlas website.

  2. Identify organizations whose websites enable effective ways for users to take similar actions and explain why we think what they do works well.

  3. Rate each item according to how valuable it is, how unique it is, how technologically easy it is to create.

  4. Prioritize the items and identify what gets developed first, second, third, and so  on.

  1. Create a website design functional requirements document that developers can use to create the Commons Atlas website.

  2. Choose one of the items, identify the technology that will get us there, and get it done.

  3.  Test.

  4. Repeat steps 6 & 7 until we reach our goal.

We’re currently finishing up item #3. We will begin working on item #4 at our next work session on May 28.

Living in Austin has a great many benefits, including an abundance of green spaces, water, music, and creative people.  Once we are ready we want to collaborate with the geek community which regularly stages meet ups to get important civic and community work accomplished.

We continue to seek allies to help us develop our ideas for the Commons Atlas into an exquisitely useful tool for the commons movement and the greater unnamed movement to create a livable future. We invite you to connect and collaborate and become part of the team to design, build and manage the commons that is the Commons Atlas.


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