Infographics have proven to be popular and useful resources because they provide a wealth of information in a relatively compact and simple format that’s easy to scan for pertinent information. Often they’re made to be shared on blogs, social networking sites, and website static pages. Infographic maps are similar, but are more visually oriented, with less in the way of text and figures than the typical infographic.
The overwhelming variety and volume of data on just about every topic has allowed creation of infographic maps that would have been impossible or extremely difficult to create a generation ago. They can make outstanding additions to websites or blogs because of their visual impact and ability to communicate a lot of information at once. Here are some ways you can use infographic maps to get your point across.
Provide an Overview of a Complex Topic
Describing some topics as a narrative can be tedious and difficult to follow. But infographic maps offer another way to impart an overview of a deep or complicated topic. For example, immigration trends in America are remarkably complex and may change multiple times during a single century. The New York Times used infographic maps to make it easy to explore immigration trends in the United States with customizable single- or multi-national immigration maps.
Raise Awareness of an Important Issue
Suppose your website or blog is gathering material for, say, Fire Safety Month. You may want to make people aware of potential safety hazards where they live, such as gas leaks. Last year, USA Today created infographic maps that allow readers to view historic gas leaks in whichever zip code they specify. After zeroing in on an area, the reader can click on dots color-coded to indicate injury or death, and also see statistics on hazardous leaks per 1,000 miles of gas mains.
Provide Information Valuable to Everyday Life
Daily weather maps were perhaps the original infographic maps that helped people plan out everyday life, but today they can go much further than giving temperature and rainfall information. If you’ve ever clicked around one of the major weather sites, you’ve probably noticed maps indicating where the best ski conditions are, where pollen levels are elevated, and what the long term farming forecasts indicate.
Offer Detailed Information on a Topic
Infographic maps don’t have to be maps of geographic areas. They can be “maps” of things like human anatomy. Infographic maps of the human body help students of all levels understand the many systems that make up the body by depicting them individually. This can be a helpful way to present detail on which bones are located where, how blood vessels are routed throughout the body, and which muscle systems are associated with different parts of the body.
Prompt Viewers to Act
Finally, infographic maps can be used to influence action. An infographic showing the spread of the flu virus can be used to encourage people in areas yet to be affected to get vaccinated. Infographic maps of voter trends have long been used to encourage voters to go to the polls. A map of metro train line closures can prompt commuters to make other arrangements. Less serious topics, like where to find products and services during a street festival, for example, also prompt map users to action while informing their planning.
Infographic maps can be invaluable additions to your website or blog because they are great at doing what the web was designed to do: transmit information quickly and efficiently. There are really no limits as to how infographic maps can be used, what scale they can be used at, or what type of information they can depict. Infographic maps can be created around any topic for which there is data mapped to a location, whether that location is on earth, in the human body, or across a galaxy. They’re well worth considering for graphical representations of data as a substitute for or an adjunct to other types of infographics.