Reducing Data Overload with Map Categorization

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Finding new opportunities to implement mapping into an organization requires very little searching – options for portraying more through maps can be found in most standard webpages. Yet even when map-able information is found, it can be a challenge when the text you’re using is unorganized or difficult to navigate. Luckily, this problem can be alleviated with strategic usage of ArcGIS Online’s available templates.

The example I’ve used is an application developed for Travel PA, a program provided on the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s main website. This category contains a relatively vast spanning wealth of textual detail. However, much of the detail in this section can be lost on users, unwilling to travel through a labyrinth of hyperlinks – it’s severely lacking visual cues that would indicate useful subsections.

An easy way to compile this data through the story map – in this case, the Map Series. Its concise layout provides a way to display relevant points through tabs or bullet lists. I went through the subcategories of Travel PA and summarized the base information of each one into its own story map. On completion, I had seven total story maps. However, even though the number of pages that users would need to sift through is greatly reduced, it’s still lacking in convenience.

Screenshot from Travel PA.

Screenshot from Travel PA.

This is where the gallery, ArcGIS Online’s often underused template, lends itself to the organization and stacking of maps and their associated website mapping applications. Whereas the story maps themselves serve as their own unique hub pages, AGOL’s gallery ties them together by compiling individual maps into conveniently shared groups.

The gallery template provides minimalist hub page, leading into an extensive amount of detail that’s not initially view-able. Essentially, it presents applications in a digital quasi-origami.

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