There are many different web tools for making free interactive maps, but of the ones I’ve explored, amMap provides the most visually appealing templates.
AmMap is a package of Flash maps that you can easily customize. Change colors, add text or photos, adjust zoom — the options are endless. I’ll warn you though, you need to be familiar with or at least willing to get familiar with some HTML coding to use amMaps properly. (Or at least find someone in your company or organization who is.)
The tool gives you a range of different maps to work with, including individual country maps and comprehensive world maps depicting either countries or continents.
With little HTML experience of my own (and a whole lot of Google searches), I was able to put together this map using data from the Institute of International Education. The map shows the top 10 countries of origin for international students studying in the U.S. during the 2008-2009 school year.
You can download amMap for free from the website. Once downloaded, extract the ZIP files to a new folder and get to work!
AmMap is a product of amCharts, a company based in Lithuania. You can also use amCharts to create clean, well-put together graphs and data charts, including pie charts, bar graphs and scatter plots. Click here for details.
The emergence of digital SLR cameras capable of shooting HD video has prompted an informal debate about whether the cameras are suitable for video journalism.
Naysayers like Cliff Etzel of solovj.com say the shallow depth of field and cinema look produced by DSLRs distract from the story. Etzel says the need for additional equipment to improve a DSLR’s functionality as a video camera is another major drawback.
But take a look at a news piece shot with a DSLR, and you’ll see that when done right, you really can get a superb product.
Here’s an example shot by photo and video journalist Dan Chung in China for British newspaper the Guardian. (It takes a little time to load, but it’s well worth your patience!)
Chung’s website, DSLR News Shooter, is a great resource if you’re interested in seeing more.
For the video above, Chung used the Canon EOS 550D, a.k.a. the Rebel T2i, which is miraculously, not extremely expensive. I recently purchased my own and have been very happy with its performance so far. The camera comes complete with an external mic jack, so you can get higher quality sound. The kit I bought rounded out to about $1100 and included an extra lens. Check B&H for deals.