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Creating the Nova Scotia Election Map

The first step to developing the Nova Scotia Election Map that we posted about earlier was to visit the Storytelling with Maps site. The site has a number of templates to choose from, all of which are free to use and modify. Each of the templates listed on the StoryMaps site comes with its own set of instructions. As well, the Storytelling with Maps: Workflow and Best Practices document provides enough direction for any user to get started. We picked the Storytelling Swipe template since we wanted users to be able to compare two different election results.

The Storytelling with Maps site

The template allows for basic customization but the source code can also be downloaded from github. This allows the user to fully customize the template. For our purposes, working with the template was enough.

We created two maps in the Storytelling Swipe template. One was for the 2009 results and one was for the 2013 results. The latter was populated with dummy data so that we could make sure everything was working properly prior to Election Day. Both of these maps also function as stand-alone maps. We referenced the maps in the template, using the unique Web map ID that can be found in the navigation bar of any Web browser.


Unique Web map ID

With some template customization that included changing the titles and text and some modifications to the HTML5 code to tweak items such as colours, we got our map viewer up and running. After testing to make sure everything was working properly, we only had to wait for the election results to roll in on Election Day. The results were extracted from the Elections Nova Scotia Web site and included in our 2013 election map. When that was complete, we published the application to the Web using our own ArcGIS for Server and let everyone know where to find it.

About the Author

Paul Heersink is a cartographer and Production Manager of Esri Canada’s Community Maps Program: an initiative that is aiming to build a seamless topographic basemap using contributor data. He has over 15 years of cartographic experience, working in both the public and private sectors. Paul has always been interested in mapping and drew his own atlas at the age of 10. He took a detour in his career through the fields of psychology and social work before returning to cartography.

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