A Simple, Clever, Why Didn’t I Think of That Idea

For years, I’ve been fascinated with the ways in which one can tell stories with maps using simple tools Google Maps provides. (Since my first attempt at doing it, the tools have become incredibly more sophisticated).

On the website for the public radio show, This American Life, I just ran across a map-as-feature that I can’t recall seeing on another news site. It could be on lots of them, I just don’t recall ever having seen it. And it could have been on This American Life’s website for years, but I just saw it for the first time today. This American Life calls the feature a Story Globe (reminds me a bit of a “Tag Cloud”). It’s simply an interface of the story archive displayed by location using Google Maps.


It’s one more reminder that content that flows–the chronological metaphor most of us with news or journalism in our DNA feel most natural with–is not the only way people can, potentially, interact with content. Each content element that is published (posted, broadcasted, aired, etc.)  has the potential to also be an object that can be presented in new and different ways: by topics, keywords, categories and, in this case, by location. As we have on-demand media that we can browse or search by title or genre, why not also have content  that we can browse in other ways, like, by location?

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Rex Hammock

Founder/ceo of Hammock Inc., the customer media and content company based in Nashville, Tenn. Creator of and head-helper at