Story Maps

How to Make a Story Map

Eager to make your first story map, but not sure where to start? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to see just how easy it is to create placed-based, multimedia narratives.

Get ideas and get inspired

Go to the Story Maps Gallery to see some pieces handpicked by the Esri Story Maps team. These examples highlight creative approaches to storytelling as well as general best practices. You can filter and search the gallery to see how authors have handled subjects and information that may well be similar to yours. Explore—get a gut feeling for what makes a good story.


A screenshot of the Esri Story Maps Gallery and its filters



Choose a Story Map app template

Go to the list of Story Map templates to browse the different reading experiences and choose the best one for your project. There are options for map-based tours, collections of points of interest, in-depth narratives, presenting multiple maps, and more. Spend some time comparing the templates to see the various components they let you incorporate in your story.





Take the template tutorial

Each template has a tutorial page that guides you through the authoring process. Story Maps are part of ArcGIS Online, Esri’s cloud-based mapping and GIS platform, so you’ll sign in with your ArcGIS Online account to create your story. The templates are hosted in ArcGIS Online and have interactive builders that make it easy to author your story. Story Maps are also available in Esri’s ArcGIS Enterprise product, which enables an enterprise to set up its own cloud-based mapping infrastructure.

You can create your web maps in ArcGIS Online first and then reference them when you build your story, but some of the templates also let you create and edit your maps from within their interactive builders. You can add your data to ArcGIS Online web maps in many different formats, including tabular data from spreadsheets, and combine it with authoritative data published by Esri and many other leading agencies.

You also have the option to download the source code for any of the templates and configure it on your own web server. This enables developers to customize and tailor the final piece.


A screenshot of the first steps in the tutorial for Story Map Journal



Publish and promote your story

Now that you’ve finished your story map, you simply share it to your audience. You can share your work publicly or restrict it so it can only be accessed by people in your organization. Make sure your story gets in front of its target audience—link to it or embed it in your website, write a blog post about it, share it on social media, include it in your newsletter, and more.


Screenshot of Haida Gwaii: An iLCP Expedition with Photographer Andrew Wright.
The Esri Story Maps Twitter feed


Upstate NY transplant. Content creator for the Story Maps team. Fascinated by how storytelling affects the human brain. Lover of conservation. Overly proud dog mom.


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