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SEI working paper

Visualizing connections: Mapping the landscape of adaptation research and practice through weADAPT

This working paper describes a collaborative project to visually map climate change adaptation research and networks based on semantic tagging in weADAPT.


Bharwani, S., M. Rastall, B. Smith, A. Salamanca, A. Nugroho, H. Nguyen, O. Yila and S. Noel (2015). Visualizing connections: Mapping the landscape of adaptation research and practice through weADAPT. SEI Working Paper No. 2015-08.

Information and communications technology (ICT) has transformative potential in several key areas in sustainable development, and is already facilitating multi-stakeholder engagement, knowledge exchange and capacity-building. This paper describes the Climate Actor Mapping for Adaptation (CAMA) project, which built on a collaboration with Sciences Po médialab in Paris, known for its innovative approach to “controversy mapping”.

The project combined semantic tagging in weADAPT with innovative visualization techniques developed by Sciences Po to generate new insights about climate adaptation research and practice. The work was based on the dataset of adaptation projects maintained by weADAPT, along with project information from SEI’s Africa and Asia Centres, as outlined on the SEI website and in SEI’s internal Planning, Monitoring, Evaluation and Communication (PMEC) system.

By identifying patterns in the data, we can learn to ask better questions. The participatory nature of such mapping exercises, including user engagement and feedback elicited at different stages of map development to test and refine the maps, can provide valuable insights. This process also helps increase ownership of the analysis and visualizations by participants. Such an approach has potential application in a wide range of sustainable development contexts and would significantly strengthen SEI’s toolkit for engaging and communicating with different stakeholders.

Download the working paper (PDF, 6.1MB)

See high-resolution versions of key figures (pop-up windows):
Figure 3: ‘Hot topics’ in content shared by organizations on weADAPT in 2013
Figure 4: Other active organizations on weADAPT (excluding SEI and main partners)
Figure 6: ‘Hot topics’ in content shared by organizations on weADAPT in 2014
Figure 10: Geographic coverage of issues by country on weADAPT, 2013
Figure 16: Key research topics in SEI’s work in Southeast Asian countries
Figure 20: SEI’s adaptation research in Africa, by country and organizations involved
Figure 22: Key areas of research for SEI in East Africa

SEI authors

Sukaina Bharwani

Senior Research Fellow and weADAPT Director

SEI Oxford

Albert Salamanca
Albert Salamanca

Senior Research Fellow

SEI Asia

Profile picture of Agus Nugroho
Agus Nugroho

Programme Manager

SEI Asia

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