Last year at Exprodat we decided to hold an internal competition that would couple the keen minds of our staff and our deeply ingrained love of (quality) maps. In days gone our map competitions elicited a few high quality entries, but due to the limitless possibilities of available data and the necessity of using ArcGIS for Desktop to create a suitable output, there were not as many entries as hoped.
Quite simply, there were not as many staff engaged in actively taking part. So we got to thinking… How could we encourage our staff to spend their precious personal time, creating interesting maps?
Our competition, it would seem, needed to be simpler. It needed to be something that could be worked on at home, say, from an internet browser. Luckily Esri have come to the rescue and created a wonderful peace of technology providing just that, in the shape of ArcGIS Online.
The benefit of using this technology was threefold:
- Only the internet and a computer were required to begin
- Everyone could enter (not just our GIS experts)
- Everyone would get the chance to play around with Esri’s ArcGIS Platform
And so the Exprodat Story Map competition was born.
For those of you not too familiar with Story Maps (where have you been?!) they’re a simple way of visualising a story you wish to tell. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, so you’re essentially saving yourself time. Plus, setting up a story map is quite a bit easier than you would think.
So whether you are a big Game of Thrones fan, are rather interested in the sizes of intersections in China, the bird related beers around England or even in following us through one of our previous map based events, the fantastic Exprodat Treasure-hunt, there is a way to tell your story.
To participate in the competition, we kept the guidelines as simple as possible
- Come up with an interesting story
- Pick one of the Esri Story Map Templates
- Write the story
- Publish the story to the competition group
The glorious 7 of 10 (entries)
Fast forward a month and we received 10 well thought out and unique entries detailing journeys through mountainous Scotland to some weird and wonderful animal facts of the world. The following seven entries (many falling just shy of a prize winning spot) unfortunately did not make it through to the final three places, but are very worthy of a place in the Exprodat Map Competition Hall of Fame.
The entries (in alphabetical order):
- 10 Weird and Wonderful Animal Facts – [Elinor Hunt]
- A Story Map covering ten of the weirdest and most wonderful oddities of the animal world.
- A Brief Tour of the Azores – [Ben Holmes]
- This Story Map is a quick look at some of the history of the Azores.
- Dave Gallaher – An Originals Story – [Nathan Mooney]
- This Story Map shows some of the key moments in the life of Dave Gallaher; the original New Zealand All Blacks rugby captain.
- E&P Geological Field trip up Ben Nevis – [Simon Stevens] (item not public)
- 1,344 m (4,409 ft) remains of a Devonian volcano that met a cataclysmic end in the Carboniferous period around 350 million years ago.
- Exprodaters: How we got here! – [Dhowal Dalal] (item not public)
- A short Story Map showing each of our staff’s journey to Exprodat.
- The Beautiful Game – [Danny Thompson]
- A brief summary of the only sport that matters!
- What’s Ours is Yours – [Aleksander Kedzior] (item not public)
- The idea of the story came up during the motorcycle trip to Georgia – where the contrast between the hospitality of Georgians and “western” people is particularly strong. Or was it just our impression? The Story Map tries to find an answer to this question.
This prize was awarded to an incredibly polished presentation that used backdrop layer visibility switching (it’s in there for those with a keen eye!). It goes on to prove that a well written story and just enough technology can provide a very interesting story. So we have:
Central Asia Exploration – [Harry Nowell]
Harry’s story was incredibly in-depth, with 31 sections and just as many interesting pictures describing the landmarks and people who weave themselves into the story. It’s well worth a look!
The next chapter
In our next blog we’ll take a look at the second place prize winner and some of the interesting features within story maps that you may not know about….
Posted by Dean Moiler, GIS Consultant, Exprodat.