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Media release: AP supplying Super Tuesday results on a Google map

March 6th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Multimedia, Politics

The Associated Press is supplying feed of Super Tuesday vote results to a Google Map which subscribers to the news agency will be able to embed on their news site and other platforms.

In a release, AP said it is working with Google are to make the mapping application available to subscribers of AP Election Services for today’s Super Tuesday results, when 10 states cast their votes to select a Republican candidate to challenge President Barack Obama in November’s election.

Brian Scanlon, director of AP Election Services said in the release:

Our subscribers have always had the option to create these maps on election night, but some of them faced cross-platform challenges. Now, we have a turnkey mapping solution. Its an arrangement that not only makes sense for AP and Google, but also our customers and ultimately the end-user.

Eric Hysen of the Google Politics & Elections team said:

Google is excited to work with the Associated Press to help visualise and distribute the state-by-state results for Super Tuesday. Our Google results maps will show statewide and county level AP results in real-time at google.com/elections. AP subscribers will also be able to embed the results map on their own websites. We look forward to a successful and exciting Super Tuesday.

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London riots: Five ways journalists used online tools

Since riots started in London on Saturday, 6 August, journalists – and many non-journalists, who may or may not think of themselves as citizen reporters – have been using a variety of online tools to tell the story of the riots and subsequent cleanup operation.

Here are five examples:

1. Maps

James Cridland, who is managing director of Media UK, created a Google Map – which has had more than 25,000 views.

Writing on his blog (which is well worth a read), Cridland explains how and why he verified the locations of riots before manually adding reports of unrest to his map one by one.

I realised that, in order for this map to be useful, every entry needed to be verified, and verifiable for others, too. For every report, I searched Google News, Twitter, and major news sites to try and establish some sort of verification. My criteria was that something had to be reported by an established news organisation (BBC, Sky, local newspapers) or by multiple people on Twitter in different ways.

Speaking to Journalism.co.uk, he explained there was much rumour and many unsubstantiated reports on Twitter, particularly about Manchester where police responded by repeatedly announcing they had not had reports of copycat riots.

A lot of people don’t know how to check and verify. It just shows that the editor’s job is still a very safe one.

Hannah Waldram, who is community co-ordinator at the Guardian, “used Yahoo Pipes, co-location community tools and Google Maps to create a map showing tweets generated from postcode areas in London during the riots”. A post on the OUseful blog explains exactly how this is done.

Waldram told Journalism.co.uk how the map she created last night works:

The map picks up on geotagged tweets using the #Londonriots hashtag in a five km radium around four post code areas in London where reports of rioting were coming in.

It effectively gives a snapshot of tweets coming from a certain area at a certain time – some of the tweets from people at home watching the news and some appearing to be eyewitness reports of the action unfolding.

2. Video

Between gripping live reporting on Sky News, reporter Mark Stone uploaded footage from riots in Clapham to YouTube (which seems to have inspired a Facebook campaign to make him prime minister).

3. Blogs

Tumblr has been used to report the Birmingham riots, including photos and a statement from West Midlands Police with the ‘ask a question’ function being put to hugely effective use.

4. Curation tools

Curation tools such as Storify, used to great effect here by Joseph Stashko to report on Lewisham; Storyful, used here to tell the story of the cleanup; Bundlr used here to report the Birmingham riots, and Chirpstory, used here to show tweets on the unravelling Tottenham riots, have been used to curate photos, tweets, maps and videos.

5. Timelines

Channel 4 News has this (Flash) timeline, clearly showing when the riots were first reported and how unrest spread. Free tools such as Dipity and Google Fusion Tables (see our how to: use Google Fusion Tables guide) can be used to create linear (rather than mapped) timelines.

If you have seen any impressive interactive and innovative coverage of the riots please add a link to the comments below.

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#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – how to create a live Flickr and tweet map

10,000 Words has a great guide for journalists to explain how to create a real-time geotagged Flickr map to show photos and the locations they were taken on a Google Map.

You can follow the same principle to allow you to add geolocated tweets.

A Flickr map has numerous applications from creating a report on a marathon, to covering demonstrations and protests, to showing parades and carnivals.

One beauty of this method is it allows reporters or readers to post photos by email rather than via apps.

This guide explains how it works: by checking your settings to allow email submissions, tagging photos and taking a geoFeed from your Flickr photostream page or your Flickr group page.

Tipster: Sarah Marshall

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at Journalism.co.uk email us using this link – we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.

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BetaTales: Can the story of traffic accidents be told in a new way?

BetaTales takes a look at a new project based on traffic accident data from journalists and programmers at Norwegian media house Bergens Tidende.

Accidents are apparently common fare in the Western part of Norway, with frequent news reports of collisions on the region’s narrow, winding roads.

