Week 2 – Storymapping

River Street Neighborhood:

This map is telling the reader of the history and transformation of the River Street Neighborhood in Boise, ID from as early as 1891 all the way to today. With the use of contemporary Google Earth pictures and geo-referenced historic pictures and maps at different time periods, the reader is immersed is the change and continuity of the neighborhood and it’s notable businesses.

It seems to me that the argument the map is making that the neighborhood has grown from its historic roots by emphasizing the landmarks and districts within the neighborhood that made it the part of the town to be in during its hay-day. The Google Earth Tour mentions grocery stores, family houses, and more that can all be pointed to as references on the map and serve to tell the narrative of the neighborhood. In addition, the author highlights a section of the neighborhood as having received multiple historical preservation grants in the past so that the generations to come can enjoy the same history that is being told today. I especially enjoyed seeing the geo-referenced maps that they included in the tour. It gave an interesting perspective to capture the change of the land over time, specifically how half of the neighborhood is reclaimed land after the dam was built.

Though it had a fair number of pictures and stories on the tour, a silence I noticed was specific family stories or stories about people who worked to change the community and weave the historic tale it tells today.

Lastly, I do believe there are a couple things that could be changed to make this tour more effective. In specific, I would have liked to see the street-view of the current zoomed in on more and then see a picture of a historic building on that site to give a better idea of the change the neighborhood has encountered.

The History of Beer Brewing in Syracuse:

The story that the reader is being told is a fairly comprehensive outline of the beer breweries and production models of the 10 major brewing companies in Syracuse from the 1830’s through Prohibition. One of the main arguments I took away from this storymap was that the author believes that the companies in Syracuse were pioneers in the American beer journey. I believe this is most firmly supported in the beginning of the

I believe this is most firmly supported in the beginning of the storymap as the author depicts, through graphs, that New York accounted for nearly 80% of America’s hop production in some of the last years of the 19th century. With the exception of one of the ten breweries, the author creates a photo with a background that is a modern picture of the original site of the brewery, then overlays a picture of the original brewery on the background, allowing someone who is viewing the storymap today to venture to the scene and glean a better idea of what the brewery may have looked like in its hay-day.

Some of the notable silences of this storymap include that it doesn’t refer much, outside of the introduction, to the full production line and the full economic effect these breweries may have had in the region, and instead just focuses on some of the technological innovations each of them provided to the beer industry.

Overall, I would say that the storymap is very effective in its overall goal and achieved its argument. I loved the maps in the beginning of the storymap that showed how many of these breweries were located on the rivers to give the reader a good understanding of where to locate the past breweries. Another map/graph I might add to this would be how wide the reach of each of these breweries was. Did they sell just in-state? Regionally? Nationwide? Giving a scope would be a very visually appealing graphic, I believe.

The Voyage of the HMS Beagle:

This story and accompanying map tell the story of Darwin’s first circumnavigation, the second trip of the HMS Beagle, and the first with Captain FitzRoy at the helm. Specifically, it details their roughly 20 stops along the way, what either Darwin, FitzRoy or the crew noted about each of the locales and any other interesting bit of information or history that was encountered along the way.

In my view, I believe this storymap is making the argument that Darwin, known for some radical thinking in his later years, possessed a soul that was innately curious, grounded in discoveries, and limited only by his imagination and anxiousness to jump to conclusions. Many times during the story, Darwin’s journal is referenced as a way for the reader to understand what he saw and then hear of how he inferenced his conclusions from his findings. In addition, there are paintings, pictures, or artistic recreations of the places and findings that Darwin encountered throughout this voyage to give the reader an ability to better step into the shoes of the explorers.

Perhaps one of the more notable silences I honed in on while reading this storymap is that there are not a lot of first-hand stories from the natives the Beagle encountered, just what the crew saw and what they thought about it. I think finding some more stories about these interactions may add an interesting element to this piece.

I absolutely think the storymap is effective as is. I really enjoyed seeing pictures, paintings and representations of the places the Beagle visited. In addition, I really liked the historical context surrounding each landing. Darwin is a very famous historical figure, and weaving in some of the reactions to his findings and writings throughout the voyage seemed to tie the bow on this piece very well.


