Map It!

Are you doing a story that involves locations?

Maybe you are checking the health inspection records of restaurants. Or the response times of police to various trouble spots in town. Creating an interactive online map is easy.

  1. Go to your Google Drive, click New and More. That will give you the option to create a new map.mymap.example
  2. By clicking import, you can add info from a Google sheet or Excel spreadsheet. That means that you can collect information from dozens — no hundreds of places– using a Google form (which aggregates it all onto one Google spreadsheet) or using Excel and then Google mymap will automatically map it for you. You can create layers on that map. Say you want to show from one map where all the worst top trouble spots are. You sort them on your spreadsheet and put the worst ones on a new sheet. You create a second layer on the map and import that spreadsheet onto it. So when someone clicks on the map they see all the trouble spots. But you can provide a link within the map for the worst trouble spots and they see that layer.
  3. Then comes the confusing part. Google gives you two checklists with the column headers from your spreadsheet with little explanation (this drove me crazy the first time I did this) and if you don’t do this right, it rejects the data you want to import. Below is a screenshot of the list that comes from a simple test map I wanted to create that would show the countries and projects of three fictional graduates serving in the Peace Corps. map.example3The trick is to choose from the first checklist ONLY the heading that has the locations and from the second checklist ONLY the heading that has the label you want each location to have. So check only one from each checklist. Then Ta Da! Google maps all the lines of your spreadsheet with as much information you wanted to give each pinhead. Using the spreadsheet, you can even write mini articles for each location and in this way map out an entire story.map.example.done

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