NatGeo's Global Action Atlas Connects People and Projects Around The World
The Global Action Atlas, a new online portal from National Geographic, allows visitors to explore environmental, humanitarian, and cultural projects around the world with an interactive map interface. The site integrates social networking and provides a pathway for recruiting advocates, donors, and volunteers. Well beyond sticking pushpins on a map, this portal aims to "connect people and planet."
There are plenty of sites on the Web showing projects or organizations as popups on a map. What makes the GAA different from other geographical galleries of good causes is the tight integration with social media tools. Organizations within the platform can post updates, photographs, and more. The site encourages users to create accounts and offers Facebook Connect integration as well as easy-sharing tools for Google Reader, LinkedIn, Twitter, and more. Users can become fans of a project within the GAA platform itself, following updates made by the project's staff.
This geographic platform definitely provides a way to connect with - and to - people working on allied issues in various parts of the world. Though currently in beta, GAA has tons of projects listed already, categorized by issue. Issues are sorted into six primary categories: conservation, humanitarian, cultures, exploration, climate change, and energy. Users can choose to view projects within specific categories, in specific regions of the world or by searching a global map.
In addition to its advocacy and sharing tools, the site offers an interesting streamlined donation system, provided by GlobalGiving. When viewing a project's profile, a "donate" link is prominently displayed, taking supporters to an integrated donation page on the GAA site. This allows site members to easily track their donations in aggregate. In addition to donations, organizations can presumably customize "action" links on their GAA project page: one example I saw linked to the organization's own supporter merchandise e-commerce site.
As mentioned earlier, the project is still in beta. I'm very anxious to see where this project goes, and how organizations can put themselves on the map.