I’ll be at tomorrow’s Drupal4Gov event, a hands on training event designed to get government folks playing with new open source technology, participating in a session on tools for telling complex stories with maps. I’m excited to show off some open source mapping tools from MapBox, including our map design studio TileMill and high-speed map hosting from MapBox Hosting. Mike Reich from Seabourne Consulting will join me in this session and will talk about how he took maps designed in TileMill and hosted with MapBox and integrated them into the Drupal site FCC.gov. It will be great to walk folks through the entire lifecycle–from designing a map with a custom data set, to getting it online, to seeing it live on a Drupal website.

I’ll start the session by showing a few examples of how putting data on a fast, interactive map can tell a clear visual story. Specifically I’ll talk about how maps made projects like Violence Against Journalists in Afghanistan and Mapping Aid and Need in the Horn of Africa successful. I’ll then lead a demo that shows how MapBox tools make it possible to design custom maps with only a basic understanding of HTML/CSS and a set of geodata. We’ll make a map live in the session from data stored in a tabular CSV file.

Mike will talk about how Seabourne and the FCC have been able to leverage these online mapping tools to design custom maps from large datasets and host them on the web. He’ll also talk about strategies for using the MapBox API to get highly custom maps embedded into Drupal sites, and other CMS platforms. He’ll take the map we make in TileMill show how he is able to integrate it into a website.

You can download TileMill for free and find documentation and support for using it at support.mapbox.com.

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