Legal mapping is a method of analyzing and presenting the law on a particular subject. This scientific, legal mapping analyzes and presents the laws and legislation of a country, a state, or a city. The maps can show the current law or highlight the change in statutes over a specific period.
In other words…
Legal mapping is the process of >> capturing key inherent features and >> identifying how laws, policies, and other jurisdictions and institutional systems change over time in a >> structured way.
Public Health: State Marijuana Impaired Driving Laws
For example, in recent years, a surprising shift has occurred in how states approach the legalization of marijuana.
And since then, new laws on marijuana driving (or impaired driving) are now on the books because an increase in auto collisions nationwide as a consequence of legalization across particular states in the US. So it’s no surprise the number of victims hiring attorneys to sue for car accident is on the rise as a result more drivers driving while impaired.
A legal mapping use case could be mapping car accident / car fatality statistics over individual states with different marijuana impaired driving laws to (visually) and instantly see how state laws are impacting public health and legal suits.
Why Use Legal Mapping: 4 Benefits
Here are four standout benefits to legal mapping and why they are helpful.
1. Synthesizes Data
Legal mapping synthesizes data and creates a single searchable and accessible database for tracking a particular law.
Legal mapping uses the question and answer format (or Q and A) and is sometimes referred to as a “50 state survey.”
Q and A’s are easy-to-read formats that make it easy for stakeholders, such as policymakers, researchers, and the media, to understand a complex set of information fully.
And the easy-to-read format is fundamental when communicating complex and often technical policy information for decision makers to use.
2. Accentuates Interdisciplinary Research
This means it fosters interdisciplinary research and design – sharing methods, tools, and expertise from different fields.
Such dialogue and cooperation must be encouraged between different disciplines, such as law, public health, and science.
3. Tracks Changes Over Time
Previously, most states took a hardline stance against any form of legalized marijuana.
Now, most states have some form of legalization for medical or recreational purposes.
This shift has been driven partly by changing public opinion take on marijuana use, with most Americans now supporting legalization.
4. Creates Transparent and Reliable Visual Data
Once a statistical legal mapping project is complete, legal data gathered can be overlaid with health outcome data.
This “mapping” approach can be used to evaluate whether or not legislation has had any effects on health outcomes.
Legal Mapping Projects
- A worldwide, collaborative project to map–with a combination of expertise and the crowd–what the law is and literally bring it to life.
- Launched in 2015 by by Kimball Dean Parker
Health Law Academy
- The Public Health Law Academy offers free, evidence-based training to public health and other professionals who contribute to the health of the population. This online training was developed by ChangeLab Solutions, the national leader in population health law.
- The public health curriculum can be used for many different jobs, such as those in the fields of public health law, public health education, public health advocacy, etc. In addition, the online trainings can also be pursued by college and university students who want to pursue a career in public health or health law research.