With this in mind, journalists at Bergens Tidende approached the Norwegian Public Roads Administration armed with the Freedom of Information Act, eventually getting access to a database of all road accidents in the country.

The database turned out to be a journalistic goldmine: It contained details about 11,400 traffic accidents all over the country, all neatly arranged in an Excel file. Not only did the database give the exact position of each accident, but it also included numerous details, such as how many were killed and injured, the seriousness of injuries, driving conditions, type of vehicle, type of street, speed limit, time of the day, etc.

Still, most journalists would at this point probably have been happy to take a look at the database, extract some of the relevant accidents and made a couple of news stories based on them. In Bergens Tidende, though, the journalists instead were teamed up with programmers. Within a few weeks all the traffic accidents in the country had been put on a big Google map with endless ways to search the database.

Full story on BetaTales at this link.

“Killing Roads” project from Bergens Tidende at this link (Norwegian).

Bergens Tidende multimedia journalist Lasse Lambrechts talks about “Killing Roads”:

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Social media and citizen journalism help chart China’s violent land grabs

In the absence of an independent media, citizen journalism and social media have thrived in China and Chinese people have used the internet to report on civil and human rights abuses ignored by mainstream media.

Now an anonymous Chinese blogger called Bloody Map has collated incidents of illegal land grabs and property demolitions and plotted them on Google Maps.



The project, called 血房地图 (xuefang ditu or “Bloody Map”), charts often-violent evictions and demolitions throughout China. According to the project’s Sina account (now invite-only), its aim is to:

… collect and list cases of violent eviction which have, or will, already faded from public view; some cases going back 2-3 years I had to dig up myself, but with your support, it’ll be much easier. When I say that new housing is being built right now on land covered in blood, people know what I mean.

There are forceful evictions taking place now which need more media attention, Bloody Map on its own isn’t an appropriate platform to that end. People can’t expect that an effort like this will create enough attention to put an end to current forced evictions. The goal of this site is to present evidence allowing consumers to make decisions. If a day comes when this tiny map is able to make people within the interest chain of a particular eviction reconsider their actions, then it will have achieved its goal.

There are actually two Bloody Maps: a “revised” version edited by the founder that shows only cases reported by media, and an “open” version that anyone can add to or edit. Contributors use symbols to specify the nature of the property-related violence: video cameras for media coverage; volcanoes for violence during protests; beds for when property owners were killed; and flames for when those resisting eviction set themselves on fire.

Since launching a month ago on October 8, the maps have recorded 130 incidents and attracted more than 476,000 views. The founder says incidents will be removed when the media reports the resolution of conflicts. The project itself has attracted some media attention, with both the Shanghai Daily newspaper (subscription required) and Xinhua news agency reporting on the maps.

Colin Shek is an NCTJ print postgraduate from the University of Sheffield, currently based in Shanghai. This post was originally published on his website: www.colinshek.com. He can be found on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/colinshek

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#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – local map widgets

June 28th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

Hyperlocal Google maps: mySociety has a simple step-by-step guide showing you how to display the most recent reports from its FixMyStreet service, on a local map widget. This can then be embedded on your blog or site. Tipster: Judith Townend.

To submit a tip to Journalism.co.uk, use this link – we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.

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Mapping stories and historical images on Google Street View

June 4th, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Multimedia

Historypin, a site that overlays historical images and related stories on Google Street View, describes itself as “like a digital time machine”:

It uses Google Maps and Street View technology and hopes to become the largest user-generated archive of the world’s historical images and stories.

Historypin asks the public to dig out, upload and pin their own old photos, as well as the stories behind them, onto the Historypin map. Uniquely, Historypin lets you layer old images onto modern Street View scenes, giving a series of peaks into the past.

It has been developed by We Are What We Do, the “social movement” and campaign that was behind the book ‘Teach your Granny to Text and Other Ways to Change the World’, in partnership with Google.

If the technology behind it were opened up, this would be a fascinating way to publishing ‘nostalgia’ pictures from local newspapers, news archives or map historic stories.

(via Mapperz)

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MPs’ travel expenses disparity highlighted by Guardian Open Platform projects

Tony Hirst, the independent developer who launched some of the first projects using the Guardian’s Open Platform, has again used the Data Store in an innovative way – leading to a new story about MPs’ expenses for the Guardian.

Hirst’s use of Google Maps shows that there are differences of up to £20,000 in neighbouring MPs’ travel expenses.

Hirst describes his work here which he developed after he discovered that the expenses data was being released via Data Store. Guardian technology editor Charles Arthur wrote about Hirst’s initial efforts and said “what we need now is a dataset which shows constituency distances from Westminster, so that we can compare that against travel…”

Hirst clearly couldn’t resist the challenge.


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