As a proud Esri partner, we at New Century utilize their tools to produce software that is user-friendly and easily accessible. We also love to use their tools to share information! One of our favorite Esri tools is Story Maps.
Story Maps are a great way to visualize information and share data in a fun, attractive manner. We have made several story maps for our blog in the past, such as pipeline compliance around the world, New Year traditions, and top Thanksgiving producers.I must admit…I was a little confused the first time I tried to build a story map. There are a lot of options and it can be a little overwhelming. So, we wanted to share some of our Esri partner expertise with you and help you build a story map with ease.
There are many types of story maps that can be created. Examples include: sequential stories, series of maps, comparing maps. Our stories have primarily been the sequential Tour type, so I will focus on that type of story map for now.
Story Map Tours are ideal for place-based narratives. Summer officially starts June 20th and I’m already feeling beach fever, so let’s use Travel Channel’s Top 10 US Beaches list to demonstrate how to build a Story Map Tour.
First, you will want to identify your media. You can add photos or videos to your story map. You can either upload your media directly to the Story Map Builder (if you are using an ArcGIS subscription account) or you can use URLs from photo storage sites like Flickr, social media sites like Facebook, etc. If your online photos have geotags, the builder will recognize those and automatically pinpoint them
on your map. For a tutorial utilizing these features, look here. Our stories have primarily aggregated images and information from throughout the web, so we will demonstrate that method. Simply click the gears to move on to creating your story map. You will have the opportunity to add images or videos from a URL later.
From the blank Story Map Builder, click the Add button near the bottom of the page to begin adding points, images, and information to your map.
Add your media. You will want to add a full-size image and a thumbnail for the bottom navigation. In this case, I used the same photo for both; the builder will
automatically resize the photo for you. For a picture stored online, simply copy and paste the image’s URL.
Add a description. Here is your chance to really build your story. Add interesting facts or narrative and engage with the reader. Here, we used the enticing descriptions from the Travel Channel article to bring out the
Add a location. You can search for a location with LatLong values, through the smart search box, or by using your current location. Here, we used the smart search box, which auto-populates options as you type, and places a preview point for the chosen location when you
hit the magnifying glass. From here, you can zoom in or out for context; simply
click the Home button to return to the original world view extent. You can also
change the color of your points before placing them; but don’t worry, you’ll still have the option to move your points or change the color as you wish, later.
You have successfully placed your first point on your story map! Save your changes and continue the steps above until you have completed your story. Once all of your points are added, you can edit any of the information for any of the points, move or change your points on the map, change the basemap, etc. For example, I really like the National Geographic basemap, so I switched to that from the standard topographic map. I also chose to mix up the colors on some of the points to make some of the clustered ones easier to see. Have fun with it!
Before calling it a day, be sure to check out the extra options available through the Settings button at the top of the screen. You can change the layout of our story map, change the theme colors, incorporate your own logo, and more.
Finally, of course, share your creation! You can choose to share with just your organization members (login required), or share publicly to a blog, website, social media, and much more!
We hope you gained some confidence in utilizing Esri Story Map Tours to visualize and share information! We’d love for you to share your Story Map Tours with us!