StorymapJS a sleek, simple tool for geographic stories

If you love the tool TimelineJS, you’re going to love this.

I stumbled upon a great online story about the new Cesar Chavez movie and the small town named Delano that served as the setting for Chavez’ fight and still serves as a place to explore history. At the top of the story is an interactive map that blew my mind. It was part map, part photo essay, and it really brought the history of the small town to life in a visually appealing way.

Turns out the tool used to create it is another great tool produced by the Knight Lab at Northwestern University. It’s totally free and, like its sister timeline tool, it works directly through Google Drive to simplify the process of content development.

StoryMapJS builds interactive maps that allow users to upload images and descriptions to tell stories alongside an interactive map.
StoryMapJS builds interactive maps that allow users to upload images and descriptions to tell stories alongside an interactive map.

With StoryMapJS, users can enter images with captions and credits, and those images are tied to locations on the map. Any story that has a geographic element would benefit from the addition.

In addition, the developers recently expanded the tool to allow you to do what they call “gigapixel image mapping” as well. It allows users to upload a large image, then zoom into parts of the image to tell part of the story. To see a sample, visit the how-to post on their site.

I’m excited to see what kinds of stories scholastic journalists will tell with the new tool. If you or your students use it, please share.

Michelle Balmeo

Michelle Balmeo, MJE, is the adviser of El Estoque newsmagazine and news website at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, Calif. During her 11-year tenure as adviser, the publications have regularly received NSPA’s Pacemaker award and CSPA’s Crown award. She has been selected as CA Journalism Teacher of the Year, a JEA Rising Star, and a DJNF Distinguished Adviser. She was previously the JEA Web Curriculum Leader and currently serves on the board of JEA Northern California.

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