How to tell stories and engage an audience with maps


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How to tell stories and engage an audience with maps
Title of Series
Hill, Andrew
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Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo)
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Portland, Oregon, United States of America

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Maps and stories go together like two peas in a pod. Why is that and how do we take advantage of it? Through my work at CartoDB, I have been able to think deeply about the role of storytelling for today's map makers. Here, I will talk about the insights we have gained through teaching CartoDB users, building libraries such as Torque and Odyssey.js, and creating innovative maps online. Some of my maps have included FOSS4G award winners (NYCHenge and PLUTO Data Tour) as well as dozens of unique and interesting experiments to combine interaction and multimedia with maps or trying to find the limits of what we call a map. If we plan to keep mapping relevant and exciting, it is important that we keep finding the exciting new ways to bend technology to engage people. The map has an interesting future over the coming years and here I will talk about some of the ways we should expect it to go and what it means for us as geospatial software developers.
data visualization
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Point (geometry) Word Group action Computer animation Mapping Personal digital assistant Multiplication sign Temporal logic Twitter
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Mathematics Computer animation Mapping Sequel Key (cryptography) Cuboid output Right angle Set (mathematics) Tessellation
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I'm going to tell you a little bit about what we're doing to help people tell stories of maps
but I a lot of talks took stock is IV scenes this before I should try not to duplicate things that I've talked about before and so but I wanted to give you like a little bit of history about but our company we wish to start working on on and now 0 0 8 years ago on projects for for Science and Conservation and and we really got a pride ourselves on helping tell stories with data we were clients and they'd have some problems in some chance they're working on some dataset that they want to publish and and we help and try to communicate that on the web something like 4
fifths if you look at all these reality webpage snake four-fifths of them were maps like the map was the primary I'll put this is like this is a classic
example of a project that we worked on his his values the protocol protected planet so an you know the C and they they wanted to publish all the protected areas in the world they have this task of monitoring were protected places on so they wanna make this so wiki-like interface for people to come in and track information about it and quite different is the media and related to it and actually all security so the official version of were protected places versus a community-edited version and that actually really like practical er and implication for them because they wanted but here in the US we have really great visual information but were protected areas of another country sometimes the best thing that is a point or bounding box a letting people actually on the where on the ground to place a protective they want all this but so we did a lot of these projects and and only 3 years ago we started Carty B thing that we could build a products that would serve a lot more people's needs then we could then we could help as a as a as a supply services company and since then I've got really started thinking about maps quite a lot and I think we're all
here for the same reason right or er like a lotta reasons right and when when I talk about maps more generally and not about that story telling is at the I would like I I should start trying to make this case to a bunch of data scientists and I was trying explain to them like if you're sitting at work and you're working on a dataset you and some problems you know this much and in the 2nd he moved to the person at the desk next to you they suddenly know a lot less than you do and as you move like outward to you get your boss cheat sheet at your spouse to you get into your neighbor people no less and less and less about what you're actually talking about I and I use is shown as Asher picture on its own that's what it sounds like when they talk to me and other problems in what's actually amazing is maps are like
this incredibly capable tool of taking complex data and and letting people grasp it and so something about why that is and as of doesn't follow conversations about why that is the people that are curious about this because I'm at doctor put together some information about winning the island in New York where things that always like drives me nuts is when somebody's walking down into the subway and you lose your connection when you go on the subway and so they're going really slow down the staircase and I'm behind them and for me it's always like impending doom that I'm going to miss the train and need to get about I need to get around them and clenching teeth when they get around like I using as they're linear the phone and and you know like 80 % and earlier for the linear map and this is like incredible datavisualization this isn't reality this is some editorialized view of the world that were consuming and it's a story that's and some companies telling about your reality and they're willing to believe it more than the stairs that they're blocking and is like is a long history
to end of this as the she clued in to this at every exactly who who was but I was at a meeting with a bunch a journalist and I'm a journalist there she said that you know it's really awesome but I'll I love data visualization of doing grasp unless you're The New York Times you can't put a graph in the newspapers can put a bar chart newspaper because you lose your readers should blood every day we put our weather report in the newspaper and everybody is willing to look at that and understand and as so many reasons behind it's not really my stories about my thing is about but thing as so cool inside I started the about stories in a prior terrible actual like datavisualization storyteller person but but I do think it's
