Edmentum recommends MapStory as a pathway to the Common Core

We were excited to see a review of MapStory pop on the Edmentum blog today. Edmentun is a long-time leader in the education technology space, working for over 50 years to find and develop cutting-edge resources for students. In the review Scott Sterling writes,

No matter what your unit calls for, chances are someone has built a MapStory for it. Just a quick scroll through the list provides MapStories that cover rising sea levels, the Apollo moon landings, where the Mars rovers have been, large asteroid impacts, and how the bald eagle has made a comeback from the brink of extinction.

See the full review here.



Talking MapStory with the Google and ACM community in DC

Thanks to an invite from Amar Zumkhawala,  Dr. Chris Tucker had the opportunity yesterday to share our latest work with developers from the DC Google offices and the DC chapter of the Association of Computer Machinery (ACM). More info on ACM here.

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Vint Cerf, often referred to as one of the “fathers of the internet” introduced Chris and stuck around for the presentation and Q & A.


The presentation also went into detail about GeoGit – a new technology focused on simplifying workflows for ‘distributed versioned editing’ of geospatial data that will undergird MapStory’s forthcoming “crowdediting” features. Below Scott Clark from LMN Solutions, the technical lead for GeoGit, gives the audience a glimpse into GeoGit in action.

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Chris’s slides are available for download here.


Scott Nesbit and Adam Arenson to join MapStory as Humanities Advisory Council Chairs

Adam Arenson 0109-           pic1

Today we’re excited to announce Drs. Adam Arenson (left) and Scott Nesbit (right) as co-chairs of a Humanities Advisory Council that will guide the mapstory.org global data commons towards the needs and aspirations of scholars across the humanities disciplines.

Adam Arenson is an assistant professor of history at the University of Texas at El Paso, where he is overseeing a team that is using MapStory to teach history and geography in high-school settings, through a Humanities Texas grant. Arenson earned his Ph.D. at Yale in 2008, and in September he will become an associate professor of history and the director of the Urban Studies Program at Manhattan College. Nesbit is currently the associate director of the University of Richmond Digital Scholarship Lab where he has overseen the Visualizing Emancipation project, among others. He has a PhD in History from the University of Virginia and writes about space, place, and the end of slavery in the American Civil War.

We  at MapStory have followed the digital humanities work of Dr. Arenson and Dr. Nesbit for some time, and admire them as emerging leaders in the field. We know MapStory will become a stronger community due to their leadership and involvement.

Here’s what Adam and Scott had to say in the press release that went out today:

From Adam -

“MapStory is committed to the preservation of mappable data, and the creation of meaningful maps of historic data for educators, students, and the public. The community we can help MapStory create will help unify the conversation about historical visualization in the digital humanities.”     

From Scott -

 ”I’m excited about MapStory’s goal to empower citizens to make sense of the spaces all around them, and to share their stories online. I’m especially pleased to join a community where scholars, teachers, students, and members of the public can map our past and our contemporary world together, a community that is also committed to preserving these stories and the data on which they rely for the future.”

MapStoryDC March “Data Scrum” is a wrap!

By Guy Beels

Hi from Washington DC! I’m a cartographer/geographer by training and am the volunteer leader of the monthly MapStory “data scrum” in Washington DC where we talk about MapStory projects and help each other develop data we need to tell our stories. I’m the one standing up in the red shirt in the picture below :)

On Saturday we had a great gathering at the DC Martin Luther King Jr. Library. A big thanks goes to Karl Phillips, who led the group in mapping out how DC’s city boundaries have changed over more than 200 years. Here’s the StoryLayer we made that you can now use to power any of your own MapStories about historic DC!

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Throughout, we had a free-flowing discussion about data sources, data types, a demo of how layers are uploaded to MapStory (and how they get arranged within a story), and ideas for MapStory projects to work on about Washington DC history that we’re excited to tackle in coming months.

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Like any good party, it ended only when we were kicked out (that is, the library closed).  So, we went around the corner to find some beverages and tell more stories.

We’re looking forward to the next meetup, to be held in about a month, again at the MLK Library.  I’ll be in touch about the details, for those of you in DC.  In the meantime, please post any ideas for meetup topics, either for next time or over the coming months, on the MeetUp group page.  If you have a project (in progress or just in mind) and you’d like some help, post that on the MeetUp group as well, Tweet it out with #mapstory, or list in on the MapStory Wiki.

Thanks all for coming, and if you couldn’t make it, we hope to see you next time!


American Geographical Society kickstarts MapStory Ambassadors Network

Isaiah Bowman’s expedition as it journey’s to the Andes in 1913. Bowman helped establish AGS and is the namesake for the AGS Bowman Expeditions.

By Jonathan Marino

We’re excited to announce that the American Geographical Society (AGS) has partnered with MapStory to kickstart a nationwide “AGS MapStory Ambassadors Network”.

