Maps were originally static, made to show something as it appeared. The height of a mountain or the coastline of an island wouldn’t change fast enough to warrant a dynamic map, and early mapping technology wouldn’t allow for it.
Tools to make and view moving maps are now available, however, and the subject matter covered in maps and infographics is well tailored to a fluid and changing form.
These sorts of moving infographics can take a couple of different forms. The first is a video made up of an animated tour through an infographic or map. Such animations can be used to show the changes in web traffic across the country over the course of the day. Alternatively, animations could show the full scope of a map’s scale, when there are too many levels to view at once like in this map of the universe.
This form of video infographic is great for when you’re trying to tell a specific story. The user can be guided through the steps of a flow chart, or shown two different areas of a map to compare. Either way, the creator of the video is in charge of the path the viewer takes, and of the story that they see.
The other way that maps and infographics can be dynamic is through user interactivity. A video is not interactive, the user watches but doesn’t control. Interactivity puts the control of any map element in the hands of the user, allowing them to choose their own path within the parameters of the map. In this map on good.is on the challenges to a successful education, for instance, the user can view the data at as many of the different points that they want to, in any order.
There are advantages to each style of dynamic maps. Interactivity gives the user more freedom, while a set animation ensures the map’s creator that a user will see the specific narrative they have chosen and nothing else. In videos and animations the user is given a path to follow at a certain pace, in an open ended interactive the user is given the tools to create their own story.
Infographics are growing, evolving, and changing. Motion is becoming a big part of that, and between set animations and interactive maps there are plenty of great examples that have already been produced.