Monthly Archives: December 2011

Telling Stories with Maps

Stories are a very important aspect of our society, and storytelling is one of the things that make us uniquely human.  Stories convey important knowledge about the world around us, often in a simplified yet dramatic fashion designed for maximum impact.  We have much to learn, remember, and understand in life, but wrap a great story around something and it will make an impression on us that lasts a lifetime.

So where do maps fit in the storytelling realm?  I recently spoke with Allen Carroll, who left National Geographic about a year ago and is now ArcGIS Online Content Program Manager at Esri, about Story Maps—a new initiative he’s working on with David Asbury, Lee Bock, and Stephen Sylvia to integrate storytelling and maps.

Continue reading

Posted in Storytelling with Maps | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Can Government Improve Its Image?

Restoring trust in government

The growing distrust and poor image associated with government continue. As a result, I see citizens asking more and more questions of their government and wanting leaders to hear their voices. The citizens I hear are speaking loudly and growing in number. They want to know how their tax dollars are being allocated. They want to find out if corruption in a neighboring jurisdiction is also happening in their backyards. In the absence of effective government forums, disruptive apps are providing a place for these citizens to communicate with each other. Continue reading

Posted in Industry Focus | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

Geography: Seeing the Big Picture

Geography has at least one thing in common with other disciplines: it has become fragmented.  As our world has become more complex, science has responded by becoming narrowly focused. Thousands of very smart people are making remarkable discoveries in their own disciplines. But who is looking at the big picture?

It’s only logical.  When life gets complicated, we often tend to focus on the little things.  It helps us deal with being overwhelmed.  But at some point we need to take a step back and realize that we can’t understand an entire forest if we’re addressing issues one tree at a time.

We’ve done an admirable job examining and understanding a multitude of component pieces that make our planet work.  Now our grand challenge is to integrate all this knowledge so we can understand the “big picture.”

How do we put all of the pieces back together again so that we can understand the whole?  How do we defragment geography?

Continue reading

Posted in Vision | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment