Create a Story Map Tour

One of the most popular Story Maps apps is the Story Map Tour, which you'll use in this lesson. To make a Story Map Tour, you first need to assemble and organize the media (photos or videos) you want to use.

For photos, you can use images of any size and shape, but we recommend landscape orientation (i.e., images that are wider than they are tall). Map Tours generally look best if all the images have the same size and aspect ratio, so your users don't get distracted by differently shaped images as they go through your tour. The recommended image aspect ratio is 4:3.

You have several choices for image storage. You can use images stored in Flickr or Google+. Map Tour takes advantages of optimizations in how these services store your photos, so you can upload an image of any size and it will load quickly in your story. Map Tour also automatically reads in geotag information from the images to locate them on your map, and uses any title and caption text stored with the images. If your images don't have location information the Map Tour Builder will let you specify their map location interactively.

Geotagged photos can be used to quickly assemble a Story Map Tour like this one in ArcGIS Online.

In this lesson, you'll combine images and geographic information to create a map tour of your experiences. The following steps detail how to use geotag images to tell a story using the features available on ArcGIS Online. The lesson example uses a series of photographs taken along The Strand, a 3-mile strip of beach in Los Angeles County renowned for its culture and beauty. However, don't be afraid to create your own map tour on any subject you find interesting.

You're encouraged to use your own photos, but if you don't have access to geotagged images, you can use this image collection on Flickr to reproduce the steps. If you're not using your own photos, skip to Build your tour.

Upload your images

It is very easy to uploaded a selection of photos to Flickr or other online hosting environments, and then begin to assemble them into a story. If your photos weren't geotagged, you can use street addresses to locate sites, and make manual adjustments by moving icons around on the map. Building the story is relatively fast and easy: however, the time-consuming part involves researching the locations and writing the text.

  1. Sign in to your Flickr account.
    Note:

    If you don't have a Flickr account or your own geotagged photos, you can use a photo set provided by the esrilearn account on Flickr.

  2. If you're using your own Flickr account, upload the photos to your photostream, and create a new album.
    Note:

    The first photo in the album is called IntroImage. This image has been designated as the image that will appear when the application is first opened.

Build your tour

  1. Go to the Esri Story Maps website.
  2. At the top of the page, click Apps.
  3. Under A Sequence of Place-enabled Photos or Videos, Story Map Tour heading, click Build.

    Build a map tour

  4. If prompted, sign in to your ArcGIS account and click Continue to Map Tour Builder.
    Note:

    If you don't have an ArcGIS account, you can sign up for a free public account.

    The welcome window asks you to select a source for your images (or videos). Map Tour can use videos instead of images, as well as both images and videos. The Builder can access videos stored in a YouTube account directly, or you can specify URLs to individual videos in YouTube, Vimeo, and so on.

  5. Click the Flickr button (or the YouTube button, depending on where you stored your media).

    Welcome to the Map Tour Builder

  6. If you're following the Flickr example, in the user name box, type the user name LearnArcGIS, and click the Look Up button.
    Note:

    If you are using an ArcGIS subscription account with Publisher privileges, you have the additional option of uploading your image files from your computer directly into the Map Tour Builder, where they will be stored in the cloud with your map. This is a convenient option if your images aren't already online, or if you are creating a Map Tour that will be shared only inside your organization using images that you don't want to be accessible publicly.

  7. After the account is located, choose the album A Winter Day on The Strand (37) and click Import.

    Select a Photo Set

    If your pictures have a valid geolocation (like the above-referenced Strand photos), they will be automatically located on the map and listed on the second tab.

    Select and locate images

    Note:

    By default, Flickr does not store the geolocation (part of the EXIF metadata) when you upload photos. You can allow this in your account privacy settings. If you imported photos previously without making this setting change, you'll have to delete and re-upload your photos.

    If you had photos that weren't located, you have the option to use the interactive tool to geolocate any unlocated images on the interactive map interface.

