Relief Maps are a methodological tool created by Maria Rodó-Zárate for studying social inequalities from an intersectionality perspective, in three dimensions: the social dimension (positions and identities of gender, social class, ethnicity, age, etc.), geography (places in daily life) and psychology (effects on emotions).

The tool, rooted in intersectional feminist theories and debates on feminist geography, was initially thought to be developed in paper as a useful methodology for qualitative research and training in social sciences. In 2018, Maria Rodó-Zárate with the support of Universitat Oberta de Catalunya designed the first digital version of Relief Maps: an open-access and free tool that allows both qualitative and quantitative analysis and visualization of large sample data. Within the framework of the INTERMAPS project, a new digital tool was developed. It includes a visual way of collecting data on intersectional positions, based on the apple metaphor, a new interactive model for the Relief Maps and, building on feminist, queer, antiracist, decolonial and humanistic perspectives, it also proposes a GIS tool for collecting and visualizing georeferentitated data on the lived experience.

Relief Maps are available to be used not only for social science or health sciences research but also for teaching activities, as a pedagogical tool, and for consulting and management purposes. Relief Maps offers new possibilities for the government sector, organisations working for social change, and enterprises willing to carry out diagnosis and define action plans to better understand and address inequalities.

Maria Rodó-Zárate was awarded the Ramon Molinas Foundation prize for the Relief Maps project as the best social impact initiative at #SpinUOC 2018.


Find out more:

Videos to learn how the tool works, available in English, Spanish and Catalan.

See Maria Rodó-Zárate’s presentation of the Relief Maps project at #SpinUOC2018 here.

For a detailed explanation of the Relief Maps methodology see Rodó-Zárate 2014, 2015, 2017 and related publications.

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