Mapping: A Skill for the Future
There is no denying the impact that the environment – natural and manmade – has on human development, economic development, and health. Just think about recent natural and manmade disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and Deepwater Horizon oil spill, recent studies on the impact of the built environment on crime and physical activity, and studies on the relationship of the distance to the nearest health facility and health outcomes of a particular community.
When speaking of the environment, maps often come to mind. According to John Tierney, “[Maps] help us get around, see where we're going, get a sense of what's out there beyond our immediate vision, and so forth. For centuries, people have found maps useful in those ways.” Today, the usefulness of maps has expanded. For many of us, maps are an easier way to understand often complex data. A map can help us to better understand a situation and more effectively and efficiently plan programs and services, advocate for more resources for specific geographic-depressed areas, and raise awareness to important issues.
Better understand a situation
The map on the right helps the reader digest a number of different statistics at once and also to see how they vary across Mozambique. It allows comparison of related statistics such as numbers of maternal deaths and causes of death (Singh et al, 2014).