  8. Click the Import button to finish.

    You are presented with an interactive user interface, which you'll use to fill in the text, set extent and zoom levels, and ultimately share your tour with a public audience.

    First look after images load

  9. On the left panel, click Settings.
  10. In the Settings panel, Layout tab, ensure Side Panel is the selected as the layout type for your story map.

    Select side panel layout

    Note:

    The Layout tab lets you choose which layout you'd like to use for your tour. If you choose the Three Panel or Integrated layout, your Map Tour has an optional subtitle, which you can edit in the header in the Builder. Unlike the Side Panel layout, those two layouts don't have a cover page, but you have the option, in the Organize dialog, to specify that the first point in your Map Tour will be an introduction that is not shown as a geographic point on the map. This option is a good way to provide your readers with additional descriptive text about your Tour before they start moving through it.

  11. If necessary, click Apply

Write the text

Now it's time to write titles and captions for the main application and each photo. In real life, this is the most time-consuming part of the job. It's also the most important part, because this is your story. Take your time, write concisely, and find an editor to proofread your work. Remember, you're publishing! If you're following the Strand example, you can take a shortcut and copy and paste the necessary text from this text file.

  1. If necessary, click the pencil icon next to the main title and type A Winter Day on The Strand (or whatever you'd like to call yours).

    Edit title and description

  2. For the Intro image, update the title to Intro Image.
  3. For the image description, copy and paste the following text:

    In the Los Angeles County seaside communities of Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach, they call it, simply, The Strand. It's a 3-mile-long walking and biking trail that bisects some of the most beautiful beaches and expensive real estate on the West Coast. In the summer, it's everything you would expect, but in the wintertime, it's actually a place of quiet Zen.

  4. Change the basemap to Streets.

    Change Basemap menu

    Streets is an effective choice for urban areas due to its rich detail at close-up scales. Experiment and choose another if it better suits your personal aesthetic.

  5. Use the + tool to zoom the map into the beach cities until the extent of your locations fills the map.

    Zoomed to beach cities

    Note:

    You can click the Organize button on the left side of the Builder to manage your points. It also gives you the option to specify that the first point in your Map Tour will define a cover page for your tour. If you use that option, the cover page image is not shown as a geographic point on the map. Your cover page is not shown in the Map Tour Builder, but you can preview what it will look like in your tour by pressing the View Story button, which becomes enabled after you have saved your tour. Pressing that button will open your tour in a new browser tab so you can see what it will look like to your readers.

  6. On the left panel, click Organize tour points and add a cover page.
  7. Check the box, Use the first point as a cover page.

    Exclude from carousel

  8. Click Reset order and hidden points and Apply.
  9. On the left panel, click Save.

    The Tour saved message appears and provides a link to My Stories where you can edit your stories and check them for errors. (You can also get to My Stories from the Story Maps page.)

    Tour saved

    You can also retrieve the web application from your content in ArcGIS Online.

    Application appears on the My Content tab

  10. From the My Content tab of the content page, click the web mapping application A Winter Day on The Strand.
  11. Click the thumbnail image or click View Application to open the application.

    View application

    You can see a few issues here. Slide titles are showing raw image names, and some captions are nonexistent. Let's work on these and a few other changes.

  12. Click the Edit button.

    Builder mode button

  13. On the left panel, click the Settings button.
  14. Click the Extent tab.

    Here you can set the initial extent of the map when the application is first loaded.

  15. Confirm that the initial extent of the map includes all your tour points. If necessary, click Draw a new extent and draw a box centered over Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach.

    Draw Beach Cities extent

  16. Click Apply.
  17. Click the Settings button to open the Settings dialog box again.
  18. Click the Data tab to update photo names and captions from image metadata. For Name, choose Name, for Caption, choose Description.

    Select photo name and caption

    Note:

    The text you use for captions for your Map Tour's points can contain HTML tags if you want to specify additional text formatting and hyperlinks. For example, you might want each caption to include a photo credit in italics.

