It recently emerged that the New York Times has not one, but four cartographers on staff -- and that's an indication of geography's increasing importance to journalists. Digital tools such as OpenHeatMap and Google's Fusion Tables let online journalists create data-rich interactive maps that add value and help boost website traffic. "The data-driven interactives take a lot of time and teamwork to produce, but they have the greatest value and generate good traffic and time-spent on the site," explained Juan Thomassie, a Web developer at USA Today.

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