really interesting so we tried a view echoed realize how people create maps that will engage an audience how people make maps will tell stories and give will at the tools to tell stories better with maps so I wanna talk about like a couple of different points that we come out when we when we are building protean work buildings tools to help tell stories and so the 1st thing I want I want us to talk about is is a point that I that I know that I'm forced to think about a little bit lately and that's the audiences love something new right and that's a big reason why a lot of people are here as we're all trying to figure out what's happening with maps right
now and just like the weather report maps of changed fundamentally like nobody gets the weather from a weatherman anymore you get it from a phone that's like take like specifically tailored your weather information for you and master so similar select
ramping up so fast right now I don't know when I took this screenshot but it's already like way more followers of map on the when it took the screenshot 554 armchair explorers than what those are but in with so there's like this huge there's a huge audience of maps right now and there are also demanding that like every day this is like a new set of maps whether they're credible are terrible or uglier wrong or whatever it is the people that want see these maps and wanna see how a telling stories not and so we we're trying to build technology that let the actual storytellers make interesting maps that can engage some of his audience interesting way and so I have to show ID we
we we created this technological to work what's the show temporal data over time and we have some people that love it so this is a map made by Twitter and from Twitter data during the Indian elections elections was simulated and so it
is can hear actually now OK and it and I he tweets every once in a while I'd say like once a month or so but for now where it's wrong and I think it is I think it's points are all valid I want need tweeted that he'd love to see is the 1 that none of into a time that he'd love to see here a case words used for a good reason that he action this is the origin of this technology and it really was about telling a story so we work on a
project Global force watch this actually I think I can't I can't remember this is the actual not this is would say it looks really close it's not this is the original Global Forest Watch started like 30 years ago and the whole idea was to to figure out just information about force in the in the primary output was a map but the
problem with 4 right is that the change all the time and so the the really smart people behind Global Forest Watch went through the process of of wanting to revamp 1 of things they wanted user collecting all is awesome data from satellites detecting when this change is happening and then make that data and that change
available for you to explore so let you she put the stories together and so we take that data we put into an early Carter and this is what it looked like right is a bunch of boxes on the map and this is using you know the tile pyramid to make a PNG input map right but it but the pile pyramid
was like fundamentally like failure telling the story of that change that was the problem of deforestation and so we we actually we wrote this technology called torecognise and sorta like 1 of the key nuggets of artwork is just a piece is sequel that will take any data set and transform it into this standard Jason that actually
packs up data really really well so we can take all this station data send it to the browser unpack it and put it on a map of the
color looks OK because now you can go to Global Forest Watch immunity grabbed a slider and as you interact with that data and see exactly win deforestation is happening in these different places and you can extract these stories and and actually there's a lot of journalists but now interact with Global Forest Watch to tell stories in when I when I talk to the Global Forest Watch out I always like express this real life interest in seeing Global Forest Watch become the the sort a press release for the forests but it actually put together the stories in these but different spikes and deforestation and actually notify the world about what's happening this really powerful and that's not that's not Twitter map that's to work it's open
source you can see it of a
Santana has done a lot of work since since the original input of implementations of to work uh to to really optimise how attacking the data and make it faster and he has a a 0 yeah talk yesterday so if you miss that you talk at the GST upon and talking about using using to work now to visualize millions of points in the browser and we
also we put it back in the quantities now you can make with a single click you can make maps of of things moving and and we have service client-side code CSS the in style iterating so this is actually an this a map by 2 gum city bike in New York they publish some data for every every from every month or so the publishing data set I did the data for 1 month and I am I isolated a single station and so this is clear in spring really close to my office and then I just I just took all the trips that were coming to the station allotropes of leaving the station and I color coded them something if I for the attic yellow as is coming into the station a successful in a bike and then purple is when the check out may go on a trip and so this is just like messing around but you can really start to see how you can you can piece at a time interesting stories I or wasting time the so
people actually use this for really cool things all the time and this is a this is a
US scientist now and this is a story there the bird from and so Eric the bird is a is a Siegel but this is actually a really