    You can include the names and captions for your photos and videos in your Map Tour directly in the Builder. Alternatively, if you want to prepare everything ahead of time, you can make a spreadsheet containing the names, captions, locations, and media URLs that define your Map Tour, and import that spreadsheet into the Map Tour Builder as a CSV file. The Builder lets you download a template you can use to create this spreadsheet.

  19. Click the Zoom Level tab, change Scale/level to 1:5K (level 17).

    S et zoom level

  20. Click Apply.
  21. Save the changes and test your extent and zoom levels.

    Sometimes you have to experiment with different extents and zoom levels to find the combination that suits your data and your story. The next step is to clean up the titles and write captions for each photo. As mentioned previously, this is a painstaking but crucial part of the job. Refer to this text file if you're following the Strand example and want to copy and paste the text as a shortcut.

    Note:

    Some images have suitable names and captions, but many require updating, spend a little time making required updates as needed.

    The finished story map

  22. When you've completed the text editing, save your changes.
  23. As a final step, don't forget to share you story map.

That's it. Hopefully you've been successful re-creating this Story Map Tour, or even better, creating one of your own. For inspiration, look at some of the examples in the Story Map Tour Gallery. The gallery contains examples that showcase how you can use the Story Map Tour app and illustrates effective design patterns and best practices. You can filter the gallery by subject or industry, or you can search by keyword. See if you can find some examples that match your interests or subject area. Get a feel for how information is conveyed in a Map Tour, and what approaches work best with this app for effective storytelling.

Next, you'll build a Story Map Cascade to welcome your audience to a different Southern California city: San Diego.


Create a Story Map Cascade

You want to create a simple guide that welcomes visitors to the City of San Diego, California. You want to give your audience an orientation to the main areas in the city and enable them to discover some interesting places. In the story, you'll use an existing web map of the city that shows some key neighborhoods and places of interest. You'll also use images provided by a photographer.

You'll create this visually appealing Story Map Cascade about key neighborhoods and places of interest in San Diego. A Story Map Cascade combines in-line content with beautiful immersive sections that fill the screen with your maps, images, 3D scenes, videos, and other web content. A Cascade is ideal for telling in-depth stories in a free-form structure that are very easy for your readers to navigate. All they need to do is scroll.

Start the Cascade Builder

The Story Map Cascade Builder allows you to include customized maps, photos, and text to give your customers an engaging and informative experience. For the purposes of this lesson, you'll use an existing web map of the city and images provided by a photographer.

  1. Go to the Esri Story Maps website.
  2. At the top of the page, click Apps.
  3. Scroll down to the section titled A Rich Multimedia Narrative and locate the Story Map Cascade template options.

    Cascade template

  4. Click Build.
    Note:

    The Cascade Builder is supported in Chrome, Firefox, Safari. Cascade stories can be viewed on any web browser.

  5. If prompted, sign in to your ArcGIS account and click Continue to Cascade Builder.
    Note:

    If you don't have an ArcGIS account, you can sign up for a free public account.

    Cascade Builder cover page

    The Cascade Builder opens with a cover page, which includes a placeholder cover photo.

    You're all set to start building your Story Map Cascade.

Configure the cover for your Cascade

Now you're ready to begin customizing your cover page. Your cover page is the first thing the audience will see, so you'll want to make it impressive!

  1. In the Enter your story title box, type Welcome to San Diego.
  2. For the subtitle, you can write your own or use this text: Discover this popular Southern California beach city.
  3. Click the Save button on the left side of the Cascade Builder to save your Cascade.
    Note:

    It's recommended that you add your own logo to the story's header so your audience can see who created it. To add your logo, click the Settings button. In the window that appears, click the Logo & Sharing tab.

  4. Click the Add your image or video button.

    The Media Picker opens so you can choose an image for your cover page.

