sMap is a fun and engaging on-line mapping tool that allows users to individually or collectively create maps in a common map gallery. sMap allows residents, constituents, community stakeholders, and others to provide map referenced comments – a way for anyone to create a map of “their” community in a gallery that can be viewed by fellow community members. Individual maps can be collectively analyzed or brought into GIS for deeper analysis.
sMap is built on top of Google Maps, a popular and widely used mapping site, and transforms it into a public outreach tool, allowing residents, stakeholders and other participants to provide feedback and comment tied spatially to an area or point. In essence the tool provides a way for any resident to create a map of their community, identifying their own issues, opportunities, weaknesses and threats. The world around us has changed however, and the widespread use of technology is commonplace. While traditional outreach techniques are effective and important, sMap allows “charrette style” participation via the internet by providing the means for anyone from anywhere who has access to a computer to mark up a map, locate priority issues and areas, and create the narrative to go along with their map.