Friday, March 22, 2013

MapStory - Create a Story With Mapped Data

MapStory is a free tool for creating mapped displays of data sets. Data sets that are time based, the travels of Genghis Khan for example, can be set to play out in a timeline style on your map.

Creating a MapStory might look complicated at first glance, but it's actually quite easy to create a map. To get started select a data set or sets that you want to display on your map. You can choose data sets from the MapStory gallery or upload your own. After choosing your data set(s) select a base map. After that you can customize the look of the data points on your map and or manually add more data points to your map. The notes option in MapStory lets you create individual events to add to your map and timeline. Lines and polygons can also be added to your projects through the notes feature in MapStory.

Applications for Education
MapStory could be a good tool for students to use to visualize and analyze data. I like the idea of having students add multiple data sets to a map to make comparisons between them. For example, I created a simple map of the campaign stops of Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich during the G.O.P. primaries. I might ask students to look at this map and see if they can make any connections between the number of stops in a region and the primary vote tally for each candidate in that region.