It's an exciting day at outside.in: we're going live with our StoryMaps, the first of many tools that we're going to be offering local bloggers and publishers as part of our GeoToolkit. This is the StoryMap for stevenberlinjohnson.com:
Maps of blog posts or news stories are not new of course, but we think these StoryMaps are going to be very popular for a couple of reasons:
1. There's no need to add geo data manually to create the map. Just sign up for Geotoolkit, submit your feed, and we'll start detecting places in your posts automatically. (If we miss something, you can easily add place data with our feed management tools.)
2. For each place on the map, we include the place name and address, plus up to three stories from your archive, so you can see the history of what you've written about that location.
3. Users can change the time-scale on the fly -- seeing only the last week's worth of stories, or taking a big gulp and seeing six months.
We're going to be adding new features to these maps in the coming months, along with some excellent new tools that we have in the pipeline. For me, the most exciting thing about this is that it's our first big step beyond simply being a destination site for people interested in information about their communities; outside.in is now becoming a platform for anyone -- from bloggers to local newspapers to national media -- who wants to participate in building out the geo-web. I'll be talking about this a bit today at my Web 2.0 talk with Chris Tolles from Topix, so be sure to swing by if you're at the conference. And the rest of you -- go build your own StoryMap!