My Geek Crush: StoryMap and SnapMap

I’ve been enamored with the technical projects that have come out of KnightLab at Northwestern University for quite a while. My geek crush began when I was in search of a timeline creator. I wanted something easy, elegant and, most important, free. That’s when I stumbled upon KnightLab, “a team of technologists, journalists, designers and educators working at advancing news media innovation through exploration, experimentation.” They want to help make information meaningful through storytelling and internet content.

While I have used their timeline creator quite a bit, I haven’t had the opportunity use some of the other projects they’ve created.

Until now.

I’ve been following Chuck Robinson’s 2400 mile fundraising bike ride through his blog and, with his permission, I’ve included some of the information into a StoryMap. The map can include features like YouTube videos, social media posts, images, SoundCloud files, and more. So far we’re through Day 9, and you can follow the StoryMap of Chuck’s Big Ride here.

In the process of creating the StoryMap, I stumbled upon SnapMap, a feature of StoryMap that places a user’s 20 most recent geo-tagged Instagrams on a map that can be shared instantly or can be exported directly into StoryMap. My Instagram feed is pretty boring, so I asked John Mesjak, a rep with Abraham Associates, if I could use his. He agreed, saying, “Technically, it’s all already out there anyway…” So here’s a SnapMap of Mesjak’s recent travels.

(John suggests that you look now, because when mid-summer arrives all of his photos will be of car temperatures and iced coffee.)

A StoryMap might come in handy if you want to support your review of a history or biography with an illustrative map. And you could use SnapMap on your next trip to a fall trade show or Winter Institute as a way to make your customers feel more connected to the store. Or maybe you can take storefront photos of the merchants participating in your Find Waldo Local promotion. Either way, these tools are completely embeddable and easy to use.

Click here to create your own StoryMap. And click here to create your own SnapMap.

Beth Golay

Beth is a reader, writer, marketer and Books & Whatnot founder. Even though she knows better, she's a sucker for a good book cover and will positively swoon if a book is set in appropriate type. @BethGolay