Founded in 1851 to support one of the earliest U.S. expeditions to the Arctic circle, AGS is the oldest geography-focused organization in the United States.

The AGS MapStory Ambassadors Network will continue this long tradition of exploration by empowering ambitious high school and college students to spend a summer mining their own home communities for exciting historical geo-data to tell stories about community change that can be shared with the world at mapstory.org.

The 2-pager below gives a full description of the AGS vision for the Ambassadors Network. They’re currently looking to partner with local community foundations and place-minded philanthropists to help implement the vision at scale.

If you’re interested in being involved or learning more, contact AGS Executive Director, Dr. John Konarski at jkonarski@amergeog.org.

AGS MapStory Ambassadors

The Making of a MapStory – step by step, hands-on!

RSVP View event on Meetup
Saturday, April 5, 2014, 3:00 PM
MLK Library

Join members of the MapStory Volunteer Technical Community (VTC) for a fun, hands-on experience in building a MapStory.  At the last meetup, we saw how DC got square, as Karl Phillips described his project to map how DC’s borders came about. This time, we’ll see exactly how the data can be turned into a MapStory, step by step.  This will be a “map-along” – a chance for you to make MapStories happen on your own devices and see what others are doing, using either Karl’s data or whatever you bring.  (Karl also has boundaries and annexations for over 200 cities, some of which may be near and dear to you.)  No prior experience necessary, except an interest in maps!

Bring your questions and ideas about data and projects, for good talk during the meetup (and afterward, as we locate some refreshing beverages).

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Spatial Networks, Inc donates $25,000 to help MapStory grow

By Jonathan Marino

This week Spatial Networks, Inc presented a $25,000 donation to the MapStory Foundation during the annual FETC conference education technology conference in Orlando, Florida.

“The MapStory.org community is growing, and we wanted to give them a boost as they implement redesigns this spring that make the platform easier to use for teachers and students,” said Anthony Quartararo, Spatial Networks Founder & CEO.

“We see MapStory as a breakthrough resource to help the next generation of students develop STEM and geography skills they need. We also like their philosophical approach to open source, open data and existing as a non profit. They’ve got a great future, and I hope other industry folks get involved as well.” Quartararo added.

Upon receiving the award, Dr. Christopher Tucker, MapStory Founder & CEO said, “When we started MapStory in 2013 we just wanted to make it easier for students young and old to share what they know about our changing world. This donation will accelerate our efforts to lower the barrier to entry and make MapStorytelling, as we call it, more fun for everyone.”

About Spatial Networks

Spatial Networks, Inc. is a privately-held commercial technology company headquartered in the Tampa Bay area (Clearwater), founded in June of 2000. The company provides innovative mobile technology for use by Government and private industry, as well as unique geospatial data products from around the world.


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Article features Arizona State University’s role in helping build MapStory

Arizona State University has played an instrumental role in helping MapStory grow over the past two years. A new article published today outlines their efforts and highlights the work of one particular student – Jonathan Davis – who as taken it upon himself to map several different dimensions of Native American history. Here’s an excerpt:

MapStory is an innovative technological tool that allows people like Arizona State University student Jonathan Davis to create visual and spatial data stories. One of Davis’ recent projects, “American Indian Reservations 18th Century to the Present,” consists of recreating the establishment of American Indian reservations through the platform.

“MapStory creates maps that are played in succession through time,” said Davis, a geographic information systems graduate student who was raised in Chandler, Ariz. “I focus on historical MapStories where you can read about history and get a solid geographical framework where the event took place. You can actually see the topography and the geography, so it’s easy to read about it while seeing it. It kind of makes history come to life.”

Read the full article here.


OpenStreetMap #editathon comes to DC Public Library

By Jonathan Marino

Last Saturday we we’re happy to co-host the quarterly OpenStreetMap #editathon alongside the MLK Library Dream Lab in Washington DC. OpenStreetMap is the world’s open base map that anyone can edit. Kathleen Danielson, the national treasurer for OpenStreetmap US kicked us off, and over 30 mappers got to work adding points of interest and other features focused on DC and beyond.

We’re excited to keep collaborating with MLK and OSM in months to come!

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Data scrum: Mapping DC borders over space and time

RSVP View event on Meetup
Saturday, March 1, 2014, 3:00 PM
MLK Library

The United States Constitution called for formation of a “District (not exceeding ten miles square)…to become the seat of the government of the United States.” Over the last 225+ years the city has taken shape.  

Join members of the MapStory Volunteer Technical Community (VTC) for a fun, hands-on effort to map out exactly how DC’s borders came into being. Along the way we’ll learn about working with spatial data and brainstorm more DC MapStory projects to take on in the future. No prior experience necessary, but bring an interest in DC history and maps!

We’ll go from 3-5pm, with a likely field trip to food and beer nearby afterwards…

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