Maps have the ability to tell powerful stories to anyone that is interested in learning. The phrase, “A picture is worth a thousand words” fits in beautifully to the subject of mapping software and how it can benefit a business. A thousand data points in an excel file replaces the ‘thousand words’ and the map containing the data replaces the ‘picture’.
Maps have powerful narrative capabilities but many companies have been slow on the uptake. One reason for this slow adaption might be the daunting questions of “why tell stories with maps? And “how can it help my business? First, there are very few mediums of communication as efficient as maps. A vast amount of data can be digested in what seems to be an instant. This is different than just looking at a spreadsheet with columns of digits. Maps are universally understood; they are used in everyday life from our bedroom and classroom walls to our cars and workplace. In a presentation, one speaker may use six slides to describe the geography of their business, while it will only take one slide for another speaker to describe their business’s geography with the image of a map.
The ability for maps to be interactive is a crucial component of the immense range of applications that maps can be used for. The encouragement of further exploration is prompted when an interactive component is featured. Because maps can be interactive viewers have a chance to not just look at mundane statistical numbers but can zoom in and explore areas of interest. The story does not have to be linear. The capability of interactive maps allows users to delve into the map to see what the story is in specific regions. There can be many different stories panning out based on data points within each region, and giving the user a chance to interact with the map will result in a much deeper understanding of what is actually happening.
Businesses who harness the enormous arrays of functions that maps offer will have a leg up on the competition. Clients will be thoroughly impressed by the amount of time it takes a speaker to convey their point to the audience and in a better fashion, had they showed dozens of spreadsheets. The client will be thankful for the short period of time that the meeting will take up as well as the interactive component. If a client has a question instead of just telling them you have the chance to show them by interacting with the map.