Maps are useful. That’s hardly news. But how useful are they?
Millions of people use maps as a means to ease travel. They help us reach our destinations efficiently. Some interactive maps even show us several paths so we can choose the best. Maps save us time and energy. What if they could also provide us with perspective?
The use of interactive maps has become somewhat of a staple of web-based journalism. Platforms like La Presse +, or the Guardian’s Data Blog, push storytelling further by making sense of large data with maps. Often powered by fusion tables (Google can help you there), maps can turn a story on its head and show some of those uncovered angles journalists are scrambling for.
Being able to interact with web-based maps is also a huge plus. Readers can then focus on the data that affects them personally. A news story’s reach can suddenly multiply since it is now tailored to anyone manipulating the map.
At a time when newsrooms are desperately trying to reach and maintain a steady readership, maps provide the insight and the personalization necessary to make a splash on the contemporary news media scene.
More of this might actually be the key to securing journalism’s place in the 21st century.