The picture above shows an example Meograph documenting the life of Whitney Houston

A new tool that will enable journalists to illustrate multimedia stories over time and locations using Google maps is to launch in around a month's time.

Meograph will also enable journalists to integrate multimedia content, such as YouTube videos or images and link to extra context such as articles or galleries on other website.

The graphic moves through a series of created moments through a timeline and uses Google maps to show the geographical journey, assisted by audio narrations uploaded by the user.

The platform, which is due to be launched publicly in around a month, is the brainchild of Misha Leybovich.

Speaking to he said the idea was prompted by his own desire to visualise his travels.

"I started talking to people and putting together some ideas for this and my friends just starting giving me ideas saying this could be useful for journalism, for education, for genealogy – for all kinds of stuff.

"So I decided to put together this platform and put it out there and see what happens."

He said the ability to add extra context to a given "moment", such as by linking to a news article, a gallery, a full video or a wikipedia article, will offers a choice on their viewing experience.

"That means you can either sit back and watch a Meograph in two minutes, or you can spend an hour delving into every nook and cranny of all the detail involved. It's up to the viewer."

He added that he sees the platform being equally useful in breaking news situations, or to show the journey of a past event or story.

"The neat thing is Meographs are living documents so you can add a new moment to it, the breaking news or whatever has happened next, and provide your readers with not only what's happened right now but also in case they're just getting caught up now, what's happened so far."

Added features are due to be added to the platform in the coming weeks, including the ability to embed the final Meograph and search for other projects by location or time.

Feedback from journalists who have already taken a look at the platform has also been useful.

"A lot of the features you see here are actually results of talking to real journalists," Leybovich added.

"For example the audio narration that you hear in between transitions, that isn't something that I originally thought of.

"But I talked to one journalist, in the business for 20 years, and he said it was missing that emotional connective tissue that really helps bring the story home in more than just a collection of facts."

"The playback controls, being able to go back and forth, and also the more button, that was also feedback from journalists wanting to give the viewer more control of the experience and also be able to dive deeper into more context."

He added: "We're very excited about having journalists as early partners because journalists are fantastic storytellers.

"They have a lot of content they have to share and for news organisations it actually helps to then bring back and share with readers old content that might never been used again, but is always relevant in giving the context for tomorrow's news."

The technology will be free to use, with the platform looking at "some sort of ad-support" and possibly video pre-roll adverts and "some sort of premium plans".

Demos are available to view on the website and journalists can register their interest in creating Meographs via email.

Free daily newsletter

If you like our news and feature articles, you can sign up to receive our free daily (Mon-Fri) email newsletter (mobile friendly).