MapStory.org Soft Launches
I got a preview of MapStory.org (or is it Mapstory - the site has it both ways) last week at FOSS4GNA. It was scheduled to launch last Thursday and is now up an running.
What is it? There is no "about" page, so I can only tell you what I think it is. It's a platform for collecting datasets (StoryLayers), amd MapStories (animaged maps of these datasets over times). The intro video talks about sharing what we know about our part of the world and collaborating with others to learn more. The platform shares vision heritage from sites like Platial, GeoCommonas and ArcGIS Online. The datasets are offered in several formats (shapfiles, KML, GeoJSON under a CC license (of some sort) and the MapStories are embeddable (though I was unable to successfully embed one as of yet).
For now, you need to ask for an invitation to join (a video explains how). Once you log in you can upload data (shapefiles, KML for now), build stories, comment, etc. There are currently 67 StoryLayers and 45 MapStories. They are categorized (crisis, health, culture and ideas, etc.) for better searching. A wider campaign to invite users is expected in a few weeks.
It will be interesting to see this platform mature and see where it goes. The underlying tech is the open source geonode platform for the management and publication of geospatial data.
The idea dates back to 1994, when Chris Tucker got the idea while working as an academic. It's come togehter over the past few years with the last nine months of agressive coding. Tucker expects students to learn quite a bit from these animated visualizations. Tucker also sees the site as a place for "homeless" geodata.
I'm wondering if there'll be confusion with Esri's MapStory effort. I think that work may be in the process of being remamed Story Maps.
See (ok listen) also: GotGeoint podcast interview with Chris Tucker