The most fun thing about “Story Maps” starting to take hold in practice is watching all of the different methods unfold. Although there’s still not a Wikipedia page for “Story Maps” it is fairly well accepted that the term was coined by Allen Carroll, former Chief Cartographer at National Geographic and current ESRI Storytelling Program Manager. These stories can be told through the use of ESRI’s Map Story tool, and also through any other interactive web map based portal — including making one from scratch with Leaflet and Mapbox — many different tools are available for creating a visualization and tell a story.
These three visualizations were discovered as the Xentity team recently geared up for the 2016 International Map Industry Association conference. The IMIA is a group of business owners and industry leaders in the global map community, and Xentity organized and sponsored a session entitled “The Business of Building Apps with Open Data”.

Being map professionals, it is not uncommon for our friends and colleagues to share their trip suggestions in map format, but when three distinctly different sources presented their San Diego Perspectives, it became apparent that this blog post was inevitable. Each of the titles have been selected from how they were originally shared.

SAANNNNN DIEGO – Google Platform

This perspective is from the author Patrick Collins, a colleague of ours who works in the Colorado Department of Local Affairs. Patric is a Designer and a Technologist, and not a map maker by trade, so it is most interesting that he chose Google as his platform of choice. Take note of some very interesting ways that Patrick has made the content of this map extra special, including this tidbit, ”not all of the restaurants/bars on my map are created equal. There are some fancy places, some not fancy places, some total dives…Google them before you head out.” Patrick’s map also came with a thorough tour guide to the city that was most excellent, but for the sake of not being too tangential the super short version is included below. What is most interesting from a map perspective is Patrick’s use of the Google Platform, as he is not technically a map professional by trade, but as he agreed, the concept of telling a story with a map rings true whether you’re familiar with the concept of “Story Map” or not.

From Patrick: “Hanna’s Gourmet – a little restaurant, that has an EXCELLENT brunch. I bet their dinner is also really great. But for brunch, GET THE CHILIQUILES. The tomatillo sauce and awesome tortilla chips were maybe the best food I had. James Coffee Co. – this was my coffee snob traveling partner’s favorite coffee shop. 3rd wave, hipster centric, but with real great coffee. Torrey Pines Gliderport – this is awesome if there’s a breeze and people are out there. If not, it’s really pretty. The gliderport is where people launch paragliders off the cliffs by the ocean and then float around and down to the beach. Bonus tip: Black’s Beach, San Diego County’s only clothing optional beach, is right below it. The hike down is a bit of a trek, but if Torrey Pines beach is packed, Black’s is usually a great, more chill alternative. Also, the Scripps Institute has a really cool courtyard/architecture and it’s right up the road. Sunset Cliffs/Point Loma – I really loved Sunset Cliffs, totally worth it for the exceptional sunset. California Burrito – Just get one. There are so many places to get them at, a couple really revered joints too. We had them at Lucha Libre (go to the location on University), which I loved. Steak/Shrimp one was so insanely excellent.”

“Some Places to Eat in San Diego” – ESRI Platform

This particular map was passed along to us as we were reaching out to the San Diego community in search of speakers for the session from a new friend in the data provider community. He said, “I’ve been to many of these, and can attest that this app is legit.” So there you go, these restaurants are legit. I’m sure the map’s creator, Rupert Essinger of ESRI, would concur with the advice that accompanied his map.

San Diego Places – ESRI Platform

If you wouldn’t believe it, our colleagues from ESRI, David Watkins and Mark Cygan gave a presentation on all the different new templates that are available in ESRI for users to make story maps at the IMIA Conference – with all the new templates, the format shown in these two examples are just the tip of the iceberg. Fun now has a system that allows users to build their own story maps and link media from YouTube, Flickr and other places to enhance their story. Clearly our good pal Rupert has been improving his San Diego Map as well. Check out the Shortlist of Places to go during conference in ArcGIS StoryMap.

San Diego Nov 29 to Dec 1, 2016 – Carto Platform

This last map we created just to showcase a third platform, and, of course, some cool pics too! A few homemade air photos during the approach flight, of course a great place for tacos and a great place for brews (green pins), and a handful of views (blue pins) from the 14th floor of the Omni Hotel.