Published: 21 April 2023| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/nh2c5t3vf9.1
Manuel Gonzalez Canche


Database created for replication of GeoStoryTelling. Our life stories evolve in specific and contextualized places. Although our homes may be our primarily shaping environment, our homes are themselves situated in neighborhoods that expose us to the immediate “real world” outside home. Indeed, the places where we are currently experiencing, and have experienced life, play a fundamental role in gaining a deeper and more nuanced understanding of our beliefs, fears, perceptions of the world, and even our prospects of social mobility. Despite the immediate impact of the places where we experience life in reaching a better understanding of our life stories, to date most qualitative and mixed methods researchers forego the analytic and elucidating power that geo-contextualizing our narratives bring to social and health research. From this view then, most research findings and conclusions may have been ignoring the spatial contexts that most likely have shaped the experiences of research participants. The main reason for the underuse of these geo-contextualized stories is the requirement of specialized training in geographical information systems and/or computer and statistical programming along with the absence of cost-free and user-friendly geo-visualization tools that may allow non-GIS experts to benefit from geo-contextualized outputs. To address this gap, we present GeoStoryTelling, an analytic framework and user-friendly, cost-free, multi-platform software that enables researchers to visualize their geo-contextualized data narratives. The use of this software (available in Mac and Windows operative systems) does not require users to learn GIS nor computer programming to obtain state-of-the-art, and visually appealing maps. In addition to providing a toy database to fully replicate the outputs presented, we detail the process that researchers need to follow to build their own databases without the need of specialized external software nor hardware. We show how the resulting HTML outputs are capable of integrating a variety of multi-media inputs (i.e., text, image, videos, sound recordings/music, and hyperlinks to other websites) to provide further context to the geo-located stories we are sharing (example Accordingly, the goals of this paper are to describe the components of the methodology, the steps to construct the database, and to provide unrestricted access to the software tool, along with a toy dataset so that researchers may interact first-hand with GeoStoryTelling and fully replicate the outputs discussed herein. Since GeoStoryTelling relied on OpenStreetMap its applications may be used worldwide, thus strengthening its potential reach to the mixed methods and qualitative scientific communities, regardless of location around the world. Keywords: Geographical Information Systems; Interactive Visualizations; Data StoryTelling; Mixed Methods & Qualitative Research Methodologies; Spatial Data Science; Geo-Computation.


Steps to reproduce

Execution Instructions: 1. Load your data or the example provided with the software 1a. If using our data example select the option “Click to load GeoStory data example shown below” under section B in the UI. 1b. If instead you want to use your own data, you can drag your “*.csv file” to the UI or search for your database directly by clicking on “Click to browse from your CSV. . . ” 1c. Once that data are loaded, the results will be automatically displayed in the UI. 2. To execute GeoStoryTelling you just need to select the columns that correspond to the options in section C. The only required columns to obtain the interactive maps are the latitude and longitude coordinates. The remaining columns under section C are highly recommended but optional. 3. To select these options in section C, simply click on each of the options we are displaying in the left-hand-side of the UI 3a. For example, in the toy dataset we are referring to latitude as “lat,” accordingly, under the option “Latitude” simply click the menu and select the column “lat.” A similar rationale applies for the rest of the columns in our database. Finally, note that GeoStoryTelling allows users to provide their own titles for the resulting HTML visualization. The default text for the title (added as a place-holder) reads “Type a short title or delete this text.” This implies that if users do not want to add any title to their resulting maps, they should delete this text in the UI—if they do not delete this text, the map will display “GST Title: Type a short title or delete this text.” GST title is included in the back-end of GeoStoryTelling. When users want to modify the title to be displayed in the HTML map, they can type the title they best believe captures the goal or purpose of their GeoStories. 4. Once all desired options have been populated, we can proceed to generate the HTML interactive maps by clicking on the tab called “II. Execute GST.” If the latitude and longitude coordinates were selected, GeoStoryTelling will automatically launch the map in a browser. Additionally, GeoStoryTelling was programmed to automatically save the resulting HTML file locally to be distributed or to be hosted on the internet at researchers’ discretion. Note that in addition to a file called “index.html,” researchers will need to also distribute the folder called “lib.” Finally, every time GeoStoryTelling is executed this file and folder will automatically be rewritten.


University of Pennsylvania


Data Science, Digital Storytelling, Spatial Modeling, Geographical Information Science, Interactive Data Visualization


National Academy of Education

Spencer Foundation