Maps in Action
Maps help churches engage community31/08/2012
The starting point
In 2008, NCLS Research was tasked to develop a community engagement resource for more than 7,000 churches from 22 denominations across Australia.
Their solution was to develop highly visual and easy-to-use Community Social Profiles (CSP) of the area surrounding each church, to help church leaders better understand and connect with their communities.
NCLS required maps of the area surrounding each church, which could be used as a basis to link Census data and information obtained through Church Life Surveys of local churches.
MapData Services sourced base map data through RoadNet Presentation, a database of street centrelines, attributed with names and road type.
The resulting Community Social Profiles highlight several topics relevant to church ministries in a series of thematic maps, visualising relevant community information such as age, education, cultural background, income and housing.
The bottom line
MapData Services’ RoadNet Presentation map enabled Census data relevant to ministry planning to be put into a geographic context. For example, NCLS can now generate a map displaying where concentrations of families with children under five live in their local area.
By presenting data in the visual format of a map, local church leaders can gain a clearer understanding of their local community and focus ministerial attention on specific local needs.