Use an ecomap to visualize a person's social relationships and environmental background

Eco Map thumb

Map out social and personal connections clearly

An ecomap is a graphical representation of the personal and social relationships between an individual or family and their environment. Often used by counselors and social workers, ecomaps can help identify stressors or causes of anxiety and depression. This chart goes beyond merely identifying biological relationships but also takes external connections (and the quality of said connections) such as friendships, clubs or institutions, into consideration.

Create professional-looking ecomaps with Canva’s ecomap maker. As an online platform, it runs anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. You can create an ecomap from scratch or, if you want to be done quickly, choose and modify an existing template. Canva requires no design skills or experience so you can leave the designing to us and concentrate on helping others navigate their complex relationships.

5 steps to a brilliant ecomap

  1. Create a new Canva account to get started with your own ecomap design.
  2. Choose from our library of professionally created templates.
  3. Upload your own photos or choose from over 1 million stock images.
  4. Fix your images, add stunning filters and edit text.
  5. Save and share.

Customize a template and make it your own

  1. Change the images. Upload your own images or choose from our stock library of over 1 million photographs, graphics and illustrations.
  2. Change the fonts. Choose from over 130 fresh fonts.
  3. Change the background. Choose a background from our library or use an image.
  4. Change the colors. Change the color of your text boxes and text to add extra flair.

Use professional templates to create an ecomap in minutes

Create professional-quality ecomap designs with minimal effort by using Canva’s ready-made templates. Once you’ve chosen a starting design, it’s a simple matter of customizing the template as much or as little as needed. Every element in Canva is editable. Add, delete or copy shapes, icons, and lines. You can also recolor or resize them with a few clicks of your mouse button. Within minutes, you’ll have a completely new ecomap design ready to go.

Make important relationships and connections stand out using lines and shapes

Like genograms, ecomaps use a variety of symbols, shapes, and lines to show interconnections and relationship dynamics. For example, thick, solid lines denote strong, positive connections while lines with hatch marks indicate stressful relationships.

To add a shape or line to your design, go to the Elements tab, and click on the Shapes folder or Lines folder and choose one that works best for your needs. You might want to resize or recolor your chosen element. To resize, simply click and drag on any of its edges. To recolor, click on the element and use the color selection tool to pick any hue from the color wheel or type in a specific hex code. It’s that easy!

Use your finished ecomap to start a discussion

Once you’re done creating the ecomap, you can show it to the patient or individual to start a discussion. You can choose to email them the file by clicking on Share and sending it to them. Or, you can bring a printed copy of the ecomap to your session by downloading your design as a print-ready PDF file and printing it in high resolution.

Show them the ecomap and from there you can much more easily start a discussion about their family situation, their neighborhood and community, the strength and importance of these links, and whether or not they engage in any other activities outside of school or work.

FAQ

How can I format the text on my ecomap design?

You can edit your text a variety of ways to make sure it fits your design needs. Using the text tools, you can change the font type, size, color, emphasis, alignment, spacing, and transparency. You can also turn your text into a bulleted list. Changes are applied across all text within a text box. To apply any of the above changes, select the text box you wish to edit and click on the format options found on the toolbar.

How does collaboration work in Canva?

Ecomaps are usually a collaborative effort between the subject and their family. To share your ecomap template, simply tick the box next to “Share/email as an editable design”. This will give them access to edit your design in their personal Canva account. There is no limit as to how many people can edit your design.

Can I edit my ecomap after I’ve saved it?

You can edit and save your designs as many times as you like. Every time you create a new collage it will appear in the “My Designs” section of your Canva homepage. You can also access all of your designs on the go by downloading Canva for your iPhone, iPad or Android device.