    You can drag images directly into the Cascade Builder from your computer, or you can access images that are on the web, such as in photo hosting sites like Flickr. (It's important to ensure that you have permissions to use images from the web.) Uploading your own images into your story map is recommended for adding photos and other graphics so they will always be available. In this case, your photographer is already sharing the photos publicly in Flickr, so you'll access them from there.

  5. Click the Flickr tab and click Flickr account.
  6. In the Search for account box, type Esri Story Maps Demo and press Enter.
  7. Select the Welcome to San Diego album.
  8. Select any image from this Flickr album that you think would look good as the opening image in your Cascade, such as View over San Diego Bay.
    Note:

    If you want to try a different image, click the pencil icon in the lower left corner of the cover and click Manage > Change Media. You can also change the appearance of your title and subtitle on top of your cover image.

    Pencil icon

    Now that you're satisfied with your cover page, you'll create an introduction for your story map.

Add some introductory text and photos

Next, you'll start adding content for the first part of your story using text and in-line media.

  1. Click the arrow button at the bottom of the page.

    Arrow button

  2. Click the add button (+).

    Add button

  3. In the menu that appears, choose Text.

    Text

  4. Type some text to introduce people to San Diego. You can write your own, or use this text:

    San Diego offers a near-perfect "endless summer" climate, great beaches, a lively downtown, cool neighborhoods, and a generally laid-back feel.

    Plus there are miles of coastline, mountains, and a desert to explore.

    Let us introduce you to the city and help you discover some cool places along the way that you may enjoy.

    It's possible to format the text in your Story Map Cascade as headers, subheads, quotes, and alignment.

  5. Click inside a paragraph and click the formatting button to the left to change its appearance.
    Note:

    You can also format specific excerpts of text with bold, italics, underlining, strikethrough, hyperlinks, or different colors. When you highlight the text, a menu appears with these options.

    Format Text icon

  6. Click the add button (+) after the last paragraph in the text you just added, and choose Media.
  7. In the Media Picker, on the Flickr tab, which shows the same photo album you saw earlier, choose another image to represent San Diego, such as Sunset Cliffs.
    Note:

    While it's recommended that you use your own photos, or photos that your organization is sharing publicly, you can also use the Media Picker to search for images that are available for noncommercial or educational purposes. In addition to Flickr, Unsplash is a curated collection of free, high-quality photos. However, always make sure you check the terms of use and give proper attribution to the owner of the photos or other media.

  8. Point to the image that you just added.

    Notice that three icons appear. With the pencil icon, you can change the size of the photo, swap the photo out, or delete it. With the trash bin icon, you can quickly remove the photo. With the plus sign icon (the Add another image button), you can add additional images.

    You'll add some additional photos next to this one to create a gallery of pictures.

  9. Click the Add another image button.

    Add another image

  10. In the Media Picker, choose Downtown San Diego Children's Park.

    The Add another image button now appears to the right of your gallery.

  11. Add the image Balboa Park - Buildings and Gardens.

    Image gallery

    Notice how the photo sizing is handled automatically when you add multiple pictures.

  12. Click Your caption here and type a description for your new gallery, such as the photographer's name: Rupert Essinger / Esri.
    Note:

    If you are using another party's images, this is a good place to add an acknowledgment, attribution, or link to their site. If all your photos are by the same source, you could add that credit later in the optional credits section at the end of your Cascade.

  13. Click the add button (+) under the photos you added and choose Text.
  14. Type some more text about San Diego, such as the following:

    San Diego is located on the Pacific Ocean 120 miles south of Los Angeles and 20 miles north of Tijuana on the Mexican border.

    From Los Angeles you can get to San Diego in two hours, either by car or on the popular Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train service.

    You've introduced your narrative with some good photos and descriptions, but now you're going to add a map. This will start to give the audience a spatial reference for the landmarks they're seeing in the pictures.

Add a map

The best way for your audience to get a sense of where the landmarks are is through an interactive map.

