Five Things to Consider when Creating a Story Map

Story Maps let you combine interactive maps and scenes with rich multimedia content to weave stories that get noticed. Here are some things you should consider when creating story maps.

Think about your purpose and audience

Your first step is to think about what you want to communicate with your story map and what your purpose or goal is in telling the story. Who is your audience? Are you aiming your story at the public at large, or a more focused audience, like stakeholders, supporters, or specialists who would be willing to explore and learn about something in more depth?

Spark your imagination

Go to the Story Maps Gallery to see some examples handpicked by the Esri Story Maps team to inspire you and highlight creative approaches. You can filter and search the gallery to check out how authors have handled subjects and information that may well be similar to yours. Explore. Get a gut feel for what makes a good story.

Choose a story map applications template
Go to the Story Maps Apps to browse the application templates and choose the best one for your story map project. Each app lets you deliver a specific user experience to your audience. There are apps for map-based tours, collections of points of interest, in-depth narratives, presenting multiple maps, etc.

Follow the instructions for the application template you chose

See the Tutorial tab for the story map application template you chose for instructions on how to proceed. For example, here is the Tutorial for the Story Map Journal application template.

Make your story map go live and promote it

When you’ve finished, you simply share your story map to launch it and make it go live. You can share it publicly or restrict it so it can be accessed only by people in your organization. To promote the story map to your audience, you can add links to it, embed it into your website, write a blog post about it, and share it on social media.
Get started with Story Maps today.


This post is excerpted from The ArcGIS Book: 10 Big Ideas about Applying Geography to Your World. The twin goals of this book are to open your eyes to what is now possible with Web GIS, and then spur you into action by putting the technology and deep data resources in your hands. The book is available through and other booksellers, and is also available at for free.

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