This is a developing map of the key interests in the fictional London borough of Slipham, created using Personal networks
The map shown here is dynamic - you can play with it to find out how it works, but you can’t damage it. Here are a few of the things you can do:
1 The page will open with a “Kumu” map (this may take a few seconds to download and will show the Kumu tree logo while this is happening). Once the map opens, it will show the map on the right hand side of the screen and a general, scrollable description in a sidebar on the left. Click in any white space on the map and then hit “tab” to toggle this sidebar. Scrolling the sidebar will show a list of organisations, community groups and key individuals on the map. Hovering on a description will take you to that node on the map and clicking on it will take you to the sidebar containing information for that node.
2 Each node sidebar contains:
3 Network maps seem very complex at first. In a map of many nodes, it becomes impossible to trace links easily and to define patterns. There are however, ways of exploring the map. Click on a node to highlight it. Then press the “1” key. This will show all the nodes that are directly connected to the highlighted node. Now press “2” - and you will be shown all nodes that are within two steps of the highlighted node. Continue to use the number keys to step out from the original node. This is useful in finding your way through the morass of connections. Click on the little blue symbol that appears at the top right of the screen and then press “clear” in the menu that appears to return to the whole map.
4 You can search the map by pressing the “s” key and typing in the name of a node into the search bar at the top of the map. That will highlight the node and take you to it. You can also perform more complex searches based on the information in nodes. For example you could ask Kumu to display only those nodes that have premises and are skilled in training. To do this, click on the little rocketship symbol at the right of the search bar and create the appropriate rule or set of rules. Pressing Use Selector will return you to the map and highlight the nodes selected.
5 The map is not just a visualisation. It can be analysed using the concept of centrality. This refers to the potential of a node to influence or spread information because of its position in the network. Several metrics are shown at the bottom of the information in a node sidebar:
The map below shows how a person’s network may change as they pass from late middle age into older age. It was developed for the Centre for Ageing Better as part of a review of the way that digital technology might be able to help older people. Mary’s persona is one of six developed by IpsosMORI in research commissioned by The Centre.
The right hand of the screen will appear blank until you click on a year shown at botton left. Start with the year 2000. This show the relationships surrounding Mary in late middle age. She is married to Bob who works at Rigson’s Engineering. Clicking on Bob’s node gives his description. Various family members and friends are also shown.
Now click on year 2005. The map changes to show how Mary’s situation has changed after Bob’s death. Her connections to Bob’s friends at Rigson’s are diminished while she has tried to keep herself active and connected through joining a bowling club and a walking group.
Click on the other years to see Mary’s progress and note how her arthritis has caused her to leave the new activities and how her network becomes more populated by agencies and paid help.
Maps like this can be linked to higher level network maps (like the Slipham map above). They are useful in exploring the social connectivity of an individual, how joined up the support services are.