School mapping is a set of techniques and procedures used to estimate future education requirements at local level and work out what needs to be done to meet them. In that sense, school mapping is a micro-planning exercise, with the specificity that it seeks a better match between the supply of, and demand for, education. Do not confuse school mapping with a simple “atlas” merely showing the location of schools. Showing where schools are located, though very useful, is but the first stage of school mapping. Unlike an ordinary map that by its very nature is static, school mapping gives a dynamic and prospective vision of how the education service should look in the future, showing its buildings, teachers, and facilities, to enable the implementation of education policies.
Caillods, Francoise, Jocelyne Casselli, Ta Ngoc Châu, and Guy Porte. School mapping and micro-planning in education. Training materials in educational planning, administration and facilities. Paris: UNESCO-IIEP, 1983.
School mapping aims to align the supply and demand for education by considering the existing situation alongside the resources available and the estimate of future needs. These are determined from strategic options in education policies, demographic changes and the internal dynamics of the education system (flow rate variations). Yet this exercise is fraught with technical difficulties. It presupposes sound methodological control of school mapping and implies constant reliance on micro-planning tools throughout the process (Sylla and Tournier, 2013: 4).
Sylla, Khadim, and Barbara Tournier. « The benefits of school mapping ». IIEP newsletter 31, no 1 (2013): 4.