StoryMapJS helps journalists craft intriguing narratives in which location is a key component of the story.
What it does
Maps are one of the most popular ways to communicate information on the web. At their best, maps allow readers to quickly understand trends, patterns and tendencies across geographies. They’re best at giving readers data that they can click through and explore, drawing conclusions based on what they discover. For these types of maps, journalists already have plenty of tools — from MapBox to Fusion Tables — to get the job done.
But what most maps lack is one of the essential elements of intriguing journalism: a narrative.
StoryMapJS is a tool that allows journalists to craft narratives in which location is a key component of the story. Imagine, for example, a fugitive’s run from police, a president’s travel itinerary, or a migrant’s journey to a new country.
StoryMapJS’ most prominent element is a map that allows you to show important locations in a story — a border crossing or key stop on the campaign trail, for example — and tell the story of what happened there with rich media from Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter, Wikipedia, and other popular media from around the Internet.
The tool is free and open to anyone with a Google account. It includes an authoring tool that makes adding points on to a map as easy as typing in a location (city, state, country, street address, etc.) and fine-tuning that point with a drag-and-drop function. Text and media are added through the same authoring tool using a standard web form and the URLs of the media you’d like to share.
StoryMapJS is currently in beta and includes a few rough edges, but it has nevertheless been deployed by a number of news organizations around the world — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Marketplace, Boston.com, and The Times.
To learn more or build your own StoryMap please visit the StoryMapJS website. If you run in to trouble you can post a question to the StoryMapJS forum, file a bug on github, or submit a private request using Zendesk.
If you’re interested in digging in to the code the technical documentss will help you get acquainted with the tool and find answers to questions.
Let us know what you make with StoryMap — we’re eager to see the stories you tell and would love to share great examples to help inspire other folks.
StoryMapJS is still in beta. We're gathering feedback and working out bugs that surface as more and more people use the tool.