About the Influence Mapping Group

Helping researchers, journalists, and activists map the role of personal ties and economic interests in politics.

The influence mappers community brings together power cartographers from across the world to…

  • find out what works and what doesn’t in data-driven social network analysis projects,
  • develop standards that can be used to share data across projects, and
  • share technologies that help structure, visualize and analyze influence networks.

Influence mapping — the documenting of relationships between people, organizations, and political processes — has roots in sociological, anthropological, and journalistic methods going back a century. The ability to deploy mapping tools in public, on a large scale, and at relatively low cost, however, is new and only now approaching critical mass in early adopter communities — principally among data journalists and civil society groups.

Why have the Influence Mapping Group?

As with most young technologies, the early days of influence mapping have seen a great deal of parallel innovation. Most projects have followed idiosyncratic paths, drawing on diverse technologies and arriving at as many answers to basic questions about data structure, trust, and analytical methods. As the number of projects has grown, this fragmentation — in our view — has begun to limit the effectiveness of influence mapping efforts in general.

With a few exceptions, projects don’t connect. There are no metadata or API standards for network mapping efforts, no sharing of visualization or analytical tools, and little coordination around the aggregation of data or sharing of development costs. There is, in short, a great deal of unrealized potential.

InfluenceMapping is an effort by this community to take the next step in making mapping a more powerful collaborative enterprise — one that can share data and development costs, bring more analytical power to bear on wider networks, and better engage its key user communities: journalists, researchers, and advocates. The project’s initial focus is standards development and the improvement of sharable toolsets. These are early days and we are very interested in hearing more about community needs.

Who are we?

We're an open community for those interested in influence mapping - anyone is invited to participate and contribute. The initiative was founded and is facilitated by the following core group:


Paola Mosso (@paolamosso) is a Chilean journalist and project manager working on innovative digital projects on transparency and data analysis. She has worked as a project manager for Poderomedia Foundation and has led its training program, Poderomedia Academy, since its beginning on 2013. Through her work in Poderomedia, she contributed to several projects, particularly in “Map of Media and Media Ownership”, an investigation that took place in Chile and Colombia. Paola is interested in gender issues, privacy and sustainability models for social organizations. Currently, she is collaborating with Latin American NGO’s on training in digital skills, creating digital products and finding the best ways to reach their communities with the support of online tools.


Kevin Connor (@kvnc) is the director of the Public Accountability Initiative, a nonprofit research organization focused on corporate and government accountability, and co-founder of PAI’s flagship research site, LittleSis.org. LittleSis (the opposite of “Big Brother”) is a free, online database of information on powerful people and organizations. Before co-founding LittleSis.org and PAI, Kevin worked as a researcher at SEIU 1199.


Joe Karaganis (@jjkaraganis) is Vice President at The American Assembly. His work focuses on the regulation of the knowledge economy, and has recently included research on intermediary liability, broadband adoption, and media piracy. His recent work includes Media Piracy in Emerging Economies (2011) and Copy Culture in the US and Germany (2013). Current projects include the ‘Takedown Project’ and the ‘Open Syllabus Project’. Prior to joining the American Assembly, he was a program director at the Social Science Research Council in New York.


Friedrich Lindenberg (@pudo) is a coder and data journalist working on web technology for new narrative and investigative techniques. He was an 2014 ICFJ Knight International Journalism Fellow with Code for Africa, and a 2013 Knight-Mozilla OpenNews Fellow at Spiegel Online. Previously, he contributed to various projects at the Open Knowledge Foundation, including OpenSpending, a platform that helps citizens across the world keep track of government finance.


James McKinney (@mckinneyjames) is Open North‘s Executive Director. Prior to assuming leadership of Open North, he was an early contributor to Montréal Ouvert – a citizen initiative to promote open access to civic information. He is an active voice in the Canadian open government and open data communities. James uses technology to promote open government, online citizenship and participatory democracy. He is a frequent contributor to government and corporate transparency projects, like OpenCorporates, and to open-source projects, like Drupal.


Nieman-Berkman Fellow at Harvard, Miguel Paz (@miguelpaz) is a Chilean journalist and founder and CEO of Poderopedia. Poderopedia reveals the links among business and political elites. Paz is also the president of Poderomedia Foundation, an organization that promotes use of new technologies to increase transparency. Paz is the co-creator of the Hacks/Hackers Chile chapter in Santiago and 2012 Start-Up Chile winner. He is the former deputy director of ElMostrador.cl, the first digital-only newspaper in Chile. His work has been published in two books featuring the best Chilean investigative journalism.


Chris Taggart (@CountCulture) is the CEO and co-founder of OpenCorporates: The Open Database Of the Corporate World, which has worked with the open data community to build a database of over 25 million companies, all open data. Originally a journalist and later magazine publisher, he now works full time in the field of open data, and is on the UK government’s Local Public Data Panel, and Mayor of London’s Digital Advisory Board.

InfluenceMapping is a collaborative effort of these organizations:

The American Assembly is a public policy institute fostering non-partisan public-policy discussions through convening, research, and publication.

LittleSis is a free database detailing the connections between powerful people and organizations.

OpenCorporates aims to do a straightforward (though big) thing: have a URL for every company in the world.

Open North is a Canadian nonprofit that creates online tools to educate and empower citizens to participate actively in Canadian democracy.

In Poderopedia working journalists, developers, designers and collaborators citizens interested in promoting greater transparency, accountability and democracy in Chile, Colombia , and Venezuela for the information and power within the reach of all.

Supercharging Transparency Mapping is generously supported by:

The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens.