Evaluating Narrative in Geoportals for Territorial Public Policies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To do territorial planning, we need several maps referring to different layers of information necessary to represent the territory according to a vast set of variables. At the Portuguese municipal level, the municipal master plan (PDM – plano diretor municipal) is the territorial management tool responsible for long-term territorial planning and ordering. Since the PDM will constrain the citizens’ lives, it should be of easy access and interpretation. However, due to its large amount of information, it is often hard for them to understand what is presented using only static cartographic elements. Comparing 60 Web sites that present geographical information for a wider public, we found that narrative, visual, and interactive elements and data presentation in flexible portions with the necessary information for partitioning, browsing, or querying made the data more engaging. This flexibility is particularly important with large data sets, where decreasing the level of complexity is vital for proper understanding and analysis. We found that geoportals dedicated to territorial public policies lack narrative elements that would improve comprehension. Since it is difficult for the general public to understand the strategy the municipality wants to implement, the desired public participation, although possible, will return poor results.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-319
Number of pages17
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Data visualization
  • Local planning
  • Map design
  • Public participation
  • Storytelling
  • Territorial public policies
  • Visual narrative
  • Web map


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