  1. Click the add button (+) under the last text paragraph you added and choose Media.
  2. In the Media Picker, click the ArcGIS tab and click ArcGIS Online.

    ArcGIS tab in the Media Picker

  3. In the search field, type CreateCSDSanDiego owner:StoryMaps and press Enter.
    Note:

    If you already have the URL for a specific ArcGIS web map (https://www.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=346b76ac939f474b80795b7a3427831c), you could also access it directly. You'd search for the ID part of its URL, in this case, 346b76ac939f474b80795b7a3427831c.

  4. Click the Welcome to San Diego web map owned by the StoryMaps team.

    This web map was authored in ArcGIS Online. The map appears in your Cascade and shows San Diego's location in Southern California.

  5. Point to the map and click the pencil icon in the lower left corner of the map.

    There are several options for customizing the appearance and behavior of your map in the Cascade, including size, views, and levels of interaction.

  6. Click the blue check mark in the lower right corner of the map to close this window.

    Blue check mark

  7. Click the add button (+) under the map and choose Text. Type some closing text for your introductory section, such as the following:

    Although probably best known for its coastline, San Diego County includes several mountain ranges. The Laguna Mountains, 50 miles east of the city, are popular with visitors for their sweeping views over Anza-Borrego State Park, a huge desert preserve that is the largest State Park in California.

  8. Save your changes.

    In the first section of your Story Map Cascade, you created a striking cover page, introduced the narrative and purpose, and added a reference map for the user to become familiar with the area. Now you're going to start a new section that gives more detailed information about San Diego.

Start a new section with text, title, and media

The next part of your Cascade is about Downtown San Diego, so you'll add a title and some text to introduce the city to your audience.

  1. Click the add button (+) under the last text paragraph you added and choose Title.
  2. For Enter a title, type Downtown San Diego.
  3. Click the Add Media button in the lower left corner of the title section you added.
  4. In the Media Picker, click the Flickr tab, and from the Esri Story Maps Demo account, open the Welcome to San Diego album.
  5. Choose an image of downtown to serve as the background for your title section, such as Downtown San Diego - Children's Park.

    If you'd like to change what section of the image is displayed, you can alter this in the Background settings.

  6. Click the pencil icon in the lower left corner of the title section and choose Background.
  7. Within the image preview to the right, click the blue circle and move it around the image until you find a display you like.
    Note:

    If you need to change the image, there is a Change media option on the Manage tab.

    Background image placement

  8. Click the blue check mark to close the Background panel.
  9. Click the add button (+) under the Title section.

    Add a narrative section

  10. Choose Narrative to add a narrative section, so you can add more information.

    Narrative button

  11. Type some text to introduce Downtown San Diego, such as the following:

    Start your visit to San Diego in the lively downtown. Here, next to San Diego Bay, you'll find the convention center, the marina, the baseball stadium, and lots of things to do.

  12. Click the Save button on the left side of the Cascade Builder to save your Cascade.

    These title breaks in the Story Map Cascade are a good way of breaking up your content into sections. It's clear now to the user that they'll be diving into more detail about San Diego.

Add an immersive section

An immersive section fills the entire screen. As your readers scroll through your story, the different views you defined in the immersive section appear along with an optional descriptive text panel. For example, each view could show a different image, or a different map, or a different location on the same map. You can define transition effects between views, too, so they are flexible for guiding your readers through a sequence of images, maps, or 3D scenes.

  1. Click the add button (+) under the last text paragraph you added and choose Immersive.

    The Cascade Builder changes to show you the controls for authoring an immersive section. Along the bottom of the screen you'll see a strip where you'll define the views in this immersive section. It contains the first view ready for you to author.

  2. Click Add Media to choose what your first view will display.
  3. In the Media Picker, choose one of the images of downtown from the Esri Story Maps Demo Flickr account Welcome to San Diego album, such as Downtown San Diego USS Midway.
  4. Floating over the photo you added, you'll see an empty text panel that says Continue your story here.

