UBC Undergraduate Research

Interactive map of the UBC food system Feng, Alice; Hilton, Kelsey; McLeod, Shelby; Su, Aireen; Wong, Nathan


In the face of current environmental challenges, it is imperative to change our consumption behaviors and attitudes towards an ecologically compatible approach. Through purchases and resource consumption, consumers can have a variety of indirect and direct effects on the environment. Informing consumers of the availability and accessibility of green products in their community encourages green consumerism. While UBC aims to be a global leader in sustainability, it currently lacks a map outlining sustainable food initiatives available on campus. To fill this knowledge gap, we developed the designs and concepts for an online interactive UBC sustainable food systems map. Our objectives were to identify the essential components of UBC’s sustainable food system and to conceive the designs and concepts for a visually engaging, functional, interactive map. To achieve our stated goals, we conducted extensive literature reviews, qualitative observations and key informant interviews to develop our map design and concepts, learn cartography principles as well as determine the map’s essential components. Through our research we found a number of interactive food system maps from other North American universities and drew from those examples to design our ideal map. The UBC Sustainable Food Guide (2011) helped us identify sustainable food outlets on campus. From the original list of outlets described in the guide, we improved upon their outlet descriptions and made new additions. Ultimately, we recommended the use of OpenStreet map (2013) as the base for the interactive map as well as the use of layers, and universally recognized icons to describe the variety of sustainable initiatives available. Key recommendations for stakeholders include methods for ensuring the reliability of the map, promoting it, as well as the possibility for future expansion. Further implications of the significance of the map are also discussed. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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