All things considered, I believe the story map of the HMS Beagle is the most effective map. I think the HMS Beagle map did the best job of trying to weave a comprehensive historical narrative throughout the time that it covered. It was able to do this so effectively, I believe, because it focused on a very narrow timeline. A feature I enjoyed about it right off the bat was that the reader can easily follow along with where any individual port fits into the whole of the trip: there is a clear beginning and clear end. Figuring out a way to do accomplish this on the other maps may prove useful. Also, whereas the brewery tour of Syracuse and River Street neighborhood both focused on many decades of history and sources, the HMS Beagle trip lasted for only 5 years. Being able to narrow this focus so well allowed the author to write in greater depth about any given stop the ship made and add in flavorful context and primary sources to give the reader a detailed understanding of the time. In addition, although each story map had silences that, if addressed, would greatly increase the effectiveness of each, the HMS Beagle map had the least destructive silence in that it would only add context instead of content.


Voyage of the HMS Beagle

  1. The goal of this map is to tell the story of the travels of the HMS Beagle as it journeyed around South America and later into Australia, Asia and Africa.
  2. The map is trying to feature the long journey of the HMS Beagle.  It features many key stops along the way. It utilizes pictures to show the reader what the area looked like, along with some of the indigenous population and animals typically seen by those on the journey.
  3. The map only features the key stops. It ignores the other places that they could’ve seen along the way. The first map also ignores geographical boundaries.
  4. I’d say this map is pretty effective. The first map is a little weak since it is just a basic picture, but as you move through the story it gets more detailed.


A Spatial History of Wesleyan University

  1. The map tells the story of the types of buildings, as well as the ones that have been demolished.
  2. The argument is that the building history of the campus has changed over time. The map utilizes oral stories and different colors to show this.
  3. The map silences the building that don’t belong to the university. You also can’t tell when things were built.
  4. The map is only somewhat effective. It would be more interesting to see how it changed over time other than the fact that buildings were demolished.  Don’t know if that is possible.


River Street Neighborhood

  1. This is trying to tell the reader about the economic diversity of Boise.
  2. The argument is that there are a lot of different stores, restaurants and other buildings around this area.
  3. This map silences street names and building names, as they do not appear on the google earth tour.
  4. The map is in my mind pretty ineffective as a tool to get around. I would have a very poor idea of where certain buildings are but if you want to see it without going it works just fine.


I’d say that the HMS Beagle map was the most effective.  I think it did the best job of showing it’s purpose of illustrating the history of its travels.  They utilized pictures pretty well and it was easy to follow along too and the more detailed map was really was only missing topography.


The first storymap, which was created using the platform Odyssey.js, depicted Darwin’s journey aboard the HMS Beagle. The map paired images and text with a pinned location on a world map. The storymap selected only certain locations and largely ignored the route of travel. The argument this storymap made is related to the thoroughness of the trip made by the Beagle in terms of length, distance, and data collection. By showing locations throughout the world, I got a sense of the extent of the trip. With textual information focused on the biological findings and collection activity, I got a better understanding of the variety of services performed by crew members. In order to boost effectiveness, I would have rather pinned each location to the world map without zooming in to show the distance travelled in a more holistic fashion. However, I found this map to be the most effective due to the high quality of the graphics and the correct balance of imagery, interaction, and text.

Voyage of the HMS Beagle Porto Praya Page

The next storymap, created using the platform ArcGIS, depicted a history of brewing in Syracuse, New York up to the Prohibition era. This project argued Syracuse has an important place in beer-brewing history and that it was a key center for beer brewing within the United States. The project used a narrative essay explaining the history and significance of the brewing companies and paired it with images (mostly non-maps) related to the written topic(s). The project largely silenced other brewing centers in different parts of the US and in different eras. This project could have been more effective if graphics were a heavier focus – the text portion was unattractive and too long.

