We recently rolled-out a change to our maps that improves the way we display multiple news items.
Previously, every news item would get its own marker, indicating the location of the news item. You could click on the marker and a small window would pop-up, giving you the headline, link, date, and a short description of that news item. The problem is that there are often several news items with the exact same or nearly the same location: when you click on a marker to get more information, you can’t differentiate between them if there are more than one on the same spot. In some cases, you could zoom in to tell apart news items that were merely near to each other. But that wouldn’t help in cases where they were at the exact same location.
Our solution was to cluster nearby news items into a single, larger marker. The size of the marker indicates the number of news items it is clustering: the larger the marker, the greater the number of news items. (We also put the exact number on the marker for precision.) The position of the cluster marker on the map is the average of the locations of the news items it contains. And the pop-up window that shows you more information has buttons for paging through the news items.
We will continue to revisit our maps for areas of improvement, especially when it makes the information we’re presenting easier to read and understand. We’d love to hear what you think about them.