    Continue your story here text panel

  5. Type the text that you'd like to display next to this photo, such as the following:

    USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum

    In Downtown San Diego, don't miss the chance to go on the cavernous Midway! On the ship's huge flight deck there's a large collection of aircraft along with sweeping views of San Diego Bay, the downtown skyline, and Coronado Island. And you'll want to see the bridge and captain's chair! Photo: Rupert Essinger / Esri

    Note:

    If you don't see an empty text panel floating over the photo that you can type into, scroll up or slightly down and it will appear.

  6. Format your title to appear larger than the descriptive text.
  7. Click the pencil icon in the upper right corner of the text panel.

    USS Midway pencil icon

    A list of options that let you control the appearance and position of the text panel appears. For example, you can change the position of the text block so it floats over the right side of the photo.

    Your immersive section contains one view so far. Now you'll add another view to display another photo.

  8. In the strip at the bottom of the screen, click the add button (+) next to the one view it contains to add a another view, click Add Media, and choose a photo for this view, such as Downtown San Diego - Pantoja Park. Type some descriptive text for this photo in the text block, such as the following:

    Pantoja Park

    This peaceful park is a little oasis in downtown's Marina District. The park is surprisingly old: it was laid out in 1850. The statue of Benito Juarez was a gift from the Mexican government. Broadway's high-rises lie just beyond. Photo: Rupert Essinger / Esri

  9. Format the text and the text panel to look consistent with the panel for your first view.
  10. Click the Save button on the left side of the Cascade Builder.
  11. Click the View Story button.

    View Story button

    A preview of your Cascade opens in a new tab.

  12. Explore your story map.
  13. Close this tab to return to the Cascade Builder.

Add a map to your immersive section

As with the introductory section, interactive maps are a way for the user to become familiar with San Diego and the spatial distribution of particularly noteworthy landmarks.

  1. To add a new view, click the add button (+) in the strip at the bottom of the screen.

    Add button

  2. In the new view that appears, click Add Media.
  3. In the Media Picker, choose the ArcGIS tab.
  4. On the tab, select This Story if it is not already selected.

    The web map you already added to your Cascade is displayed.

  5. Select that web map again to use it in your view.

    Instead of displaying this map as is, in this view you want the map to show Downtown San Diego.

  6. Click the pencil icon in the lower left corner of the map to configure how it will appear in this view.
  7. Keeping the map centered on the label for San Diego, use the zoom in control in the lower right corner of the map (or press Shift while dragging a box on the map) until your map shows the Downtown San Diego area.

    Map zoomed to San Diego

    This extent of the web map contains some places and neighborhoods of interest to visitors to San Diego, and the ferry and trolley lines. The points of interest were assembled in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and uploaded into the web map as CSV files. The other layers were created in ArcGIS Desktop and uploaded into the web map as shapefiles.

  8. Click the blue check mark to keep this map configuration.

    Next you'll add some text and a photo to the panel next to this map.

  9. You should see an empty text panel floating over your map that says Continue your story here.
    Note:

    If you don't see an empty text panel, scroll up or slightly down until it appears.

  10. Click in this text panel and type the text that you'd like to display next to this map, such as the following:

    Downtown San Diego

    Located on San Diego Bay, downtown is thriving. It's just a few minutes away from the airport. And beautiful Balboa Park is close by. Click the green points to discover some fun places, or keep scrolling down and we'll tour you around some of them.

    Note:

    If you include some text to tell people about the green points they can click, as shown above, you could format the word green with a green color to match the map.

  11. Click the add button (+) under the last text paragraph you added and choose Media to add an image to your text panel.