nice map of the not moving and if it stays here for a 2nd I model parameters Green earlier in the season red is later in the season and it tells is really nice it story so it's like early June to late July and and error gives off light galantine and and being a bachelor and and going crazy early in the season and then later in the season he's is finally changed his life and it's because all hunkered down and he has some kids in a little nest and it is like simple map tells us really great story and in conjunction with the Torah get showing him moving around in get a sense of like how much is life is actually quite different now from this little change they dull and a story about it you are more that uses Google are like Eric the bird Carter be there's a bunch of links about energy a really nice right of of how they how they do this and
and this is another map this came out but 3 weeks ago our I previously Serbia earthquakes in Iceland
I this is a map of the that does this 1 Dixon tells much a story but and is really interesting it's a is a map of the Long Island Rail Road and the different transaction around the had different stations this shows up pretty bad in the
contrast at that but I have be the thing that you can see here is a movie and others which aligns at and this is actually this is a map because of some technology to help farmers be more efficient and says that she plane going land announced going up to a field and the green is where it's actually it's actually sprain some fertilizer uh or seating under action which 1 this is but so it's going up and then you can see that she making these loops and a trap for the planar scene attracts exactly when it's doing its operation so you can see that it's it's cover it'll feel them how many groups after making all that so we can really optimise the production of food OK but I think that the thing that original
tweak our summers result tweets by the the criticize to worker are totally valid especially with some of the ones that are more fireworks things in and we actually we do 1 and prove
that but I will I I certain like thinking pretty deep about it of and 1 so 1 of the criticisms the criticisms of those maps is that they need to normalize right I'd love to talk to somebody who is a the whose normalize temporal data at like variable variable temporal bins I know with ICA unknown dataset anyway of xi about but we're exploring the others those datasets is I was I don't think I have another example to show you
what they actually are really good at is some or what would they do their work what they're meant to do they do really really great and that's that Twitter publishes them to basically show the impact of Twitter and so when you watch them they had a big series of of these maps come out for the World Cup and they would put these these maps out and the like the 90 minutes of a game and if you watch the map it's like a bunch of tweets around the world and then a goal is scored in the in world goes crazy and only 1 a shows basically impact that Twitter has on conversation in the world and they didn't really really well at of you saw on the news but like every every place is talking about the impact of Twitter at the World Cup and those maps really helps make that point and I think they did a really great job
not so we don't need it by here's here's another bad that color map but this is the United States and it's it's this matter what I did is I I decoding and I and I grabbed on a week were those earthquake data from yes yes and I put in quantity using the same to work of technology and then I grabbed a week worth of Twitter data asking other the Twitter data was just when people mention them at an earthquake and heard a lot of times like OK earthquakes and Twitter they had this thing it's glamor like bubble years ago is that is that some of the map of we in Twitter had been the actual the actual wave of the earthquake itself right so the earthquake is underground and it's like going in and at some point the speed of the tweet itself across the country as beta and so are learning about the way before they measure it so all of that stuff and I made this map in which really kind is like and you wait for there is that that that represents the the police our weights and the rest of the league of radio time you do it again if you see what I'm doing and that's actually New Mexico and Arizona and there's like a story waiting here nobody was talking about earthquakes down there before and then earthquake happens and suddenly you see all these people and you start doing a lot alike interesting detection there a lot of interesting story telling on that and a lot of automated storytelling from that there's a lot of cool things now wish that map showed a bit better but still we need a fix it and so we are working on this on the normalization of how how we can do normalization for for temporal data as just were early early phases and thinking about that's a lot to talk to anybody that is interestingness topics it OK so that we need more than just maps of some you move off of the the Twitter stuff because currently also enables a lot of people to tell stories of In
pretty interesting ways and up and journals uses quite quite often the to put matchstick data style put in into the web page and add some interface around it so the nice map of farm showing 2 different pollution indicators in LA is thinking that the other day I really
like it because the history of our company we worked on Conservation and Biodiversity so I love it when people are using our tool to then do that to you that work and so this is wire maps lab in go read it's very cool but when the system ask as while of our company to because when the sensor
maps come out we get e-mails from From Owner co-founders here that say like this is the sort of map that we wanna see this amazing and it is a beautiful map of of of birds birds and their and their and impact of climate change on birds but we we think a lot about how we can
actually make interfaces and tools to help other people make interfaces better around absence these some years old experiments for doing things like the scroll story and just messing around and and having a map map connected to to
narrative an ordering like this slide based presentation of data where you have to worry at some point you wanna make on your map and these are
shown in a lot of talks before some negative dwell on
