ArcGIS StoryMaps

What's new in ArcGIS StoryMaps (July 2024)

ArcGIS StoryMaps is the professional tool for harnessing the power of maps to communicate your work using place-based storytelling. The easy-to-use builder enables you to combine maps, 3D scenes, embedded content, multimedia, and more to create an interactive narrative that can inspire interest — and action — from your readers.

If you’re like us, you have a list of things you wish were just a bit different in the ArcGIS StoryMaps builder, and we are listening. Each month, our team uses this feedback to help inform our pursuit of continuously improving the builder. So, here’s to crossing things off a list — check out what’s new this month!


ArcGIS Online recycle bin

To delete or to recycle — the choice is now yours. When deleting ArcGIS StoryMaps outputs (stories, briefings, collections, and themes) from your content pages, the new default will be to relocate those deleted items to the ArcGIS Online recycle bin, where they can be recovered within 14 days. Know for sure that you’ll never need the item again? When you click to delete any item, you have the option to override that recycle bin default and permanently delete the item.

You can access your recycle bin items directly from ArcGIS StoryMaps by going to the list of Quick links found on your ArcGIS StoryMaps content pages — find the ArcGIS recycle link at the bottom of the list. This link will bring you to your ArcGIS Online content page, where you can opt to restore items or permanently delete them.


Customize pre-set builder themes 

We’ve heard this request from many of you — and we’re just as excited about it! The ArcGIS StoryMaps builder offers six options for pre-set themes designed by our team, covering a variety of topics and moods. These themes are great for those new to ArcGIS StoryMaps, who don’t have the time to design a theme from scratch, or who want to align with their organization’s branding. But often, a tweak here or there to one of these pre-set themes is needed to fully align with your story design.   

You can now start with any one of these six options in the theme builder to make those necessary changes! After clicking to add a new theme, select your desired starting theme from the left panel to reveal the theme editing controls from which you can make your customizations. Looking for that “start from scratch” theme you’re accustomed to? Summit is the former default that was used as the base for new custom themes, so select this option for a neutral starting place.

Check out this collection of stories with great themes for inspiration to design your own! 


Align Minimal cover text

In February 2024, we expanded the design options for the Full and Side-by-side cover layouts and it’s time for Minimal to have its moment! You now have the choice of three horizontal text alignment options to complement your story design. 

An animated screen recording depicting how to align the title text in the minimal cover layout of ArcGIS StoryMaps


Embed ArcGIS apps in sidecar

Have an ArcGIS Survey123 form or Dashboard to supplement your media? You can now embed these interactive apps live alongside your media in the narrative panel of sidecar slides to gather information from your readers or share further context or data about your subject.    

With great power comes great responsibility: Available for all three sidecar layouts, you will want to consider your audience and pay attention to the resulting user experience, especially when embedding dashboards. You will likely need to expand your narrative panel width to accommodate most dashboards, and even then, more complex dashboards will be challenging to interact with. It’s essential to assess your reader’s experience to decide whether it’s best displayed live or as a card (which you can still opt to do using the embed block options).


Undo/Redo in briefings

It’s been 580 days since our lives changed when Undo/Redo was added to the ArcGIS StoryMaps builder. And now we can all calmly say “oops in the briefings builder, too! Whether you deleted something by mistake or need to change your mind yet again, you can find Undo and Redo buttons at the top of the builder. 

Screenshot of the briefings builder highlighting the undo and redo buttons.

Undo and redo are currently in beta. Please let us know on the Esri Community if you find any issues or have feedback.  


Time-enabled 3D scenes

3D scenes are cool. Time animation is cool. So, it only made sense to join forces. Many stories have been enhanced by visualizing data across temporal scales in web maps using time extent bookmarks in ArcGIS Map Viewer — and now this capability is expanded to 3D scenes via time extent slides in ArcGIS Scene Viewer. 

Adding a time-animated scene to your story? After adding the scene, toggle on Time animation in the Adjust map appearance panel to reveal the time animation widget at the bottom of your scene.  


And more…

A few other updates to the ArcGIS StoryMaps builder and related tools include: 

Check out the release notes for more detail about other small changes and fixes released this month.


Meet us at Esri User Conference 2024 

Attending Esri User Conference 2024? Join our ArcGIS StoryMaps sessions or meet the team at our Esri UC Expo booth!  

ArcGIS StoryMaps: An Overview
Tuesday, Jul 16 | 2:30 – 3:30 PM PDT
Thursday, Jul 18 | 8:30 – 9:30 AM PDT 

ArcGIS StoryMaps: What’s New and the Road Ahead
Wednesday, Jul 17 | 8:30 – 9:30 AM PDT
Thursday, Jul 18 | 1:00 – 2:00 PM PDT 

ArcGIS StoryMaps: Dynamic Briefings Anywhere, Anytime, Even Offline
Wednesday, Jul 17 | 4:00 – 4:45 PM PDT 


Storytelling with Maps Fireside Chats at Esri UC 2024 

Join some of your favorite experts at the Storytelling with Maps Fireside Chats for open discussions on innovative ways to use place-based storytelling for sharing work and inspiring action. From science communication to 3D visualizations to local perspectives, Fireside Chats is your opportunity to hear from — and speak to — experienced storytellers, researchers, and cartographers. Don’t miss this chance to learn more about how you can transform your communication needs by telling stories with maps. 

Location: Sails Pavilion

Discovering the story in science communication
Dawn Wright, Esri and John Nelson, Esri
Tuesday, Jul 16 | 11:30 – 12:30 PM PDT 

Adding depth to your stories with 3D
Katie Grillo, City of Cambridge and Craig McCabe, Esri
Wednesday, Jul 17 | 11:30 – 12:30 PM PDT 

Connecting local stories with global communities
Natalie Cox, IUCN and Brian Hettler, Amazon Conservation Team
Thursday, Jul 18 | 11:30 – 12:30 PM PDT 



Thank you to Ashley Du for her contributions to this post.
All Adobe Stock images are © 2024 Adobe Stock. All rights reserved.

About the author

Andria Olson is a senior content specialist on Esri's StoryMaps team and a former map librarian at Stanford University. She began using Esri's storytelling tools to learn more about GIS, map collections, and connect with her community as a librarian. Andria found that this community was eager to practice creative freedom while communicating the work that they were doing; she responded by providing workshops and tutorials for students, staff, and faculty. Finding much joy in enabling others to tell their stories, Andria joined Esri's StoryMaps team in 2022.

Notify of
1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Next Article

Explore BlueBikes ride data with ArcGIS Pro Charts

Read this article