TE3: Story Maps

Story Maps, powered by ArcGIS is an incredibly useful tool for displaying information in a creative way. Its allows the author to show a narrative, visually with supplemental material. Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), story maps allow the authors/creators to add interactive and customizable maps, visible to the readers to manipulate and explore to their liking. When deciding what I wanted to make my story map on, I settled on my time living in Japan, where I could highlight the cities and land marks I visited within those three years. I could show the distance between my original home, to my new one in Japan, and use the “Map Tour” tool to shift around a map of Japan in a narrative driven way. This story map is paced below, on the left hand side is each location accompanied by a description of the area, the year I visited, and a gallery of pictures (5 pictures or less) of the location and of myself at said location. On the right, is the interactive map, as you click the locations on the left, the location is automatically highlighted.

The story mapping tool allows the creator to make many decisions regarding the aesthetics of their presentation. In particular, the creator can choose the version of map they are adding to their story, there are many options, but I only ended up using three different aesthetic versions. The one above, which is not incredibly detailed, as I felt too much detail would distract from the pictures I was providing on the left. To the left below, I also chose a less detailed, as I was trying to show the distance between two distant places, but on the right, I wanted to highlight the physical structure and distinct features of the base in regards to its surrounding area, and felt the satellite map was the way to go.

In the future, I think using story maps in stead of PowerPoints or Prezis could be incredibly useful to me. I have always disliked the staticity of PowerPoints without animations, and Prezis are sometimes hard to control and navigate from the presenter’ point of view. However, I don’t believe my research on gender in the American Civil War era would be very complimented by GIS technology, so I do not foresee it being a huge part of my future, but as it is offered to me throughout my career at Clemson University, I will definitely try to work it into individual or class projects while attending courses. My full presentation can be linked here for your enjoyment!

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