I designed a bunch of maps back in October for FRONTLINE: The Rise of ISIS. It’s free to watch online at the link. It got great reviews and I think is very much worth seeing, but a word of warning: this film contains some very graphic footage.
Mapping Arabic-speaking parts of the world turned out to be unexpectedly challenging: there are multiple ways to transliterate pretty much every place name, and good luck guessing which one your geolocation service has selected.
But there are perks to focusing on a region with such a long history. It was pretty cool finding ancient hand-drawn maps of Baghdad alongside OSM street data and satellite imagery.
I learned a ton about QGIS working on this, too. I’d never done much with raster map data before, so this was basically Baby’s First Hillshade. In hindsight, as much as I like the final look there were definitely things I should have built differently — I ended up with a super-wonky workflow for adding new city points and one map in particular with insanely long render times.
Let’s hope the upcoming GEOlayers plugin for After Effects smooths out a lot of that process.
FRONTLINE: Climate of Doubt is up for a news/documentary Emmy for Outstanding Continuing Coverage. Sure, 18 episodes of FRONTLINE got nominations in various categories this year (we’re actually up against two others, along with an HBO doc), but I’m still really proud of this one. The whole crew did an awesome job.
Our latest FRONTLINE episode is now free to watch in its entirety online. IMHO it’s one of the strongest films DocGroup has made… I think my favorite review was the guy on Twitter who called it the most efficiently infuriating hour of television he’d ever seen.