3/11 Video Map:
http://jp.1rick.com Update: It's now at QuakeMap.org
Some of you may recall the Newfoundland Hurricane video map I made back last September. I was a little fed up at the time with what I thought was primarily story-based disaster reporting from local news orgs, when there was an enormous amount of user-generated YouTube clips of the storm that were not being taken advantage of. I took a modest stab at mapping them using Google Fusion tables (frequently used by the more progressive/digital newsrooms), because viewing them by location seemed most logical.
Since then, of course, we’ve been visited by a much bigger disaster here in Japan. And this past weekend I finally had a go making a similar video map for Japan. However, because the Japan disaster was two-fold (i.e. a quake and a tsunami) the project would need some kind of sorting mechanism. Thinking back to what the very clever @alexbowman did with our Dalian map back in China, I knew that Drupal plus the GMap and Location modules would do the trick (see Sean Effel's great tutorial). And this would be a good excuse to give the new Drupal 7 a test drive too.
I created two categories of videos: 1) during the earthquake, and 2) during the tsunami. But of course, there’s also a ton of footage online showing the aftermath of both disasters, so I added a third: 3) after the quake/tsunami. The idea was to plot them all on a single map, but provide the option to sort according to these categories.
It was also necessary to create some visual representation of the quake epicenter. So after some research I found a GMap Macros Builder that would generate a polygon/circle to mark it. You can see the result on the map.
So far I’ve added about 120 videos, and I’ll add more later on. Little by little. I’m trying to choose ones that are ‘remarkable’ for some reason or another, and I’m also trying to choose diverse locations. The most difficult part about all this is having to watch them all. But at the same time I’m learning things about the nature and scale of the disaster that I never really knew before. Ultimately, I figure this sort of cataloguing will be a useful archive for someone.
Some ways that I hope to improve the map in the future:
- Different map markers for each category (the current obstacle is a bug with the GMap and Views modules)
- Sort by prefecture or city
- Sort out user submission under the Drupal system (rather than using the current Google Docs form)
- Allow all information to be exported for re-use
If anyone has any advice on that first point, let me know. I’ve hit a wall, but the bug was raised in the GMap issue queue back in February and still hasn’t been solved.
Anyway, this whole map thingy comes six months (almost to the day) after the disaster. So yeah, and I probably should have given this a go long ago. Though in the weeks following the quake I instead tried to focus on sharing more practical/important information on Twitter, my homepage, The Tokyo Post, Storify, and then on The Japan Times website. Whether any of it is/was actually useful to anyone else, I'm not sure. Just scratching itches here, and trying to learn some stuff.
So there it is. If you’d like to lend a hand with this 3/11 video map, feel free to submit videos if you know of any I missed. If you have a question, comment, or suggested improvement, that would be great as well.