In a recent email exchange with David Bauer of fantastic Swiss newspaper TagesWoche, David gave Gideon, Sourcefabric's head of projects, some great newsroom-centric tips on how we could improve the geolocation features in Newscoop, our open CMS for news.
Geolocating news is a challenging but rewarding exercise for newspapers, especially regional ones. It provides context to articles, a new way of ordering and presenting news, deeper links to other content on the web and, potentially, vital investigative leads and datasets. It can also prove useful in opening up new revenue streams relating to business or service locations.
Newscoop's geolocation tools have been a core feature of the tool from the early days. Here's how one might add a map in Newscoop 4.
Here are the five ways David suggested we could improve this tool:
1. Addresses are better than cities. Newscoop needs to be more precise and make it possible to search for exact addresses, not only cities. Right now, after searching for the city, you need to then place a pin on an exact spot manually.
2. Make the most of KML. Newscoop should make it possible to load KML data into maps. Our Ushahidi Cooker allows you to create KML maps, but Newscoop can't yet import them.
3. Use the map more. Newscoop maps are displayed automatically by the template, but the ability to add a map (and indeed create multiple maps) into the article is missing. Creating map slideshows or using it as the article image should also be possible.
4. Remix and reuse. Newscoop should allow the use of the same map in multiple articles. Once you've created a complex map, it should be able to be recalled for use in another article.
5. Save and autoprompt. Save locations that are often used and make it possible to attach them by simply searching for their name.
Before we rush off and redevelop our mapping tools though, we wanted to spread the net wider and get more input from other news organisations that use Newscoop and other CMSes like Drupal, Joomla, Wordpress and so on.
Does your news organisations use geodata currently? If not, how would you like to use it in the future? Here are a few questions every news organisation should be asking itself...
Let us know below any comments you may have on this, or indeed any mapping issue. What is missing for your news organisation right now from the world of geolocation?
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