Briefly Noted

Everyone Has a Story to Tell

StoryMaps is a new personal storytelling tool that can help anyone share and explore important ideas and experiences as compelling interactive content that features maps, video, images, and audio clips. Whether it is sharing an epic road trip or a passion for gardening, StoryMaps is designed for individuals. With the StoryMaps mobile apps for iOS and Android, storytelling can happen anywhere. It lets travel bloggers, hobbyists, foodies, craftspersons, family genealogists, influencers, small business owners, and others engage, inspire, and connect with their world.

StoryMaps is available only from and is built separately from the ArcGIS system. It differs from ArcGIS StoryMaps, Esri’s enormously popular professional storytelling tool that allows organizations to give context to complex ArcGIS work and is part of the ArcGIS system.
The tools provided by StoryMaps simplify and enhance story creation. Use prebuilt layouts and easily incorporate videos, images, and audio clips for an immersive experience. Since every story has a place, use Esri mapping technology to provide content using maps, illustrate trends, or provide an interactive tour. Set the mood for a story with ready-to-use themes or create custom themes by choosing background colors, fonts, and button styles. Use rich text editing capabilities and simple drawing and annotation tools. Once a story is finished, sharing it on social media, embedding it in a website, or providing access to it via a URL is simple and easy because Esri hosts StoryMaps stories.

StoryMaps is available at two levels: a no-cost Basic level and the monthly subscription Premium level with enhanced storytelling capabilities. Try StoryMaps ( for free with a 30-day trial and get access to Premium plan features.


StoryMaps is a new personal storytelling tool that can help anyone share and explore important ideas and experiences as compelling interactive content.

Deprecation of the U.S. Survey Foot

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Geodetic Survey (NGS), National Ocean Service (NOS), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have acted collaboratively to deprecate use of the US survey foot. Effective January 1, 2023, the US survey foot should not be used and will be superseded by the international foot, which is defined as 1 foot equal to 0.3048 meter exactly in all applications. The international foot, currently used throughout the US for most applications, is typically referred to as simply the foot. Either foot or international foot may be used for clarity in technical applications.

Vexcel Image Services for ArcGIS

ArcGIS users, without any proprietary plug-ins, can access informative layers or derive location insights with confidence using imagery captured with award-winning and market-leading camera sensor technology from the UltraCam suite, designed and manufactured by Vexcel Imaging. Vexcel operates the world’s largest aerial imagery program, and this new service provides fast and easy access to its massive imagery library in the Esri ArcGIS system. By directly providing high-quality imagery in ArcGIS, end users can make more accurate and informed decisions with greater authority. With optimized access to Vexcel’s vast library of imagery directly in ArcGIS, end users can benefit from access to the world’s largest aerial imagery program, which collects imagery from more than 20 countries.

Changes to Basemaps

Esri will retire select older basemaps and offer new basemap replacements in 2022. Once the basemaps are retired, they will no longer be available for use in maps and apps. Users can anticipate a round of basemap updates in summer 2022. Version 1 of vector basemaps and the original Ocean basemap are scheduled for retirement in December 2022. Please visit the default map galleries section of ArcGIS products for a listing of actively maintained basemaps. Visit “Notification that old Esri Vector Basemaps will be retired in 2022” for more information.