Links for October 29th through November 3rd:
- Where to Get Live Election Night Coverage Online : CyberJournalist.net – I can't believe spokesmanreview.com didn't get a mention!
- Twitter Vote Report : CyberJournalist.net – A civic-minded application of Twitter. Would love to see somebody follow this and evaluate its efficacy.
- washingtonpost.com – TimeSpace: Election – Great idea. Novel way of organizing a huge volume of stories and photos geared toward a neational audience.
- Link Once, Publish Everywhere: Publish2 Launches Connection to Twitter and Delicious » Publish2 Blog –
- What’s the Difference Between a Blog and a Web Site? — contentious.com – "If you think you’ll want to do more than blog, choose a platform that will let you expand. If you think you’ll want things like a forum, video library, or wiki, you’re probably better off building a site in on a more full-featured platform like WordPress, Drupal, Movable Type, or Expression Engine."
I like what I see here. Most of this covers areas I’m already comfortable with, such as creating a custom map, adding placemarks or lines and sharing maps.
But I appreciate White Rock’s step-by-step thoroughness, the effective use of screen grabs and the easy, tabbed interface.
Here’s another great contribution from Erica Smith, the talent behind the indispensable Paper Cuts map of newspaper layoffs.
When I posted about that site, Erica chimed in and steered me toward a tutorial she wrote about creating Google maps from a database without having to know code. I finally took the time to run through it, exporting the data from my earlier effort on Community Walk.
This is a must-visit for anybody getting their feet wet in the world of mashups. Thanks, Erica.
I’ve always been fascinated with all things oceanic. The geek in me hopes Google Ocean happens just so I can mess around with it. But this item also got me thinking about the potential for integrating this technology with other media. Granted, as a journalist in the Inland Northwest, Google Ocean wouldn’t lend itself to our coverage as well as Google Streetview has with, for example, business reporter Parker Howell’s blog covering growth and development, Here’s the Dirt.
But I hope bigger media outlets, especially magazines and documentary filmmakers, let their imaginations run with the possibilities. Imagine visiting nationalgeographic.com, reading a story about weird deep-sea creatures like this guy, then being able to zoom around the canyons where it lives via Google Maps. An incredibly rich layer of information.
Or imagine an interactive Web component accompanying the BBC’s breathtaking series “The Blue Planet.” You could navigate the programs as a series of clips such as the one below geocoded to corresponding undersea locations. Or track the migration of featured species.
I’m sure I’m only scratching the surface of potential applications. Any more great ones out there?
I’ve recently been drooling over Google maps mashups. I’m coming into the game late, and I lack the programming skills to produce anything like these maps of homicides in New York City, Spokane residents’ stories about a big snowfall* and happy hours in Washington, D.C.)
But the rise of mashups has inspired some easy-to-use, free tools on the Web for neophytes like me. For instance, I used Community Walk to create this map of places I’ve lived. While I wouldn’t use this site for my job, it’s a functional resource for personal projects.
Community Walk offers its own tutorials, so I won’t bother with that here. But here are a couple things I like about the service.
- Bulk editing: Once you’ve placed a couple markers, you can download the data as a csv (comma separated values) file and continue editing in a spreadsheet. I found this to be a lot faster than using the online interface, and it gave me access to features I didn’t find online, such as ordering my markers.
- Multimedia: You can add audio to your markers. Although I didn’t do this with my project, I like the idea. Might be a good way to add ambiance to a map of neighborhood watering holes or hikes.
- Clean interface: I never take this characteristic for granted. I found it exceptionally easy to navigate the mapmaking functions. That said, I found the presentation of the finished map to be a little clunky. For a few bucks you can remove the ads from your map, which takes care of some of the clutter. But the navigation sidebar feels too wide.
The verdict: Until I build my chops to the point that I can make this kind of map using API tools, Community Walk is a good stepping stone.
*Disclosures: A friend of mine was involved in creating the homicide map; my boss created the Spokane map; and another friend was the sole force behind the happy hours map.