Tuesday, December 12, 2017

StoryMaps Online Course

Regular readers of the blog will know that I've been sharing a range of StoryMaps over the last couple of years, as the ESRI map-making technology has developed apace. They are a wonderful way of shaping a narrative from images, mapping and interactive elements.

If you want to take your use of StoryMaps to the next level, and have some of your CPD budget left to spend, you might want to check out a new course that is being offered by Joseph Kerski, who travels the world talking about the power of GIS. The course is being made available through eNet Learning, and costs $95 (or whatever that is in pounds these days)
Details of the course are here - it starts on the 4th of January 2018


This course will enable participants to understand why stories can be effectively told with today’s interactive, web-based story maps, learn how to teach and assess student work with story maps, and learn how to create story maps that incorporate sounds, video, photographs, narrative, and other multimedia. Through readings, videos, quizzes, discussion with your colleagues, and hands-on activities, you will learn how and why to create story maps using the ArcGIS Online platform and be confident that you can use these tools in your instruction.


For thousands of years, maps have been used to tell stories. These maps told which lands were “known” and which lands were “terra incognita”, coastlines and new political boundaries, and routes of famous explorers. As in the past, maps are used today to tell stories about the regions, places, and physical and cultural characteristics of our world.

Today’s maps are detailed, allowing exploration of the median age and income of a community’s neighborhoods and the chemical conditions of water in specific wells or soil in a specific field. Maps give information about data that is occurring in real time—such as current wildfire extents, weather, earthquakes, or the location of all of a city’s buses. Maps describe historical events from famous battles to land use changes over time in a rainforest. Maps can be in two dimensions, and three dimensions, and can be accessed on any device—smartphone, tablet, or laptop computer. They can be embedded in web pages and other multimedia and other tools, and can be updated instantly by citizen scientists using their smartphones. Maps cover thousands of relevant themes and phenomena and scales–from local to global scale.

Another key difference between modern maps versus those of the past is that modern maps are much more than reference documents. True, maps still show us where things are. But they are valued because they help us understand the “whys” of “where” – by allowing us to use spatial analytical tools to detect patterns, relationships, and trends. Thus, maps have become critical analytical tools that can help us solve the problems in our world that are growing more complex and increasingly affect our everyday lives. These include epidemics, biodiversity loss, natural hazards, agricultural viability, political instability, climate change, food security, energy, water quality and quantity, and many more.

Globally, you could make maps of any of the above themes. In your own community, you could tell stories about sports, community gardens, housing type, schools and libraries and other community resources, tree cover, litter and graffiti, zoning changes, historical settlement, how your community compares to others across your region or to those halfway around the world, and other aspects of your community through these live story maps. Students can use story maps to report on the results of their investigations. As a researcher, you or your students could use these maps to investigate pertinent issues in human health, sociology, political geography, public safety, or a host of other disciplines. As an instructor, you could use maps to tell stories to enhance your lessons in courses ranging from geography to biology to history to language arts to earth science to mathematics, and other disciplines. You can use story maps to assess student work and a method whereby students can communicate their investigations to you and to their peers.

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