Many networks want to generate network maps but don’t have the resources and/or time to invest in computer software of web-based mapping platforms. A consultant to help you generate these types of maps can cost $5-10,000 and take up to three months to survey and map your network.
There is another alternative and I encourage networks to try it. This is to produce simple network maps using Post It notes or by drawing on a large piece of paper.
We have compiled a new free resource module that includes directions for 5 different processes for mapping your network.The direction sheet can help you figure out which process is best for your network. Each set of directions also includes questions you can ask the group to help them analyze and make sense of the map or maps they generate.
The pictures below show examples of many different groups and give you a sense of how different the maps can look!
Although hand drawn maps do not have the detail and nuance of web-based network maps, they do help people visualize their network and start to take responsibility for making their networks healthier and more effective. They can see who is missing and reach out to invite in under represented groups. They can notice if one person or a small group is too central and has become a bottleneck or gatekeeper. They can see types of groups or organizations that are not well-connected.