ArcGIS StoryMaps

Introducing StoryScape — a new way to enjoy ArcGIS StoryMaps

It’s my pleasure to announce the launch of StoryScape℠ — a monthly digital magazine celebrating place-based stories and storytellers.

Since I founded Esri’s StoryMaps team a dozen years ago, I’ve seen place-based storytelling grow from early experiments, to classic Esri Story Maps templates, to an ArcGIS StoryMaps product that combines the functionality of those templates with loads of additional great features — thanks to the work of talented teams of designers, developers, storytellers, and communicators here at Esri.

And over that time, you and the storytelling community — scientists, scholars, students, GIS professionals, and organizations large and small — have created over 2.5 million stories and counting. You’re authoring impactful pieces about a wide range of geographies and topics, from sustainability and climate change to social justice and humanitarian affairs. Every time I peruse the web for new ArcGIS StoryMaps narratives, I’m thrilled and gratified to encounter inspiring, informative stories published by multiple organizations — including the Smithsonian Institution, National Geographic Society, The Nature Conservancy, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to name just a handful.

Those happy discoveries led us to think that we could present a selection of the very best stories, organized by theme, in monthly installments. It was in that context that we created StoryScape.

I’d like to run through a few StoryScape basics to get started. I hope you’ll be as excited as I am about the impact that StoryScape might have, and the pleasure it will be to read each month’s issue.

Where to find StoryScape

StoryScape is built right into the ArcGIS StoryMaps website. You’ll find a “Magazine” item in the site’s main navigation that takes you to the StoryScape home page. StoryScape is free to anyone and everyone — no log-in required.

About the monthly StoryScape issues

Our landing page will feature the current theme, with a prominent button linking to the latest issue, which we’ll publish on or near the beginning of the month. The page also features a searchable gallery of previous issues.

With each issue we’ll present a featured story that epitomizes the current theme. We’ll offer bonus material related to the featured story, including maps, image galleries, blog posts, and more. We’ll profile a storyteller, giving you a vivid sense of how individuals go about creating compelling narratives. We’ll present a handful of additional stories having to do with the month’s theme.

We’re actually launching with not just one, but four issues, in hopes that you’ll be intrigued by the variety of topics, including the human impact on wildlife, space science, and America’s racial history. Our premiere issue spotlights stories about community-based conservation, with Botswana’s Okavango Delta as the topic of the featured story.

The why of StoryScape and place-based storytelling

We believe in the power of stories, and the power of maps, to inform, convince, and inspire.

We believe in the power of stories, and the power of maps, to inform, convince, and inspire. We believe that maps — and a geographic approach to storytelling — provide insights that add depth, context, and veracity to stories. We’re thrilled that ArcGIS StoryMaps has become a means by which thousands of people are expressing their passions and making their cases for a more just and sustainable world.

We hope these stories will motivate people to try creating their own stories or, if they’re already using ArcGIS StoryMaps, to experiment with new techniques and narrative devices.

It’s our hope that you’ll gain inspiration from the stories we feature, and that you’ll use our tools to help point the way to a brighter future.

Explore StoryScape now!

About the author

Allen founded the story maps team at Esri. Prior to joining Esri in 2010, he worked at National Geographic for 27 years in a variety of positions, including art director of National Geographic Magazine and chief cartographer at National Geographic Maps.

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