Story Maps for Film

Promotional - Items | City of Cambridge

Our initial objective was to promote our film program and past projects to Cambridge residents as a placemaking and
community building exercise. To celebrate the natural and built landscapes that make our city unique and attractive, while improving local buy-in for industry projects moving forward. Staff were looking for a mobile friendly, more visual platform to promote these local projects online and encourage a sense of participation and pride throughout the community.

Cambridge undertook an inventory of frequently used locations for filming, and interesting descriptions and/or pictures from past projects. In an effort to disseminate this information to the public in a captivating and exciting way, we partnered with our Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Division to pull together a map highlighting the interesting and unique attractions throughout our municipality. The impetus behind the project was to build a sense of community ownership, pride and participation with these projects, while encouraging people to visit our core areas (where the majority of our filming takes place). A longer term goal is to renew interest in business relocation to core areas, and improve vacancy rates by elevating the perception of our cores. Downtown renewal is a challenge most Ontario municipalities struggle with, and by becoming a popular “on location” film destination, we are improving the public profile of these transition areas. The maps have also served to bolster our credibility within the film industry, through promotion of our film assets and proof of our ability to facilitate larger scale projects – which is already leading to increased film inquiries and industry attention.

Effectiveness / Meeting Objectives
Our Story Mapping project was soft launched in August of 2017and has already been viewed over 13,000 times. Since
then, various media outlets (online, print and television) have reached out to us and reported on the state of the film
industry in Cambridge on 10 separate occasions, with all articles/segments having a positive spin and garnering
encouraging comments from current and former residents of our community. From the staff perspective, this positive reception of our story mapping project has exceeded our expectations. Moving forward, we will begin to investigate the benefits of implementing a “Film Tourism” initiative. Our maps are easily updated following the air date for each production.

Challenges & Changes Made
Our biggest challenge in the beginning was advertising the project. However once we implemented a grassroots
promotion campaign through our community partners, we quickly saw the project gain interest throughout the community.

These story maps have served as an amazing tourism piece, attracting visitors to our community to perform self-guided tours of our many popular filming locations.

Target Audience
Our target audience for this project was residents and visitors to our community. We have used recent media stories and interviews to promote the story maps, as well as our website and social media channels. Story maps are accessible across multiple online platforms (desktop, tablet, cellphone – Android and Apple devices), they are mobile friendly and through use of mapping, pictures and minimal text, they are easily understood by the majority of the population. Our largest audience would be mobile technology users, with an interest in local events and/or the film industry. Interest in projects filmed locally spans generations, I often see an eclectic mix gathered to watch on set (Murdoch Mysteries tends to attract the 50+ crowd, whereas 11-22-63 seemed to have a large concentration of 18-24 year olds. The recent success of The Handmaid’s Tale attracts all age/sex demographics to the set).

While this was solely a city initiative, we have connected with our local and regional tourism partners to promote these maps with varied success. Our Chamber of Commerce, Visitor and Tourism Centre and Downtown Cambridge (Galt) BIA have embraced promotion of this project and have included information about filming in Cambridge and links to the story maps on their websites.

Sustainability / Community Message
The majority of maps utilized for self-guided tours of an area are paper based. By utilizing online mapping capabilities and users own mobile devices, we are able to provide an environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative to physical maps, without losing any functionality. In fact, the online applications are far superior to physical maps as they are more versatile and easy to update. This project highlights the beauty and excitement that can be found in our core areas and encourages visitors to explore these previously underutilized areas.

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