Asset Mapping

Asset mapping, also known as social mapping or resource mapping, is a broad term that represents many different types of mapping process that encourages community involvement with an emphasis on development. Ragan, et al. (2010) of UN-HABITAT program describes asset mapping as “different from other community development processes because it is a participatory planning processes because it is a participatory planning process that takes into account both the physical and social environment.” Safiullin et al. (2014) defines three primary forms of asset mapping:  statistical, anthropological, and network-oriented. Compared to statistical and anthropological maps, network-oriented maps show social entities as well as the connections that they have with the physical environment around them. In general, assets consist of any service provider in a community, thus, mapping can be used as a community development process by allowing communities to identify the assets of their community This encourages mappers to get involved with the service providers mapped. By putting assets on a map, mappers become more aware of what is available than simply discussing services. Social maps are very adaptable, and can serve a wide variety of needs while engaging the community in a manner that can facilitate change made by members of the community.


Research indicates that asset mapping both relies on and draws strength from the direct involvement of community members as partners in the mapping process. Vavilina and Skalaban (2014) reported that “the highest readiness for discussion and activity among the mapping participants came from a module aimed at discussing the problems of the settlement’s population.” Discussion of mappers’ problems builds motivation for the map’s continued use into the future. Vavilina and Skalaban also reported that group mapping sessions encouraged collaboration between mappers and can catch errors or missed data much more effectively than individual sessions. Interactive Community Mapping (ICM) is a mapping method with a focus on community involvement. ICM helps to empower mappers and aid them in becoming leaders in their community by addressing the problems that motivate people to continue mapping. The Open Development Technology Alliance (ODTA)’s model of ICM and its participatory nature allows community members to be heavily involved in the mapping process and those involved learn important skills relevant to leading their community (Shkabatur & Kumagai, 2014). ICM also actively empowers those who partake in the process; the map is something visual, allowing mappers to see what effect their input has. Community involvement is a crucial part in the creation of an asset map that not only increases the value of the map, but also has a wealth of benefits for those involved in making the map.