'Mapping' recalls the immediateness of charts, maps and visualizations as tools through which humans have always attempted to position themselves in the world, get orientations and offer interpretations for events and situations. Visual representations allow to organize knowledge, process complex information, explore and compare data; but they also foster imagination and invite exploration of uncharted spaces.
Investigating global media policy through visual mapping can help trace the development of policy debates and arrangements, explore the interconnectedness of themes that compose policy discourses, and investigate networks of interaction among people, organizations and controversial issues.
To this end, in-built tools in the GMP Platform allow for the immediate transformation of the explored datasets into visual representations, through an approach that is consistent with how data is gathered and organized. A multi-faceted analysis of database content is made possible through visual options that concentrate on:
- Features of profiles in the dataset: Visualization modes such as Sunburst or Dendogram point out attributes of data, such as category, type, and related themes. This kind of visual option has the potential of outlining and emphasizing compositional peculiarities of the explored dataset.
- Connections between profiles in the dataset: Visualization modes such as Arc and Force help uncover connections amongst profiles, outlining internal connections; thematic commonalities; joint participation in policy process. This kind of visual option has the potential of recognizing and emphasizing structural peculiarities of the explored dataset.
Current Tools and Further Development
Currently the main entry point for visualizing information are the thematic sections in the platform, accessible from: http://www.globalmediapolicy.net/sections. Once you select a section and scroll to the bottom of the page, different visualization options are suggested and shortly described to clarify what you will be able to see through each different visual. You have the option of creating an overview of all the components that belong to a section (Sunburst and Dendogram), and you can create network maps that show the connections between those components (Arc and Force).
The next steps in the development of visual tools will be to improve the existing tools and to add more tools (e.g., geo maps). Further, all these tools will be made available not just for sections but for other parts of the platform, such as the search page, allowing you to visualize the results of, for example, a keyword search.