ArcGIS StoryMaps

Our favorite stories of 2020

A banner year for ArcGIS StoryMaps

2020 was a trying year, to put it lightly. But despite the challenging circumstances foisted upon us—or perhaps, because of them—the ArcGIS StoryMaps community persevered.

Between January and December, you published over 450,000 stories. (This figure doesn’t include all the stories you published privately, or created in ArcGIS Portal, which number in the tens of thousands.) In sheer numeric terms, 2020 was a banner year for StoryMaps. While these numbers bring the StoryMaps team a measure of satisfaction, we also want to acknowledge the ever-increasing quality of your work. Each year, your stories just seem to get better and better.

Many of the stories you created this year engaged with topics of immediate relevance. You investigated the outsized effects of covid-19 on vulnerable communities; You highlighted the critical role that minorities play in our democratic process; You decried the water pollution afflicting our waterways. There are few aspects of our work that are more fulfilling than seeing StoryMaps employed in the service of such critical causes.

But you also published stories that offered refuge from a world in tumult. You created gorgeous travelogues recounting past vacations; You celebrated your favorite sports teams’ victories, and wallowed in their defeats; You shared intimate reflections on life in quarantine. These stories delivered joy, optimism, and nostalgia at a time when we needed it most.


Stories we love

As in years past, the StoryMaps team has spent the better part of a week poring over the thousands of stories you created this year. We’ve assembled two collections of our favorites, which we invite you to browse at your leisure. We hope you find these stories as engaging as we did.

The first collection features 10 stories created by you, the StoryMaps community, that really resonated with us. We feel these stories demonstrate not only the myriad kinds of place-based stories you can tell, but the nearly endless ways in which you can tell them as well.


A clickable graphic that links to a collection of outstanding community-made stories.
Click here, or on the above, to open the collection of community stories in a new tab.


The second collection contains 10 stories that the StoryMaps team, or our colleagues at Esri, created this year. We’re always excited to see other teams adopt StoryMaps as a means of communicating their own work and achievements.


A clickable graphic that links to a collection of outstanding stories published by Esri employees.
Click here, or on the above, to open the collection of Esri stories in a new tab.


The stories in these collections represent just a subset of our favorites, and limiting each collection to 10 entries was an agonizing exercise. If you’re looking for even more standout stories—whether for inspiration or edification—be sure to check out the Weekly Waypoints collection, where you’ll find dozens of additional stories (plus plenty of helpful articles and resources, to boot). You can also sign up for our monthly newsletter to get the latest product updates delivered straight to your inbox.

On behalf of the entire StoryMaps team, thank you for your continued support and feedback this year. While many of us will be glad to leave 2020 in the dust, we want to acknowledge your fantastic contributions to the product, and your participation in the storytelling community, over the last 12 months. We can’t wait to see what you create in 2021.

About the author

Cooper is a cartographer on Esri’s StoryMaps team. His maps have found their way onto the @Esrigram Instagram feed, the front page of Reddit, and his parents’ fridge. In his spare time, Cooper enjoys playing Mozart to his houseplants so that they someday grow tall and strong.

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