ArcGIS StoryMaps

Ring in the new year with new map wallpapers for your phone or PC

Ah, December—the month for looking back, then looking ahead. It’s peak nostalgia season, and we’re certainly not immune.

If you spend your days, weeks, months of the year making things, right about now is when you get the urge to sift through all the work you’ve done these past 12 months. We certainly did.

And chances are high that you’ll find something you’d sort of forgotten about, or at least you’d forgotten how delighted you were when you finished it. Again—we certainly did.

As a little holiday gift to you, we’re sharing a few the maps we made this year as downloadable backgrounds for your computer or smartphone. While most of the maps we craft—including these examples—belong to larger narratives created with ArcGIS StoryMaps, it’s essential to us that they work well on their own. Now, you can put them to that test and give your screens a new look just in time for the new year. Multitasking!



Maps for download


A glowing blue map shows the distribution of bridges across the United States; it largely mirrors a population distribution map


Bridges of the United States: Ever wondered what a map of all the bridges in the United States would look like? Well, wonder no more—that’s exactly what this nearly-glowing map depicts.

Download backgrounds | View the original story


A set of brightly colored maps showing deserts, grasslands, coral reefs, and other habitat types


Biomes of the world: Enjoy a visual reminder of the planet’s ecological diversity through this vividly colored, small multiples set of habitat maps.

Download backgrounds | View the original story


A map has a red line starting along Africa's east coast and working it's way across a southern swathe of Asia before heading north, where it eventually crosses over into Alaska, down the Pacific coast to the tip of South America


The Out of Eden Walk: 24,000 miles, 70 million steps; we can’t help but be in awe of Paul Salopek, who’s currently retracing humankind’s original migration out of Africa on foot. His route is shown here, alongside the prehistoric migration path. 

Download backgrounds | View the original story


A bright green map identifies the parts of the ocean that are most critical for conservation


Prioritizing ocean protection: Yes, this map may be eye candy, but it also shows something tremendously important: the parts of the ocean where increasing conservation efforts would yield the most benefits for marine biodiversity. The coastal waters of each country are delineated in yellow, while marine protected areas are highlighted in blue.

Download backgrounds | View the original story



Do you have some re-discovered work from 2021 you’d like to show off next? Hit us up on Twitter. The same goes for if you use any of these backgrounds—we’d love to see them in action!

About the authors

Ross Donihue is on Esri's StoryMaps team. He uses place-based storytelling to engage users through beautiful, informative, and inspiring cartography. When he's not making maps he's likely carving a spoon, making photos, or dreaming of mountains and fermentation.


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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