We have to create a brochure (a3 folded) with: the photo's and the names of members put on a canvas (screenshot below).
My question is: could this be automated in indesign with a date merge system, or not.
We expect a lot of changes during the period it has to be used (5 years).
Up to now, we use several layers (layer for the name and layer for the photo of the member) and some layers with other details (which don't change).
All the squares are separate squares, no links.
The only way this will work with Data Merge is if the entire data file is one multi-column record (row). Data Merge is not sophisticated enough to place multiple records in a non-rectangular grid on a single page.
It sounds like you are looking for a method to easily update the diagram when changes occur. And these changes would be made to a data file instead of interacting with the Indesign document itself. I would say that it could be done, but managing the data side of this kind of project could be more hassle than manipulating the ID file. For example, in the data source, and for a data merge to work, you need to include the full directory path of an image. An entry of "John Smith" for the photos, would need to look like "/Volumes/Computer/Project/Photos/jsmith.jpg"