Outside.in has just granted public access to StoryMaps, their GeoToolkit embeddable maps which let bloggers promote their local content in a visual format. The thing that makes StoryMaps so appealing is the fact that it’s so easy to use. Even the least technically savvy blogger will be able to connect their blog’s RSS feeds to their StoryMap, which can be embedded on their site. Here’s the simple interface where you can customize the map and it then generates the embed code for you.
Paradigm Shift for Blogging Timelines?
StoryMaps strives to change the way people read blogs. The traditional method is simply a top to bottom format with the latest and newest posts appearing on top with each new item pushing the existing piece down a notch and so on. Outside.in’s theory is that it isn’t wise to keep burying your own posts with each new one. They believe that displaying your posts in a non-linear timeline as presented in StoryMaps would be the ultimate way to do this.
For example, if you’ve blogged about certain restaurants or other places in your neck of the woods then it would be lost somewhere in your blog and hard to find. However, if you used a StoryMap of your neighborhood then every post you’ve written about places in that neighborhood will appear as clickable links on the map.
Readers can also easily adjust how far back in time to view posts about that area on your StoryMap. Thus, from the same map and webpage readers can access posts from many different time periods.
For certain types of blogs, StoryMaps make a lot of sense. If you blog about places and events then this tool will be very valuable for creating a visual navigational system for your stories. Some of the other options available from Outside.in add value to StoryMaps. For example, their new Radar feature allows you to find stories in and around your area. Another useful feature is the integration with Yahoo’s Fire Eagle service that pinpoints your location on a map. All together Outside.in provides a decent selection of Geographic tools.
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