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Tracking Twisters: Citizen Stories Shared Using GIS Technology

As we welcome spring we also face the horror of a terrible tornado season. As you know, earlier this year, tornadoes swept through most of the southern states reeking havoc on many American lives.

Nowadays, with the wide use of smartphones, people far from the disaster can follow how everything unfolded through eyewitness reporting.

At the Esri User Conference, my colleagues learned about a new ‘storytelling with maps’ technology from the folks at NatGeo. After the tornadoes took a hold of the nation, a map story was created to show the spread of the storms across the country over a few days using this tool. It is fascinating to see how it has quickly transformed the way we understand, visualize and experience real-life stories.

Honestly, upon initial introduction to the storymapping tool; I wanted to utilize it for my own personal road-trips and vacations. Tracking my route, uploading video and photos along the way and sharing it with family and friends as my journey was occurring. However, I do realize there is a far greater need for more important elements. Check out a few other uses here.

Is there a way your department or agency should take advantage

of storytelling with maps?

When Esri was founded in 1969, they realized even then that geographic information system (GIS) technology could make a difference in society. GIS helps people to solve problems at local, regional, national, and global scales. Access maps and apps at ArcGIS.com. Check out the Communications & Citizen Engagement Sub-Community of which they are a council member.

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Emily Landsman

This is actually pretty cool. They have a ton of data. By coincidence, I was chatting with ESRI this morning and started to explore the software.

Here’s a link to my first map, just as a test…Household size and access to supermarkets in Arlington, VA.