From Emerging Spatial Information Systems and Applications

Lyn Kathlene, Colorado State University, USA
Copyright 2007, Idea Group Inc. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of Idea Group Inc. is prohibited.


This chapter describes and analyzes the effectiveness of two methodological techniques, cognitive mapping and geographical information systems (GIS), for identifying social service resources. It also examines the processes used to integrate hand-drawn map information into geocoded data points and provides recommendations for improving efficiency and precision. As a first step to integrate Jefferson County social service delivery into community-based child welfare "systems of care" (SOC), both formal and informal services had to be identified. Cognitive mapping, a process by which participants draw visual representations of geographical areas, was conducted with 247 participants in Jefferson County, Colorado. Over 3,500 resources were identified and entered into a GIS to analyze the availability, capacity, and distribution of social services in the county and within communities. Identification of community resources via cognitive mapping and GIS analysis provide: (1) a comprehensive database of existing services; (2) a basis to build communication networks and cooperation among government and community providers; (3) the ability to create an efficient system that avoids duplication of efforts: (4) an understanding of the geographical distribution of resources; (5) the identification of resources lacking in the county and specific communities; and (6) knowledge differences among diverse participant groups.


In December, 2003, the Colorado Institute of Public Policy (CIPP) at Colorado State University was contracted by Jefferson County, Colorado, Division of Human...

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