*Update – there’s a rough map prototype running here, or click on “Happiness Map” at the top*

Update 2 – listen in from 50 mins here to hear me talk about the map on BBC Radio Wales, and read about it and watch a short video on WalesOnline.co.uk

I’ve recently thinking about which areas of Cardiff and its surroundings that I would like to live in. I have lots of friends all over the city, and they all have varying experiences. I wondered how easy it would be to map this stuff, and also what questions to ask. And that’s where I need your help…

It got me thinking about the process of finding out where people enjoy living, and the possible automation of it all. As anyone who knows me knows, I’m not a coder, but have enough technical knowledge that I can just about operate WordPress… ;-)

So, what would be the easiest/cheapest way of mapping people’s satisfaction with where they live in Cardiff, or any other city?

It would arguably be possible to analyse social media, based on location and keywords, but that would take huge amounts of time and coding/analysis. Or you could generate an online survey to ask people about their satisfaction with where they live, and then map the results. The second option seems more logical to me, but could that be automated easily (with no little/no coding knowledge)?

I’m not really too worried about the broad socio-economic factors that contribute to a lot of this stuff. I think they’re too deep and complex. You’d expect the quality of life, and therefore broad life satisfaction, of people who live in prosperous Radyr to be better than those who live in Tremorfa. And there’s too many factors involved that I’m not qualified to evaluate. I’m effectively trying to establish how happy people are with where they live, rather than their lives in general. It’s not about happy they are, but how happy they are with where they live.

If you were to do a survey, values taken (e.g. scored 1-10) could include “How much do you like your neighbours?”, “How convenient is it to live where you do?”, “Are you happy with your house/flat?”, along with a postcode. I’m happy to do this manually if necessary, as I’m only looking for a broad overview. I suppose more than anything I’m looking for a way to automate the plotting of that data to the map without any heavy tech knowledge required.

I envisage the resulting map of the city to have some visual representation of the aggregate “scores” that everyone gave, plotted against the postcodes. One example of how it might look….


So, my questions are:

  • What platforms, if any, could I use to automate this?
  • What would be the best data to collect, and in what format?
  • What simple questions (to which their could be a numerical response?) would you ask to ascertain how happy someone is with their street/neighbourhood?
  • What would make this map useful or interesting to you?

Any thoughts very gratefully received in the comments below!