Story mapping for publicly-engaged geography.

Type: Panel
Theme: Public Engagement in Geography
Sponsor Groups: Digital Geographies Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM (Eastern Standard Time)
Room: Napoleon A1, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Organizers: Lauren Drakopulos, Julian Barr
Chairs: Lauren Drakopulos


Maps are cultural artifacts that, through visual representation, tell stories that “both reflect and create reality” (Gibson as cited in Caquard 2011, 140) and in so doing reproduce (or contest) dominant power structures (Wood 2010). With the emergence of cartography as a science, maps increasingly became either naturalized as depictions of reality, or viewed as instruments of science, obscuring their role as storytelling devices (Wood 2010). Critical mapping practices such as story mapping imbue maps once again with their storytelling capacity with attention to how maps serve to construct places for the map’s public. Further, such explorations in the spatial humanities have allowed for a more dynamic and interactive engagement with place as a conceptual object by inscribing places with emotive experiential narratives (Bodenhamer, Corrigan and Harris 2010; Caquard 2011). Through stories, communities develop collective narratives of shared experience and identity, situated in place. The act of place-making through storytelling, produces counter-narratives which challenge hegemonic discourses about places that dictate access and control, making visible the histories of marginalization and/or colonization as well as the ongoing experiences of those who have been invisibilized. Additionally, mapping and story mapping in particular allow geographers and the public to interact and engage with histories and pop/literary culture (Caquard and Cartwright 2014). This shows the variety of topics story mapping can engage with and its wide potential as a tool.  

As geographers developing a publically-engaged praxis, story mapping is an excellent tool for facilitating community processes of narrative place-making and sharing stories with wider audiences. In this session panelists will share and discuss their experiences using story mapping as a form of community engagement in a variety of mediums and settings. Examples may include:

Mayan communities’ story map to make visible the loss of culture and histories:
Pop culture inspired story-map showing the connections of a fictional world:
Published in the Minnesota Post, this story map connects the history of hip-hop and public transit:
Interactive story map about the Whisky Rebellion:

Key Words: Community Engagement, Public Scholarship, GeoHumanities, Applied Geography, Carto-visual narrative, Critical Cartography

Bodenhamer, D., Corrigon, J. & T. Harris. The Spatial Humanities, GIS and the Future of Humanities Scholarship. Indiana University Press: Bloomington, IN.

Caquard, S. (2013). “Cartography I.” Progress in Human Geography 37 (1): 135–44.

Caquard, S. & C. William (2014). “Narrative Cartography: From Mapping Stories to the Narrative of Maps and Mapping.” The Cartographic Journal, Vol. 51 (2).

Wood, D. (2010). Rethinking the Power of Maps. New York: Guilford Press.


Type Details Minutes
Panelist Jin-Kyu Jung University of Washington-Bothell 11
Panelist Anthonia Onyeahialam Aberystwyth University 11
Panelist Jennifer Rogalsky SUNY - Geneseo 11
Panelist Sara Jacobs University of Washington 11
Panelist Stephanie Deitrick City of Tempe/Arizona State University 11
Discussant Julian Barr University of Washington 12
Discussant Lauren Drakopulos University of Washington 12
Panelist Shefali Lakhina 11

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