Mapping Monday: Time Travel is Real!

by Livia Mazur, National Geographic GIS Mapping Specialist

The headline of this post isn’t an exaggeration. Check out this dynamic map from MapStory, a platform that allows “people of all kinds [to] turn into Storytellers.”

This map is a geographic picture, but weaves in temporal (time-related) details so we see the story of westward expansion come alive. That’s the part that made time travel happen! MapStory users create tools like this with geographic data.

In the MapStory above, we see the expansion of the U.S. postal system, starting on the East Coast in 1639 and spreading westward over time. Interestingly, each point that appears (representing a new post office) mirrors the information in this map, available for free on our website:

Map by The Choices Program, Brown University,

Map by The Choices Program, Brown University,

Showing the U.S. Post Offices MapStory—an example of a modern, fresh way to make maps—is a fun way to engage students when exploring almost any topic! To check out other MapStories, or even become a Storyteller and create a MapStory yourself, visit the MapStory site.

And remember, we’ve got a wide variety of mapping tools on our website, too!




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