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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Story Maps #2: What's Your Dinner's Story?

I love the idea that we are story telling with maps.  Most people enjoy a great story.  Good stories have a central theme or motif (fancy English teacher word).  With a guiding motif, we can add items to our story that  express emotion, inform and provoke discussion.  In a conversation recently, we were plotting and laughing about food's role in getting people to attend events...even in a virtual event, just the "talk" of food elicited more responses from folks. So let's chase that rabbit...what stories can maps tell centered around food?

It makes sense to start at the beginning of food, agriculturally.  Where is it grown? How is it processed?  What foods are produced most?  What other uses do food plants have...other than filling your belly? The good folks over at Esri Story Maps have created a great story on this topic. "Feeding the World" Where did your breakfast come from? Visit the 20 Minute GIS Portal for that map.

If you want to use ArcGIS desktop then have a look at Survivor Agriculture!  It gives students a chance to imagine an apocalyptic scenario where food is valuable trade as well as necessary sustenance. What an interesting story students can build here!

Perhaps students would like to explore data and build their own maps...create a unique story from their perspective.  Go to and search for "food." You'll find many layers that relate to all aspects of food and agriculture.

I like the idea of telling family stories centered around food.  Even foodies out there can appreciate the location of that perfect meal.  Maybe it's the smell of Grandma's apple cookies or the adventures with a friend around the country that create amazing memories around food!

So don't let a good story pass you by!  What story did you live today?

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