Better Mapping

Maps are one of the most common visualizations in news code, and one of the easiest to get wrong. In a collection that will grow over time, we’ve gathered project walkthroughs and Learning pieces focused on making maps that are clear, nuanced, and useful.


  1. Choosing the Right Map Projection

    By Michael Corey

    Posted on

    Map projection choices are tricky in just about every possible way. Michael Corey’s survey touches on the basics (Mercator and beyond) before diving into the technical details of handling projections thoughtfully and well.

  2. Mapping the Fiery Chaos of the 1968 Riots

    By Armand Emamdjomeh, Danielle Rindler, and Lauren Tierney

    Posted on

    How The Washington Post made a complex, collaborative project using archival maps, decades-old Secret Service data, and more.

  3. Anatomy of the “Living Apart” map

    By Jeff Larson and Erika Owens

    Posted on

    Jeff Larson’s breakdown of his animated choropleth map for ProPublica will be helpful for anyone considering ways to show change over time, with bonus video-editing wisdom.

  4. Mapping Made Simple, Now with Bonus UI

    By Alan Palazzolo

    Posted on

    Alan Palazzolo introduces two mapping tools from his team at MinnPost: Simple Map D3, a JavaScript library that makes it easy to build choropleth-style maps in D3, and Tulip, an interface that sits on top of Simple Map and makes the process even simpler.

  5. Mapping the History of Street Names

    By Noah Veltman

    Posted on

    A detailed breakdown of the quirks and intricacies of working with OpenStreetMap data and Leaflet, plus a whole lot of interface and usability tweaking.

  6. The Code Behind AJAM’s Displaced Syrians App

    By Michael Keller

    Posted on

    Letting readers screenshot map views for a gallery of reader-submitted comments or annotations adds a whole lot to a map feature. Al Jazeera America wrote a set of three tools to make that process easier, open-sourced all three of them, and explain here how to use them in your own app.

  7. A Map That Wasn’t a Map

    By Tasneem Raja

    Posted on

    Sometimes the best map for a job…isn’t a map. Or not just a map, at least. Mother Jones’ Tasneem Raja explains her team’s approach to a reusable non-map template.

  8. Spokesman-Review Holiday Lights Map

    By Ryan Pitts

    Posted on

    Why make a one-off when you can make a mapping app your team can re-use over and over? Our own Ryan Pitts talks about spinning a simple holiday lights map into an elegant tool for his newsroom’s reporters.

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