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Mapping Ourselves

Mapping Ourselves: The Practice of Personal Science is an agile program designed to help people see the invisible in their lives – how they are interrelated to each other, what the effects day-to-day living have on a sense of well-being, and how to cultivate a collective capacity to help each other and impact change.

Atlas started with innovative research to better understand family caregivers’ day-to-day lives, to improve support them. We developed a data visualization tool called the Atlas CareMap to help people see their care ecosystems, who cares for who and how in their lives. We also designed a peer to peer workshop experience to facilitate the teaching of the Atlas CareMap and let participants talk with each other about their own situations and learn from each other.

Within these workshops we heard over and over that care giving and receiving was universal: that we all care for and receive care from each other every day through big and small gestures, many of which are invisible.

Care truly is at the heart of a community

The Atlas CareMap has been a widely used and powerful tool for all sorts of people, from second graders to parents of kids with chronic illnesses. Collaborating with Giorgia Lupi at Pentagram Designs, we developed five additional paper-pencil tools. The tools help people see how they are connected, how they show up and maneuver through their days, and how they can collaborate with each other to build more resilient communities of the future.

And so by using scientific methods and data visualization techniques the Mapping Ourselves program helps people engineer care in their lives with more intention.

Building a Sense of Belonging for You and Your Team

A sense of belonging is critical to our times.

It is clear that we need to fundamentally transform how we navigate our world and reconsider how we collectively design our environments to benefit all of our physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

“No matter how big a [nation, organization, or team] is, it is no stronger than its weakest people, and as long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be down there to hold him down, so it means you cannot soar as you might otherwise.” – Marian Anderson

Thousands of people have participated in Atlas workshops. They have come away with a deeper understanding of how care is central to their lives and how acts of giving and receiving care connect us all and impact how we feel about ourselves and our communities.

Mapping Ourselves Program Overview

Mapping Ourselves teaches participants how to use a set of pen-and-paper tools to observe, visualize, and analyze key aspects of care and connection in their lives.

We call this the practice of Personal Science. Informed and continually inspired by the Quantified Self Community as well as by the data visualization artistry of Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec, Personal Science is a practice anyone can use to gain different or deeper insight into different aspects of their lives

Throughout the years, and especially in the last year with the We All Care Initiative in Michigan , we discovered the Mapping Ourselves workshop has many applications . Learn more here .

Mapping Ourselves Includes Six Tools

Instructions for all six tools, as well as Data Collection and Data Drawing templates, can be found in the Mapping Ourselves Workbook.

Click on the tools below to learn more about each one.

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