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Interactive Mapping

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Italian_Stallion, Feb 26, 2008.

  1. Italian_Stallion

    Italian_Stallion Active Member

    I've been kicking around some ideas regarding interactive maps and their use for sports.

    In case you're not sure what I'm talking about, check out this:


    Be sure to click the red pins.

    What I have in mind is a region-wide, or possibly statewide, interactive map that has a pin for each high school. A person could visit a paper's Web site, find the school and click. That could take the person to a game update such as Joe Jones runs for a 14-yard TD.

    I had asked what people thought of Twitter a few weeks ago, and I got almost no response. But it does allow a person to send a text message from a cell phone. I believe you can also find a way to imbed an individual person's Twitter posts into an interactive map.

    So, the interactive map would allow the reporters to post immediately to the interactive map. Lots of papers are now requiring phone-ins of scores for live scoreboards. But I almost never make that call until I'm finished with post-game interviews. The main reason is that it's awfully loud and chaotic at the end of games. With this, however, I could text in the score in about four seconds without ever having to talk to an actual person. I might be wrong, but I'd guess that someone with a lot of tech-savviness could figure out a way to have those scores automatically post to the scoreboard. But that might be a little down the road.

    Anyone have other ways an interactive map could helps us in sports journalism? I guess a person might be able to use it for a road race.
  2. zebracoy

    zebracoy Guest

    A buddy of mine alerted me to the Boston Globe's interactive map of Fort Myers for spring training, which I thought would have been fantastic to use if I was a fan. It has a list of writers' picks for eats and hotels, fans' picks for the same and all the useful points to visit for one looking to check out the games in the area.


    I do agree, though, that a lot of this stuff can be useful, if not at the very least to plot all the local high schools just so parents can get directions from one place to another in a simple, easy-to-use manner (I know I have trouble trying to find the exact address of a school or off-campus ballfield when sent out on assignment).

    It's not going to revolutionize the industry, but these are the reader-friendly things that can help boost our public perception.
  3. captzulu

    captzulu Member

    I like the ideas presented so far, especially the one about providing parents with directions to the schools. However, I don't think an interactive map alone will be a good substitute for a live scoreboard. When people go to the site to find a score, they want to find it quickly, and it's a lot easier scanning a scoreboard for a team name than trying to decipher which pin on the map represents which school. You can do both, but I think the map alone would not be very user-friendly as a scoreboard.

    I think you can also use the map for your prep schedules, like a "What's Going On Tonight" or "Can't Miss Local Prep Action This Weekend" feature. And I can definitely see a lot of uses for an interactive map as part of the prep preview package, including jettisoning some of the standard info (rosters, coaches, etc.) to the Web and using more of your print space for stories.
  4. Italian_Stallion

    Italian_Stallion Active Member

    I know of papers that already have directions set up through Mapquest on their prep sites. With the interactive map, I can almost imagine a statewide map where all of the papers carry it and each paper updates a certain number of games via text message reports.

    There are also some news/blog aggregators out there that are seeing some interesting use during the elections. This is the sort of technology that might be nice to have in two years, when everyone is blogging live from games. The editor picks which blogs and news sites to include, and then he throws together a rail down the left or right side with heads and links to the blogs. It's actually something all papers should do for their pro beats. There have to be at least three or four decent blogs for each sports team out there. It doesn't mean the paper believes everything in the blog, but it does provide some added perspective. And, hey, it's just a link.

    By the way, how many of you work for papers that have someone on staff who would know how to, say, set up a CMS to aggregate all major newspaper stories tagged Florida Marlins?
  5. deskslave

    deskslave Active Member

    It's occurred to me a few times, though I've never acted on it, that a handful of text messages between reporters could be a really easy way to relay scores to a PA announcer at a football game, who could then present "some scores of interest from around the area, courtesy of the Cowshitistan Times," or even, "let's check the Cowshitistan Times scoreboard."
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