Participatory Photo Mapping (PPM) Project

Our goal is to use PPM to develop and design collaborative projects and networks to improve health and well-being of communities by strengthening health information systems and sharing that information with community members and [public health] decision-makers.

PPM is a tool for exploring the experience of health and place and for communicating this experience to decision-makers who share a common goal of addressing health. Using Participatory Photo Mapping helps to uncover opportunities and barriers related to using the built environment for daily active living.
PPM includes:
  1. photography (digital or other)
  2. global positioning system (GPS) technology
  3. geographic information systems (GIS) and aerial photographs
  4. narratives and focus groups

Participatory Photo Mapping (PPM) Project

PPM allows you to:
  1. assess both the community and environmental contributions to health, safety, nutrition and well-being,
  2. address peoples' perceptions of their neighborhood environments,
  3. identify environmental factors that impact physical activity,
  4. identify additional environmental supports, social networks and barriers to health, &
  5. present this information to stakeholders, decision-makers in a visual and meaningful way.

Participatory Photo Mapping (PPM) Project

The PPM process has four steps:

Step 1: Provide participants with digital cameras and GPS units and have them take pictures of their neighborhood, documenting routine use of community and recreation environments.
Step 2: These photos become the objects of focus group sessions in which open dialogue creates emerging themes that are attached to particular images. Conduct focus group and narrative sessions where the photographs are projected onto a wall and community people talk about the images and are engaged in exploring perceptions of their neighborhood environment.
Step 3: The images are then geocoded as part of a neighborhood-level geographic information system that includes other demographic and spatial data, such as population, household characteristics and crime statistics, to create a qualitative GIS focused on the experience of community and recreation environments.
Step 4: Use learned knowledge to communicate the information to local decision-makers, such as health professionals, business owners, community organizations, and policy makers.