If you had a map and you could show it to anyone, what would you put on it?
These days, maps are playing a big part in the development of social media. Imagine you were to run an event, or make a journey around the world, how could you represent it online? How could you help people to find out where you are, to know what you’re doing, or even to see what you’re seeing?
As you can imagine, interactive web maps and location-based activities are not just useful for looking up addresses. We can now assign practically any piece of online content to a map, including videos, photos or location-based conversations. At last, the web doesn’t have to be so geographically anonymous anymore.
Everyone has different needs and interests, so their information might be organised in different ways: people such as film buffs, chess enthusiasts, or parents looking for baby groups might all want to find out about related activities in their local area, and web mapping can help.
Interactive maps in action
As a website for residents and visitors to East Hampshire, it offers information about community groups, news and local events. On the interactive map, you can look at up-to-date information and find out where it’s going on at exactly the same time.
Harnessing the social web
Rather than reinventing the wheel and creating a brand new, separate events engine, EastHampshire.org is hooked into Upcoming, a social network website for sharing events.
When an Upcoming user creates a new East Hampshire event, it is automatically pulled into EastHampshire.org, and the same happens in reverse. This stream of events is fed directly into the interactive map, allowing the content to stay fresh, relevant and up-to-date.
Other mapping projects we’ve worked on
We like mapping projects. Here are a few others:
- Talking America, where we charted a BBC bus tour across America, as it gathered on-the-streets opinions in the run-up to this year’s momentous US Elections.
- Bangladesh River Journey for BBC World Service, where we created a map to track the journalists as they investigated how climate change has a direct effect on people’s lives throughout Bangladesh.
- Location-Based Services, an article for Opera about the use of mapping and geographical tools on the web.
So, if you had a map, what would you put on it?