• Search

Atlas CareMap

“As an immigrant, with the rest of my family far away, I always thought that I was alone. But in drawing my CareMap I realized how close I am to the people I work with. They’re not just co-workers, they’re friends … in fact they’re ‘family’. I am not alone. It was amazing to discover this!”

Who do you care for—and who cares for you?

A diagram of relationships, connections and interactions, an Atlas CareMap illustrates the often invisible threads that bind us to others: both those who we are closest to, and those who we may have only a passing relationship with.

The Atlas CareMap shows relationships of care: any sort of relationship you have with another person where you give or receive help, support, or advice. These relationships can be with family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and even pets. Creating your own Atlas CareMap will help you take notice of these relationships.

Many have found that an Atlas CareMap helps them better understand their current situation, plan for potential difficulties, manage the many people involved, identify missing people and services, and communicate with everyone. In addition, visualizing the care ecosystem with the Atlas CareMap often helps people appreciate what is working well, and take note of what isn’t.

Different symbols are used to represent different types of people and organizations in your care ecosystem. There are stick figures representing family members and friends, circles for pets, and squares and triangles to represent services and professionals. You’re free to use your artistic skills to expand on these basics.

The drawing is designed to emphasize presence. People who live nearby are in the middle of the page, while those far away are on the edges. Arrows of different sorts show how frequently someone provides support, with the heavier arrows showing frequent care.

As circumstances change over time, sometimes overnight, an Atlas CareMap depicts a situation at a point in time. People often redraw their maps as things change. Many have drawn maps of the past, to better understand what had happened, and of the future, to plan for what might happen.

Impact Stories

“Until I saw my CareMap on paper I was unaware of how large, interconnected and mutually supportive my circle is. It made me incredibly grateful. This simple tool has application for anyone individually but also for projects or work that will require collaboration with other organizations.”

“When I first drew my CareMap, my grandma was far away and I noticed that she was calling me but I never gave her any love back. I started to call my grandma weekly, and I learned about the pets she has and the neighbors she hangs out with. Now my CareMap has a thicker line between me and my grandma.”

“I’ve always been proud of all I do to care for others, professionally, in the community, and with my family, and always thought of myself as self-reliant. My voice is hoarse right now because I put so much energy into coaching a teenage boys lacrosse team. Drawing my CareMap made me realize that those boys actually do so much for me. I’d never thought of myself as a care receiver. This was so eye-opening!”


BASIC: Atlas CareMap instructions, including Data Collection and Data Drawing templates and questions for reflection, can be found on pages 4–9 of the Mapping Ourselves workbook.

IN-DEPTH: Atlas CareMapping on the Weave Learning Center is a 5-part, self-paced program to discover and strengthen your bonds of love and care. It includes many exercises to see care in everyday life, to learn to draw your own Atlas CareMap, and to then use your map to explore and deepen your connections and to plan for the future. You can also share your discoveries and reflections with other members of the Weave community, and learn from others.

Additional Resources

Introductory Videos


Atlas CareMap Webapp

You can draw also draw an Atlas CareMap online at [temporarily unavailable]. Note: Based on extensive experience, we strongly suggest you first learn to draw Atlas CareMaps by hand.

The most important benefits of the webapp are: easy editing; include more details about the people involved and the types of support they provide; view the map in different ways, by choosing characteristics to emphasize; seeing changes over time; and making it easy to print and share.

Technology Requirements: A computer or tablet with an up-to-date OS and modern web browser (Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Edge). Some functions may not work properly with older software.

Two Booklets

Published in 2019, these two booklets provide detailed instructions for learning and teaching Atlas CareMaps.

The book “Seeing the Invisible: Strengthening your care ecosystem with Atlas CareMaps” (download here) provides several example maps, and includes one example showing step-by-step how it was drawn that you can follow as you draw your own. The book also provides advice on how to share your map with your family, and how to use the Atlas CareMap webapp.


“Sparking Transformative Conversations: Using Atlas CareMaps to strengthen families and communities” Download for a comprehensive guide on how to teach Atlas CareMaps in your community (whether neighbors, employees, patients, etc.), and to nurture conversations that unleash community wisdom.

Except where noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.