Tuesday, December 23, 2008

NY Times Goes Beta with "Represent"

Thanks to my colleague at Directions/All Points Blog (where you can find some of the technical details about the map), Adena Schutzberg, and a tip she received from Amy Grahran, there is news out about a new mapping feature offered by the New York Times called "Represent." By typing in your address you can get information about your congressional or state elected officials, a map denoting the boundaries of their districts, and some news clippings about the most recent activities of these politicians.

First, let me say that this is exactly the type of geographical information that should be provided by your local news source. It's short, concise, well-layed out and informative. Spot on!

As this is in beta, there are obviously more features or changes to come. Let me offer a few suggestions:
  • Aggregate more hyperlocal news such as from Topix or YourStreet. Sure, the NY Time is not the ultimate source but this type of aggregation is becoming more commonplace and it is a topic my editors are discussing as well.
  • Should it be interactive? Right now, the Google Maps are static. For political and news purposes, using the map as a reference for news stories would be key, much like MetaCarta does now for Reuters.
  • Filter the news by topic such as whether the news is city, state, or federally related. Since they've got those maps already generated just segment the news accordingly.
  • Since this is a resource for residents, give them a way to "sound off" by allowing them a comments page about certain political issues.
  • And if they have a gripe about a pothole, let them contact the city department directly by placing a "pin" on the map with a note about what the problem is at that location.


David said...

I wanted to let you know about MetaCarta's latest for the New York Post.

NY Post has a MetaCarta NewsMap application running beta on their site right now.

Joe Francica said...

David...thanks for the information.