Thursday, October 12, 2017

The River Nile is Dying

The BBC has released a web documentary which explores the dwindling health of the River Nile and how the human race is largely responsible for its demise. Maps are used throughout the BBC's investigation to illustrate where and how climate change, human consumption, human waste and desertification are combining to kill the world's largest river.

You can read the BBC's web documentary yourself to discover why the Nile is dying. I want to explore how the documentary was created and how we can create similar long-form stories illustrated with interactive maps. The BBC's Death of the Nile was created using the Shorthand multimedia storytelling platform for long-form 'Snow Fall' type web content.

The BBC's Death of the Nile mostly uses static map images. However it is possible to embed interactive maps in Shorthand stories. You can therefore use any of the popular mapping platforms to illustrate a long-form story created with Shorthand. Free Mapping Tools to Upgrade Your Shorthand Story provides a very brief introduction as to how you can do this without knowing how to code.

If you want to create similar long-form web content, in which maps are integral to the story, you can also use Esri's Story Map Cascade platform. You can also use Leaflet.js to create scroll-driven story maps. Jack Dougherty's leaflet-storymap is a great template to use for creating scroll-driven story maps with Leaflet.js. Jack's leaflet-storymap is an easy to use template for creating a scroll-driven story map in which all the narrative content is loaded from a separate GeoJSON data file. You can view a demo of the template in action here.

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