At this year’s computer-assisted reporting conference, the speaker line up looks fantastic.

This morning Eric and I are flying to St. Louis to catch the first session of the annual NICAR conference on computer-assisted reporting. We’re looking forward to hearing firsthand war stories about digging up data, processing it, fighting ugly formats, peeling out stories, and polishing up visualizations. Our data analysts and cartographers do much of this work too, so it will be fun to talk shop while learning from journalists’ experiences.

Our map design tool TileMill has seen many advances this past year, including increasing adoption in the news space. Since its use in its early iterations by Brian Boyer and his team at the Chicago Tribune, it’s been used by agencies like NPR in its Census Map and more recently by Slate.com as the tool to make its Map of the Week. TileMill is not only a powerful map design studio, it’s fun to use and easy to get started.

We’re also excited to show off the latest tools being built by the MapBox team. Our upcoming worldwide street level maps and street level map templates make MapBox a compelling alternative to Google and other world map providers. The fact that these maps are based on OpenStreetMap data adds the advantage of using an open, community maintained geo data repository with the ability to add detail where needed directly.

We’ll be giving 10 minute demos of TileMill and MapBox throughout the NICAR conference. If you’d like one or want to talk about MapBox or just maps in general, come find us or ping us on Twitter at @lxbarth and @ericg. To give people an opportunity to try out the service, we’re giving away one free month of MapBox Premium to all NICAR attendees. If you’d like the coupon code, visit the reprints table or come find Eric of myself.