History of Beer Brewing in Syracuse Introduction

The final storymap I examined, which was created on Google Earth’s Tool Builder, depicted spacial and textual representations of two people’s accounts of touring the Lake District in 1769 and 1802. Maps were created using data taken from each person’s account of the area. This project chose only two people’s accounts and deliberately ignored other sources. This project examined the merits of the Tool Builder platform in representing historical data. The argument being made is that storymapping technology can enhance the understanding of literature. The thoroughness of the project is a testament to the number of modes of analysis for a piece of text. I would recommend a heavier focus on maps themselves and less on the descriptive text/methodology.

Mapping the Lakes – A Literary GIS Introduction Page


This map depicts the voyage of Charles Darwin’s HMS Beagle in the early 1830s.  This map simply tells us the route which the Beagle took on this voyage starting in Plymouth. This map argues the most important places which Darwin and the crew of the Beagle visited. This is clearly depicted by the lines, arrows, and points of interest on the map. Unfortunately, this map does not show all of the areas traveled to by the crew nor the lengths stayed at these areas. Although we know how long the journey of the Beagle took, this map does not clarify the amount of time spent in each area. In order to make this a more effective map, I would add dates for each area to convey the amount of time spent by Darwin in these unknown worlds.

This particular map depicts the Major breweries in Syracuse in 1892 and 1924. I believe this map is arguing the growth of not only the alcohol business in Syracuse but also the expansive growth of the city as well between the years of 1892 and 1924. This is achieved by the addition of street lines on the 1924 map, thus showing the city’s growth. Overall, I do believe this map is effective in what it aims to do. As a beer map, it clearly highlights all of the major breweries of the area. As a map of the city, it shows how Syracuse has expanded between 1892 and 1924.

This last map is a “mood map”, depicting emotional responses to landmarks seen by the explorer Gray. As a mood map, this map argues emotional responses to the lakes explored by Gray. This is depicted in colorful dots which refer to a key, equating an emotion to a specific color. It is easy to see what emotions Gray was feeling in response to specific lakes explored. The biggest silence found on this map is the lack of labels. Aside from emotional responses, none of the lakes, nor the surrounding areas are labeled. If a person with no previous knowledge were to look at this map, they would be lost. Regardless, it is effective in achieving its purpose as a mood map.

Overall, I believe the most effective map is the Beagle. This map clearly illustrates the specific route taken by Darwin as well as documents the places he visited, thus aiding the creation of his natural selection theory.


The Google Earth tour of the River Street Neighborhood tells the viewer about the history of the neighborhood and its current state. It’s arguing that the neighborhood is full of history, which can be learned about without leaving your home. This argument is supported through descriptions of landmarks, photographs from the past and present to see changes through time, and historical maps that can be overlaid the current map. Cartographic features commonly used in Google Earth are incorporated. This map has limited silences since it has various layers included within the Google Earth app, and if relic names of landmarks are not included, it is an unintentional silence. This storymap is effective in showing the neighborhood’s change through time, but the application’s use is not intuitive and looks cluttered.


The ArcGIS storymap of “The History of Beer Brewing” tells the story of the beer brewing industry in Syracuse during the 19th and 20th centuries. The map argues that the beer industry in Syracuse was tied to political, economic, and cultural trends in the U.S. The argument is supported through in-depth textual evidence and various visual media, such as historical photos and ads, graphs, and maps. Cartographic features are only present when there are maps included, which happens throughout the storymap at various points. The storymap tries to limit silences, but perhaps there are some unintentional silences, since not all of history can be recounted in an informational text. This storymap is effective in giving a detailed history of brewing, and it makes learning interactive and easy to follow along.


The storymap of “Germany’s way through Brasil 2014” tells the story of the German soccer team’s victory in the World Cup. The map argues that although the German team faced obstacles and tough opponents, they persisted and were victorious. The argument is supported through the commentary, photographs and video links provided. Points indicating locations on the map are the only cartographic features. The map silences the landscape and names of places. This was the least effective storymap, because it contained the least detailed commentary, which was riddled with grammar errors, and it had the least detailed map.

I am most impressed with the ArcGIS storymap platform, because of the various media which can be included and the ability to have detailed text embedded within the storymap. The flow was seamless and the platform effectively synthesized narrative elements with visualization elements.

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