WHAT IS “FUTURE MAPPING”
Future Mapping is a project by Earth.Org that aims to repurpose complex scientific data related to rising sea levels by developing fact-based analysis and interactive data-driven infographics to stimulate public engagement for educational and advocacy purposes.
The overarching goal is to alert the consciousness of the general public to the dangers of rising sea levels and aid in the development of effective long-term and economically sustainable solutions by supplying reliable and impactful data.
Although factual and observational data are being harnessed and climatic-oceanographic metrics collected on a large scale, the scientific community agrees there is still more work to be done to effectively measure and predict current trends with regards to rising sea-levels.
Even so, much more can be done with the existing data sets than how they are currently being utilised. Current forecast models are detail heavy and lack user interactivity. Available coastal vulnerability indexes lack zest and are often aimed at an expert audience rather than for public dissemination.
OECD countries national preparedness and disaster-risk reduction (DRR) strategies do from time to time incorporate rising sea levels as risk variables, occasionally providing useful forecasting tools as in the case of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Coastal Resilience Mapping Portal in the United States. That is not the case for most developing countries, even if the data is available.
The global debate is consequently ill-informed. The general public suffers from paucity of reliable, quotable, easily-graspable information.
Future Mapping wants to obviate to this shortcoming by supplying fun, accurate and gripping maps, easily quotable by media outlets, third-party platforms for public awareness campaigns.
Future Mapping is concerned with evangelising scientific facts on rising sea-levels. By facilitating the nexus between high-level expert-led conversations and the general public, Future Maps acts as a communication catalyst, condensing and propagating complex ideas borrowed from the ivory towers for the benefit of a larger and equally concerned audience.
Initial emphasis shall focus on the effects of rising sea-levels on densely inhabited coastal cities with low elevation like Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, Daka, Doha, Shanghai, Osaka, New York and Rio de Janeiro.
The 20 world cities with the highest number of people at risk from flooding, accounting for future climate and socioeconomic change. Source: OECD
Collected data is expected to highlight the adverse effects of rising sea-levels on coastal urban centres with poor defensive positions and infrastructure. Through a savvy use technology, the end user will have a selection or a combination of the following:
- Immersive and dramatic visual experiences depicting future scenarios
- Long-term opportunity to intelligently engage with the data by creating accounts and multi-function platforms
- Real-time countdowns or data aggregation from third-party platforms
- Comparative visual benchmarks across countries and cities
- 3D / Augmented Reality or Virtual Reality renderings (at a later stage)
- Exposure to gripping plain-vanilla two-dimensional charts (easily integratable in long texts or scientific dissemination articles)
- Data sheets for handover
The process of data acquisition, processing, simplification and amplification of the message will be led by a qualified expert in the field of environmental sciences and be supported by a team of graphic designers (2-3 initially) and one communication manager with direct experience of new media outlets and a preferable exposure to environmental policy circuits.
Data will be exclusively acquired from or freely provided by internationally recognised and reputable sources like Universities’ Department of Marine Studies, Research Institutes, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), and other accredited third parties.
Partnerships with any of the aforementioned research-oriented institutions will be considered should the process of data-acquisition be facilitated by forging links with said institutions.
Existing exposure, vulnerability and impact assessments shall be marshalled to produce plausible future projections. Data shall be conformant to the guidelines issued by the intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Future Mapping, as project directed by Earth.Org, will be based out of Hong Kong, where it can benefit from office space and equipment made available by subsidiary Tedder Office ventures.