Creating Interactive Maps


Google offers two very simple tools to create maps with your data. Both Google My Maps and Google Earth are tools for journalists that are not only useful for historians but also offer some historical features.


Digital Maps


With Google My Maps you can individualize a standard Google map. Choose a place and points of interest, then adjust map style, pin style and colors, or import your data set and let My Map visualize your geographical data. Since these maps are interactive, viewers may zoom in or out, look at other things and explore the area.

Create your own personalized Google Map.


Video Tours


Google Earth Pro allows you to create and export high quality images of almost any place on this planet. A notable feature are historical air photographs that date back to the late 1940s, at least for some regions. Furthermore, you can create and export videos showing a tour from one place to another, or a range of places. Oftentimes, historical accounts of events are very abstract because people can hardly imagine the geographical surroundings, especially in distant areas. With this tool you can help your audience follow the historic (or contemporary) events and understand how regional characteristics may have influenced the course of events.

The following tour is an example of a touristic video tour through San Francisco. You can use this tool in the same way to guide your viewers to different sites of historical importance and simultaneously explain the course of history.

Create your own video with Google Earth Pro.


Story Maps


With StoryMapJS, knight lab offers a tool to tell a story that is limited to a certain local area. Add images, text, or sound files to the map and let the viewer follow your storyline. This concepts works not only with geographical maps but with other media like paintings, for instance. Define points of interest in the painting or in any other document of your choice and add information to these points.

This is a screenshot of an exemplary map representing the U.S. history of westward expansion.

StoryMap US Manifest Destiny

The screenshot below shows what an exemplary story map for a painting could look like.

StoryMap The Garden of Earthly Delights

View examples and create your own StoryMap with knight lab.