Monday, May 16, 2011
Mapmaker! Mapmaker! Make Me a Map...
Maps of all kinds have been around for 1000s of years. Ancient Babylonians created maps on clay tablets; Medieval European maps were dominated by religious beliefs; and Renaissance explorers used maps to discover new worlds.
As people began moving around the world, world wars and revolutions altered empires, and technology opened up the World Wide Web, maps have evolved. With this evolution, we are all explorers and with the help of Google Maps, we all have the ability to create our own landscapes.
Public media stations have been at the forefront of multimedia mapping for several years now. Back in 2007, KPBS provided invaluable resources to stations during the wildfires that were sweeping through the region. The station provided a San Diego County Fires Google Map showing its community where to find emergency resources and avoid dangerous fire spots. Since then, maps have been used to show where the best restaurants can be found in the Bay Area, to celebrate the diversity of Columbus neighborhoods, and we’ve even used them here on the SPI team to show COVE adoption and Merlin On-boarding status.
Most recently, WETA has found mapping to be an efficient way to extend local productions online with their Area Attractions video tour map. "Maps are much more engaging than a simple list of the places featured in a given program,” says Jess Snyder, Web Systems Manager for WETA. “Through our WETA Around Town segments, we have connections to many regional venues and events and maps provide an interesting way to highlight those relationships while providing a valuable resource to our audience. As a bonus, by highlighting the Washington region in a very visual way, they help make the connection that we are a local station producing local programming.”
How does your local station use mapping to reach your audience? We’d like to know about it – contact us or leave your comments and links below.