Monday, July 18, 2016

Mapping the High Plains Aquifer

Thirty percent of water used to irrigate U.S. agriculture comes from the High Plains Aquifer. Unfortunately much of the aquifer is in decline.

The High Plains Aquifer underlies eight U.S. states. National Geographic's A Vanishing Aquifer: What Happens When the Water Runs Out illustrates the situation of the aquifer under each of these states with an interactive map.

As you scroll through A Vanishing Aquifer the map automatically updates. Page scrolling is used to zoom into the map, add overlays & map labels and to highlight areas on the map. The article also uses cascading page elements to switch between the article text, charts, illustrations and the interactive map.

The map itself is custom made by National Geographic. However it is possible to replicate the scrolling map interactions used in the article with most of the popular mapping libraries. Users of CARTO (previously CartoDB) can use Odyssey.js. Esri has Story Maps and, if you like Mapbox, you can use the fly to a location based on scroll position demo in the Mapbox Examples.
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