When people can see information, they can better understand it. And when they can better understand it, they can get more from it. That’s why maps play such an important role for open government initiatives.
Although GIS has been utilised by government departments for decades, it was long seen as a high-level technology that only a specialised few could use to create functional and attractive maps for the public.
However, that once exclusive reputation is being put to rest with a whole range of user-friendly applications now available that simplify tasks and streamline workflows.
One app in particular has gained a great deal of traction throughout the government sector over the past few years, and is increasingly being used as an open data tool to share community information, raise environmental awareness and attract visitors to regional towns and major cities.
If you don’t have either of those, you can sign up for a free 60-day ArcGIS platform trial and start making story maps straight away.
The end result is an easy-to-understand, highly informative virtual brochure of sorts, which features information on what a tsunami is, where such an event would pose a threat for the state, and the emergency management contingency plans currently in place.
This striking public transport story map, meanwhile – developed using datasets made available by Public Transport Victoria – explores Melbourne’s public transport system, with detailed time-distance modelling that shows commute times to the CBD, wait times, and even public transport access to local McDonald’s stores.
Elsewhere around the world, local, state and federal government departments are exploring the full capabilities of Story Maps with impressive results. Below, I’ve listed a few examples that caught my attention:
- Protecting Our Nation’s Treasured Vistas (United States Environmental Protection Agency)
- City of Burnaby: Parks, Recreation and Cultural Facilities (City of Burnaby)
- Exploring Omaha’s Top Attractions (Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau)
- Boston Green Links Park Paths Network (City of Boston)
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