them but we want it but when I did this actually I I use are JavaScript framework to code in a lot of things like how do you do the other buttons to click next to load a new mapped floats and the point that you wanna make and we wanna keep making this stuff easier and so we did a lot of we we do we work in a way that I think a lot of people work that we do some tests in our own we see a people respond to see if they wanna do and we do live in more to get them to test with us and then finally we figure out how we implement and so the 2nd
phase for we started getting people the test with us is that we get a grant from the Knight Foundation do Odyssey j js benzo Odyssey
JS is an open-source library and you can go to the sandbox and you can
actually create a story and the way it works is a great story you pick the template and the template is something like a scroll story of a temporal story or a slide based for like the keynote PowerPoint of maps but and then you have
to write your story in a way that you write your story in Odyssey with mark down and we use we we chose down because it's just like this it's a really great thing is a really great technology to to to add mark up to your stories that a lot of people use in their know that they've used it before they may not know the word mark down the become the there that we from with may see it's we sort is a great opportunity to use and get people using it quickly and is also really pretty simple thing to learn so people are comfortable going there instead of learning straight HTML anything crazy incident journalists just
start using Odyssey to to torture story so this is a is a not not that's not very nice story and but nice implementation of our
suggests or nicer story again the contrast is a little at bad time that to life story of somebody and going through and and giving you different points about that person's life over time but so the next thing that we try to
do quite often is we we try to put on designing the tools in designing the maps right for a long time GIS as seems same sort of design void uh both in the maps uh or at least putting design matches differ very difficult primitive and the tools themselves were very difficult
and so this is a is a nice map this is from the the same guy who did the the bird and this is actually map of all the birds they tracking and gonna making artistic of that for this is that this is that
same data under this that she 1 uses data from city bike and he he took his you're worth it you're worth of data and this is the movement of him going around in the system after now really easy to make encourage the but then adding the
interface elements on top of that now you can she design sort of the way that you possess information with your map and the way that you presented change and actually we combining multiple things here all quite simply and I wanna spend too much time on on the design the this because on friday uh Sergio is going
to be talking about entirely how design is is coming into this not bad and this is at 11 on Friday and I definitely recommend that the 1 thing that we found is that living
labs we give you the easy interfaces to build whatever you whatever you want so there the motion right now is that people people are more expert error are more petite have more strategic development than just using a tool and clicking buttons and so if you wanna give you complete control of your maps and so
on so this is a really cool 1 if you can hear that you can listen to the realm of the engine and is that you map of this car moving around the track and it gets its encoded ah yes you can actually see when they're breaking in when they're accelerating and combining these sorts of media with maps we think is really interesting and but the way that you do it right now the parties you actually use the API is a party provides and you put your data and at the end and you develop your map and so
this is an old 1 i've as spoken about quite a lot as well that is NYC hinge so this is same idea use API is
used by some open source libraries you displayed on a map but here that it has been rendered on the client so I'm what I'm doing is a match is showing that the angle of the sun at different times a year and and the streets that the summer line up with in New York with something called Manhattan hinge or go people go watch they watch the sunset between buildings and I built this interface so that you could find you find Brooklyn Hench Irwin's potential earning and event and so we think that we can empower a lot of developers and end story tellers by giving tools but also given freedom to go outside of those tools and so pretty cool I just saw
this tree today that somebody took that and they built a Louisville hedge and because open source and I and you you can do it on your own they can go and do that and now we can go find their own sunsets and so we do that by actually building a
platform supporting the platform you have the sequel API you can host data with JavaScript libraries you can build things easily so you can get
Jason sequels something that a lot of us are familiar with and we keep things open source so
here's a really nice map that you can't see that so nice but of my slides online results your America doing some really amazing the storytelling with data and we and then also we make it so that it's reliable sources American do some really beautiful visualization uh and then they can they can build in our service in no that'll work and there's a talk about a service later so what are we doing
to make storytelling better with maps were bringing in new methods and technologies at quadratic continue making it easier were space for custom tools and templates and we're learning a lot I think that none of us are experts storytellers really worse learning as we go and we're losing a lot to the community like without suggest we learn a lot by working with journalists measure listening to what they wanted to do with their stories and so we're looking for collaborators now I will have a job later today about the launch of our developer program well
it's its after 3 30 and we're
hiring so if you're interested telling stories with data are working on interfaces and things like that talk to talk to us at our booth upstairs and I think I have like 1 minute for questions thank


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