Cartographic Representations of the Third Sector – an exploratory exercise

This research report expands upon the Centre for Social Justice’s proposal to develop an online, searchable map that shows both organisations in the UK’s third sector and the geographic and intra-sectoral areas in which they work.

    • ArcGIS Online is used to demonstrate the possibilities for an online, third sector map.
    • Interviews with practitioners from Emmaus Colchester, Macmillan Cancer Support, Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action (OCVA) and Henley Stroke Club give insight towards both the benefits of such a map and its feasibility.
    • Benefits that could occur include fewer gaps in service provision and providing greater exposure to unregistered, ‘below the radar’ groups.
    • However, methodological issues such as the poor availability of data hinder its creation. It is also important to recognise that no map is neutral…all maps represent the thoughts and ideologies of the creator.


Research participants, OCVA, covered the report as part of their “Data for Good” project that was launched in 2015. Led by Trevor Barton, the project looked to not only open up OCVA’s own data, but develop a schema for any group wishing to publish VCS / nonprofit data. OpenVCS can be found on Github.

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