Step 2: Observe

Observe and Explore Your Community While Making A Community Map

This resource is part of the Roots & Shoots Toolkit and can be used separately or combined with the other activities in the toolkit.

Community mapping practices many types of research including observation, internet, and print media searches, as well as interviews with family, friends and community leaders who become collaborators with you on your efforts.


  • Introspective
  • Empathetic
  • Collaborates & Communicates Openly
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Each tool will guide you from making observations to identifying an issue that your service project will aim to solve.

Community Mapping 101

Get your paper and pens ready.
Community Mapping 101

Go Digital!

You can also map your community using ESRI ArcGIS or Google My Maps
Digital Mapping Guides

Mapping with Young Children

If you're hoping to map your community with younger children, check out this resource!
Mapping with Younger Children


How well do you know where you live? Explore as a family by creating a community map to re-discover your neighborhood and the places you inhabit.


Group members take a few minutes to reflect on what they learned about their community while mapping. Taking time to articulate and share new thoughts will help solidify their lessons learned. Set aside 5 minutes completing the mapping exercise to lead this reflection activity.

  1. Group members turn to the person nearest them and each person shares:
    1. One new thing they discovered about their community.
    2. How they feel about their community after mapping it.
    3. One thing they would like to do to help their community.
  2. Group rejoins and volunteers are invited to share with the group what they discussed for each topic.

Translate Your Map into a Project

Still not sure how your map can help you discover a project? Use our Community Mind Mapping activity to uncover all the differences you can make in your community!
Community Mind Mapping


What is it like to be a family in your community? Share what it's like to live in your neighborhood and discuss each person's individual response.
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