This interactive, scroll-driven story map explores the ongoing global refugee crisis. The narrative is broken down into several chapters, each exposing through text and visuals a different facet of the issue, from the causes of the refugee crisis, to the paths refugees and migrants use to reach Europe, to their resettlement in Europe. The project is the culmination of several weeks of research, design, and development, and is probably the Story Map team’s most ambitious custom project to date. I worked with Allen Carroll, John Nelson, David Asbury, and Greg l’Azou to bring this piece to life.
We built “The Uprooted” using an application prototype called Cascade, which we’ll release to the public later this year. The story is partially a tech demo, intended to test the capabilities of the app and expose any underlying issues. As a result, it’s still a bit rough around the edges—please let me know if it crashes on you, or if anything looks weird! Also, there’s a ton of content, so give it a few seconds to load completely. This app/layout represents a major step forward for the Story Maps platform, and given the popularity of long-form interactive pieces on the web these days, I think it’ll be hugely successful once it’s released to the public—especially because the stories are created using a simple web-based interface. Below are a few screenshots from the story. Do yourself a favor and view the complete interactive.
A few technical notes, for those still reading:
- The arrows in the 3D global scene are really just georeferenced vector shapes, which I drew in Illustrator, exported as DXF files, georeferenced in ArcGIS 10.4, and finally published as a hosted feature layer.
- David and I used the QTiles plugin to bake a standalone QGIS project into a collection of ArcGIS Online-compatible raster tiles.
- A known bug with our scrolling library sometimes prevents the second set of static maps from loading. If you encounter a big white space somewhere in the story, try refreshing the page. Sorry!
- You might notice that the maps share a similar aesthetic, but are all a bit unique. This is because I designed the custom basemap tiles in QGIS (which supports blending modes and effects), and the static Syrian refugee camp maps in Illustrator. John Nelson created the static flow maps in Fireworks. If you’d like to know how he created these maps, click on the image below to launch an interactive cartographic walkthrough that John assembled. In the future, we’d like to avoid such visual fragmentation, as it detracts from the overall coherence of the story, but here it’s not a major issue.
Update June 2016: the Cascade app is now in beta! Learn more about it here.