Wetlands Australia National Wetlands Update February 2013
Issue No. 22, February 2013
Pictures worth a thousand words - a guide to pictorial conceptual modelling for wetland managers and scientists
Jan Tilden, Lana Baskerville and Maria Vandergragt, Queensland Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts. Hsuan Lammers and Mike Ronan, Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.
Pictorial conceptual modelling has been developed as a suite of knowledge visualisation practices to help ensure that scientific knowledge is used for greater benefit to people and the environment. With this broad aim in mind, pictorial conceptual models (PCMs) aid communication among natural resource managers, scientists and the community, especially in environmental management.
The process behind creating these lively scientific pictures is just as important as the pictures themselves. Across sectors and disciplines, scientists and other stakeholders collaborate to synthesise the science that underpins the models, often participating in the drawing exercise itself. A good process engages people and all voices will be heard. If the sources of information are systematically recorded and validated, the result is new synthesised science with a wide audience appeal.
This process is the focus of a new guide to pictorial conceptual modelling compiled by a group of scientists and communication practitioners working for the Queensland Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts under the Queensland Wetlands Program (the Program).
The Program, along with affiliated Queensland Government agencies and other stakeholders, has used pictorial conceptual modelling very effectively for communicating wetland science to decision makers. Some resulting products include:
- The Queensland Wetlands Program typology models
- Wetland conceptual model case studies
- Wetland Rehabilitation Guidelines for the Great Barrier Reef catchment
'Pictures Worth a Thousand Words: a Guide to Pictorial Conceptual Modelling' - available on WetlandInfo - shares experiences of those connected to the Program in advancing the use of this powerful and practical communication tool.
While the new guide was developed to support wetland ecosystem science and management in Queensland, its methods are equally applicable to other environments and localities. The guide examines pictorial conceptual modelling as it relates to modelling more generally. It explores the use of PCMs to inform wetland management and engage the broader wetland community. A step-by-step process is presented, along with flow charts and checklists for managing each step.
Lake Broadwater filling - an example of a pictorial conceptual model.
(Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage)