Fiction authors, when first starting out, are often advised to "write what you know." The same rule applies to telling stories with maps. If you are new to creating geographic narrative, we suggest looking to the nearby and the familiar for inspiration and information. As a result, our story begins with "Mapping Your Life."
The spatial rendition of your personal narrative can take many forms. Simply locating the important places in your life on a map, or identifying the highways and byways that lead to those places, can serve as a basis for geographic exploration. But telling your own story to others means being able to make your own maps, however simple and straightforward, of the places you live in or have visited. Going further, we can try to place other elements of our lives on a map, such as photographs of our adventures, in the hopes of bringing new life to the old tradition of vacation photo slideshows.
In this chapter, we've tried to focus on hacks that you can start experimenting with right away. For simplicity's sake, many of them are based on existing software or online services, but, as the book progresses, we'll try to show you how to get your hands dirty building these same basic tools and concepts on your own, with more complexity and expressiveness. Let's get started!