I love this. My Reinventing the News class has put together a Google map of their favorite places within a mile of Northeastern. Each student wrote a blog post, took some pictures and then plotted it on a map, with a link.
The result — a “Newcomer’s guide to NU” — is a modest but useful example of how to use mapping as a journalism tool. The idea is to provide multiple points of entry for readers, which encourages them to explore and to come back.
The project was a bit of a high-wire act. I was having a hard time creating the map during the weekend, which may have been due to problems Google was having. Then, when everyone began adding to the map during class on Monday, we had barely controlled chaos, as random addresses began weirdly showing up and disappearing. Yet I think the end result turned out rather well.
Google Maps may not be the most sophisticated mapping tool available, but it’s free and ubiquitous. Understanding how to use it is just one of the skills today’s young journalists need to know.