    Add an image to the map

  12. In the Media Picker, choose one of the images of downtown from the Esri Story Maps Demo account Welcome to San Diego Flickr album, such as Downtown San Diego - Children's Park.
  13. Under the photo, click Your Caption here and enter a caption:

    Children's Park, adjacent to the Convention Center

Add another view

When your readers keep scrolling down, you want the views of Downtown San Diego to automatically zoom in to show the Gaslamp Quarter. You'll add another view showing the same map and configure it to show that location.

  1. In the strip at the bottom of the screen, point to the last view that you added and click the Duplicate button.

    Duplicate button

    Duplicating a map creates an exact replica of the map (including the view and layers), making it easier to build sequences of views that tour readers around different locations on a map. If you added the map to a view in the Media Picker, you would need to specify your desired configuration for that map again.

  2. Click the pencil icon in the lower left corner of the map to configure how it will appear in this view.
  3. Zoom in on the Gaslamp Quarter. To zoom, you can double-click the map, use the zoom in control in the lower right corner of the map, or press Shift while dragging a box on the map.

    Map zoomed to the Gaslamp Quarter

    In addition to the green points of interest you see in the map at this scale, this map contains some additional layers, such as some interesting places to eat, and the light rail system. If you want, you can turn on one or more of these additional layers.

  4. In the list of layers in the upper right corner, turn on any additional layers you want to show at this scale, such as Food.
  5. Click the blue check mark to keep this map configuration.

    You've configured how you want the map to appear for this view. Now you can author the text panel for this view.

  6. In the text panel for this view, type some text for this view:

    The Gaslamp Quarter

    Welcome to San Diego's entertainment, dining, and partying hub. This is the most popular evening destination in downtown.

    Note:

    If you turned on an additional layer such as Food, you could also include some text to tell people about the blue points they can click, and format the word blue with a blue color.

  7. Click the add button (+) under the last text paragraph you added, and then click Media and choose a picture such as Downtown San Diego - Gaslamp to represent this location.
  8. Under the photo, click Your caption here and type a caption, such as the following:

    You'll find bustling restaurants, bars, and shops along Fifth Avenue immediately north of the convention center, starting at the Gaslamp Quarter sign.

  9. Repeat steps 1 through 8 to add another view that zooms in on Little Italy, which is the other downtown neighborhood that you want to showcase. It's located about 10 city blocks northwest of the Gaslamp Quarter.
  10. In the text panel, type the following text:

    Little Italy

    This neighborhood is a quieter, hipper alternative to the hectic Gaslamp Quarter, combining its Italian roots with some cool modern design and great restaurants. There's a large open-air market every Saturday morning.

  11. Locate and add a photo of Little Italy from the Welcome to San Diego album.
  12. Add the following text for the photo caption:

    Little Italy is centered along India Street, between Ash to the south and Hawthorn to the north.

    Now you'll add two more views showing pictures, with a slow fade transition between them.

  13. In the strip at the bottom of the screen, click the add button (+) after your last view to add a new view, click Add Media, and choose any picture of Downtown San Diego you like from the Welcome to San Diego Flickr album.
  14. Add the location name to the text panel for the picture.
  15. Repeat steps 11 and 12 to add another picture.

    You can choose different transitions between pairs of views (unless both views show maps).

  16. In the strip at the bottom of the screen, click the Choose Transition button for the last view you added.
  17. Choose the Fade Slow transition.

    Fade Slow

  18. Click the Save button on the left side of the Cascade Builder.
  19. Click the View Story button (above the Save button).
  20. Explore your story map, and then close this tab to return to the Cascade Builder.

    Congratulations—you've created a Story Map Cascade with two sections about the downtown area of San Diego. You would typically continue adding sections to the story about any other parts of the city that you want to feature, such as Mission Bay, Pacific Beach, and La Jolla. To add those sections, you would repeat the steps above, using the appropriate photos and displaying the map zoomed to those places. Optionally, you can add a credits section to the end of your story with photo credits and other information.

Share your story

When your story map is complete, you can share it with your organization or with the public.

