April 10, 2017

Maps Telling Stories?

map story story focus

Telling stories has been important since many thousand years. Stories pass experience and knowledge over to next generations, they render traditions, stories even entertain, and they can even raise a smile. While maps are very efficient in conveying spatial knowledge, they usually do not entertain nor do they raise a smile. Together with David Fairbairn, I explore the possibilities of modifying the structure of a conventional map in order to make it more text alike, hoping for a more efficient way to render a story by maps. The presented paradigm of such modifications is called story focus. [link to publication]

Feel welcome to read our publication:

F-B Mocnik, D Fairbairn: Maps Telling Stories? The Cartographic Journal, 2017 – doi: 10.1080/00087041.2017.1304498

ABSTRACT. Maps are good at representing geographic space, but texts have a stronger affordance of telling a story than maps. Telling stories is, however, important to make information more personal and to arrest the map user’s attention. This paper contrasts the map and the text media in order to understand why texts are good at telling a story but conventional maps are not. We demonstrate that, by a modification of maps, appropriate structural features of the text media can be transferred to maps, which makes them more suitable for telling stories. This new concept for map design can lead to new interaction possibilities and provide insights into how maps can be used more effectively.

If you have any idea for a good story to tell, let me know!