I have begun a project which seeks to geographically identify all of the non-governmental organizations that are currently existent in the world. Having worked on data and with information related to NGOs, I have come to realize the importance of understanding not only the work they do but also their geographic location. By identifying on a map where NGOs are located, valuable patterns begin to appear. This allows other NGOs to identify the work being done in particular areas of interest across the world and to have access to the resources and expertise of other NGOs. A visual representation of non-profit work across the world is an incredible resource for understanding the patterns of behavior of individuals across the world and the influence that NGOs have had, are having, or could have on those patterns and circumstances.

Because it is an extensive project which requires collecting a large amount of data and consolidating that data in order to make it usable, I have started my project by focusing on NGOs in South America. Some of the data I have found and incorporated into maps has provided  interesting findings. With hopes of consolidating the data for every single country/region of the world, I can only assume that the visual information that will come from this data will yield even more significant and interesting findings. The long-term approach to my project divides the world into 16 different regions: (1) South America, (2) Central America, (3) Northern America, (4) Western Africa, (5) Central Africa, (6) Eastern Africa, (7) Southern Africa, (8) Australia and Oceania, (9) Southeast Asia, (10) Eastern Asia, (11) Central Asia, (12) Western Asia, (13) Eastern Europe, (14) Northern Europe, (15) Western Europe, (16) Southern Europe. Within each of these regions, I will provide a link to Mappler as an interactive tool for visualizing NGOs in each region as well a summary of the countries in each of these regions. From this I will develop on my project by beginning to analyze the GIS (Geographic Information Systems) tools that are being used by NGOs across the world and how these tools and methods have contributed to their work.

As my project evolves, I hope to gain a valuable understanding of the work that NGOs do and can be doing with the geographic data and statistical data that I have collected and consolidated. Some questions I will think about as I continue my research are: Are NGOs located in particular countries for strong, identifiable reasons? Are there any clear patterns that arise from my data and maps? Is the work being done by NGOs in each of these regions effective? Is the data I have collected a useful tool in making NGO work more efficient and collaborative? Are there any potential negative consequences to collecting this data and identifying these NGOs?

 

Picture Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/20654187@N03/2017719477/

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