ArcGIS StoryMaps

Deck out your desktop for the new year with these map wallpapers

It’s that time of year again. Perhaps projects are winding down or you’re eyeing up some well-deserved vacation time before the new year. It’s also that time when you might pause and look at the things you accomplished over the year; I’d argue there’s no better work to admire than the work of cartographic nature.

While admiring maps of the past year you might also be contemplating what’s next for 2023. With the new year right around the corner, resolutions for personal improvement come into mind: clicking ‘save’ more often, making more great stories, organizing the files on your hard drive, or perhaps even sprucing up your desktop background.

To help with that last resolution, we on the StoryMaps team have bundled up a handful of maps to spread the cartographic cheer, and they might just be the new desktop or mobile wallpaper you’ve been looking for. Set it now and it’ll feel fresh and new when you log in next year.

While these maps support a larger narrative within the context of their respective stories, they also work well standing on their own and in the case of these maps tell stories of the ocean deep, incredible migrations, and some truly electric datasets.

So, download away and deck out your desktop before the new year!

Maps for download

Some of the maps listed below include other compositions or thematic layers to suit your visual desires. Check out all the downloads for all the different versions.


A map of migration routes for a Short-eared Owl, Swainson's Hawk, American Golden-Plover, and Tree Swallow overlaid upon the Western Hemisphere.

Aerial odysseys: Every spring and fall billions of birds embark on incredible migrations between their summer and winter ranges. Explore the journeys of 4 species across the flyways spanning the Western Hemisphere.

Download the backgrounds | View the original story

Global map of World War II shipwrecks classified by faction.

Resurfacing the past: Explore the geography of naval combat in WWII with these maps of sunken ships. Each point represents a single vessel that sank during the Second World War. In aggregate, the points highlight key flashpoints in the conflict, and underscore the war’s global reach.

Download the backgrounds | View the original story

Miniature diorama of a submersible descending to Challenger Deep, the deepest point in the ocean.

Challenge accepted: Join Dawn Wright, Esri’s chief scientist, on her remarkable voyage to the depths of Challenger Deep in support of seafloor mapping and ocean exploration.

Download the backgrounds | View the original story

A map in Spillhaus projection depicting the ocean floor and some of the geographic feature within.

Why we map the ocean floor: The ocean covers 70% of the Earth’s surface, but we know less about the ocean’s deepest depths than we know about the surface of the moon or Mars. These colorful oceanic maps, presented in the unorthodox Spilhaus projection, invite you to peer beneath the ocean’s surface and explore the topography of the deep.

Download the backgrounds | View the original story

Map of the United States of America and the distribution of electric vehicle chargers and their type and charging capacity.

Charging across the country: Have an electric car? Travelling to see relatives over the holidays? Planning a long-distance road trip with an EV may not be the most straightforward part of your trip. These maps visualize the distribution of all the different types of charging stations you may come across on your travels.

Download the backgrounds | View the original story

About the authors

I have all sorts of fun creating engaging maps and graphics and then sharing the process. I work from Kitchener, Canada on Esri’s StoryMaps team where those visuals sometimes make their way into immersive place-based stories. When not digging into vectors and pixels, I can generally be found riding around town on two wheels with toddlers in tow.


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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