Interactive Maps

I’m really enjoying working on The Farm. Today, while figuring out my design/development schedule for the next year, I did a little bit of research on embedding google maps for a key section of my project. I had no idea that you could do so much with the maps! I’m looking forward to spending more time researching and thinking through this aspect of my project. Here’s where I’ll start my research: More Than a Map.

A Map

I’m really glad that I spent so much time analyzing Welcome to Pine Point last week. It gave me a lot of good ideas for what I do and don’t want to do in my interactive documentary. One thing that bothered me about Pine Point was how much the story and our understanding of Pine Point (the town, the people in it) were centered on the perspectives of the narrator (one of the creators, Mike Simons). While he interviewed several Pine Pointers and offered up some facts about the town and how it was erased, the overall story seemed to focus on his own nostalgia for the/a past and his romanticizing reverence for Pine Point as the town that never changed.

I’m particularly sensitive to nostalgia, reverence and romanticizing because I worry about it with my own stories about the farm. In fact, finding a way to honor my heritage and recount the stories without romanticizing them is one of my goals. Throughout Welcome to Pine Point, the narrator recognizes the tendency to romanticize, but he doesn’t ever seem to challenge it or work to correct it in his own accounts. 

In Welcome to Pine Point, the town seems unreal: a figment of fantasy that only exists as a memory or legend. But, the town actually did exist. And it was located on a map. Why didn’t the Googles (who created this doc) include a page with a map? I think a map would enable a user, especially one who isn’t that familiar with the Northwest Territory, to see Pine Point as a real place in a specific location (instead of standing in as the legendary town-that-never-changed). I imagine that the lack of map was deliberate; it contributed to the haunting effect of the story and to the appeal of Pine Point as a place like no other.

I want to include a map of Amasa and the farm in my interactive documentary. Even as my stories about the farm will be (somewhat) romantic and vague (lacking many details and dates), I’m not interested in presenting the farm as a mythical place. It did (and still does) exist in a fixed location.

I asked STA about having a map. He said that google maps is highly customizable (if you know javascript, which I don’t….yet). I hope to look into that soon.