Story Maps – Description and Examples

Now that ESRI provides one subscription of ArcGIS Online per ArcGIS Desktop license for 10.2 and beyond; a wide variety of GIS users are able to make web-based GIS applications without any programming experience. ArcGIS online offers several templates to create a web-based GIS that can be shared with the public.

The Story Maps template has gained a lot of popularity due to its ability to create a place-based narrative with incorporation of images, hyperlinks, descriptions, and even videos. Most web-based GIS templates allow the user a lot of freedom by acting as a portal to perform a variety of functions, including searches and queries, looking at attribute tables, and getting details from pop-ups.

The Story Maps template moves away from the usual user experience by providing a suggested flow to the information provided, and can easily include visual and descriptive elements. Through the Story Maps template, web-based GIS developers have more control of the story that is communicated.

Below are two Story Maps AE2S created for GIS Staff and GIS Projects. Each provide images and hyperlinks to websites with more information.

employee map
(performs much better in Chrome than Explorer)

project story map
(performs much better in Chrome than Explorer)

A lot of development time can be saved by using sample schema when creating your data.  When data is in one of the formats below, your information is seamlessly added to the story map you create.

Once familiar with ArcGIS Online, creating a web-based GIS doesn’t take a lot of time. Since all the images and hyperlinks were already on the web for other projects, developing the both Story Maps only took 3 hours.

More information on Story Maps can be found at

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