Resource: Social Explorer

Group Social Explorer Post due March 28

At the end of class on March 22, Prof. Alonso asked each group to post a Social Explorer map to the eportfolio by noon on Wednesday, March 28. This informal exercise allows Prof. Alonso to look over data sets and offer some suggestions. In doing so, your group recalls and applies material covered during the workshop; as a group, your research, analysis, and evaluation forms the platform to create the map.  Your group map does not have to be “perfect”; the goal is to receive some feedback and develop familiarity with Social Explorer!

Below, you’ll find some brief instructions about Social Explorer, embedding a map within a post, the workshop PowerPoint, and suggestions for troubleshooting.

Getting Started

  1. After accessing Social Explorer from the Brooklyn College library, each member needs to create their own account.
  2. Collaborate with your group members: once someone in the group starts the map, they can invite the rest of the group members using the   icon so that a dropdown menu appears; choose “Add/Remove People” to email a link to the rest of the group members.

Embedding a Social Explorer map 

After your group has played around with the different census settings and decide on a map to post, you can embed the map within a post. The Macaulay eportfolio system has a plugin, “Joe’s Social Explorer Plugin,” that embeds Social Explorer’s sliding maps on a webpage. Shoutout to Dr. Joseph Ugoretz, a.k.a. Chief Academic Officer for Macaulay Honors College, for making this plugin for us! Here’s a screenshot of the plugin description that includes instructions for embedding a Social Explorer map:

UPDATE 3/28/18: This screenshot replaces the text from the plugin description because the brackets were interpreted as shortcodes for maps and caused the page to load with big holes where the maps “should” be.

Next Steps

Along with your map, offer some context for your map – this is what makes data significant as a form of evidence and allows you to draw reasonable conclusions. This requires a bit more of thought about your research as well as stepping back to evaluate your own research progress. This part doesn’t have to be long – just a few sentences might work!

If needed, here are some prompts to you get your group thinking:

  • What steps did your group take to create this map? How did you decide on which categories to compare, what years to use, etc.
  • What does your map’s data suggest?
  • What is the map’s relation to your research question or topic?
  • If your research question is similar to a case study or example used in the course readings or research materials, how did it help you?
  • When testing different census categories, did find any surprising or new avenues to research? In other words, did your research yield more paths to pursue?
  • Try creating a brief narrative for your data by writing a few sentences about your map and contextualize it by relating it to a concept/idea/policy/event/etc.


Here are ITF-approved (and ITF-created!) resources for using Social Explorer!

ITF Demo

Shown in class and linked in the menu:

Workshop PowerPoint

This is the PowerPoint used during the Social Explorer workshop in class on Thursday, March 22.

Video Tutorial

If you need a comprehensive and easy-to-follow tutorial, I highly recommend this video created by former ITF Andrew Lucchesi:


ITF Post: Troubleshooting Embedding a Social Explorer Map

Last modified on 2018-04-19 19:59:46 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

If you’re having trouble viewing your Social Explorer map to the eportfolio site after adding the shortcode to your post (instructions here), below the cut are instructions and a short video of my screen recording following those instructions.

If you’ve added the Social Explorer map to the body of your post, and it’s not appearing after you click “publish,” then most likely there’s a problem with either Adobe Flash and/or the site scripts.  If you’re still having trouble after following these steps, please let me know ASAP along with a screenshot of your issue to help identify the exact cause.

Troubleshooting: Embedding a Social Explorer Map

  1. Make sure you’re using the latest version of your internet browser. If you’re using Chrome > File > About Google Chrome.
  2. After adding the shortcode to your post, view the post from the front end (published and what visitors to the site see).
  3. At the right end of the URL/search bar, find the little shield and click on it.
  4. From the dropdown menu that appears from clicking the shield:  “Load unsafe scripts” > Done
  5. The page should refresh so the map appears.