  1. At the top of the Cascade Builder, locate the three sharing options.
  2. To make your story map public, click the Public button.

    Public button

    Before you start promoting your story map, go to the My Stories section of the Story Maps website. In My Stories, you can upload a thumbnail for your story and add a one-line summary description and search tags. These elements will make your story easier to find and look good in social sharing (such as tweets) and search results.

For inspiration, look at some of the examples in the Story Map Cascade Gallery. The gallery contains examples that showcase how you can use the Story Map Cascade app and illustrates effective design patterns and best practices. You can filter the gallery by subject or industry, or you can search by keyword. See if you can find some examples that match your interests or subject area. Get a feel for how information is conveyed in a Cascade, and what approaches work best with this app for effective storytelling.

Next, you'll build a Story Map Journal to introduce visitors to San Diego.


Create a Story Map Journal

You'll create this Story Map Journal about key neighborhoods and places of interest in San Diego, California. Story Map Journals are useful when you have a long narrative that can be easily divided into distinct sections. Each section in a Story Map Journal presents a map, image, video, or piece of web content, with associated narrative text in a side panel. You can also define interactive actions, called story actions, for your side panel text. These story actions can change the web map when users click certain words or phrases. Your Story Map Journal will showcase some of San Diego's most popular locations. To build your Story Map Journal, you'll use an existing web map of the city and images provided by a photographer.

Start Map Journal Builder

First, you'll find the appropriate template on the Esri Story Maps website and begin a new Story Map Journal. Then, you'll choose a layout and title.

  1. Go to the Esri Story Maps website.
  2. At the top of the page, click Apps.
  3. Scroll down to the section titled A Rich Multimedia Narrative and locate the Story Map Journal template options.

    Story Map Journal template

  4. Click Build.
  5. If prompted, sign to your ArcGIS account and click Continue to Journal Builder.
    Note:

    If you don't have an ArcGIS account, you can sign up for a free public account.

    The Welcome to Map Journal Builder window opens. This window contains layout options for your Story Map Journal. It supports two layouts: Side Panel and Floating Panel. Floating panels are for shorter descriptions, focusing on and featuring the map more prominently. The story map you're creating will combine photos and maps with more extensive descriptive text about each location, so for the purposes of this exercise, Side Panel is the best choice.

  6. In the Welcome To Map Journal Builder window, confirm that Side Panel is selected. Then, click Start.

    Map Journal Builder layout options

    Next, Map Journal Builder prompts you to enter a title.

  7. In the Enter your title box, type Welcome to San Diego.
    Note:

    If an error message appears warning that an item with that name already exists, append your initials to the end of the title.

  8. Click the next button.

    The Add Home Section window opens.

Build a Home Section

Map Journals contain sections. The Home Section is the first section your users will see when they open your Map Journal. It serves as the introduction to your story.

First, you'll add an image to the Main Stage of your Home Section. The Main Stage pane is the larger display area to the right of the side panel. It can display a map, image, video, or web content. For your story map, you want the Home Section to display a photo that will appeal to your readers and encourage them to read your story.

You can drag images directly into Map Journal Builder from your computer, or you can access images that are hosted on the web. Images that you upload from your computer are automatically stored in your Map Journal story. Uploading images is the recommended way to add photos and other graphics to a story. In this case, your photographer has already shared the photos on Flickr, so you'll access them from there.

  1. In the Add Home Section window, in the Content options, choose Image.
  2. Click Flickr.

    Add an image from Flickr

  3. For the Flickr user account, type Esri Story Maps Demo, and click Load albums.

    A single album from this user account loads.

  4. Click the Welcome to San Diego album.

    All 33 images in the album are displayed. The one you choose will be the opening image of your Map Journal.

  5. Click the photo titled View over San Diego Bay (or any other image from the album that you think would look good as the opening image).

    Next, you'll choose the photo's position on the Main Stage pane. You can either crop the image to fill the stage, fit the image to the stage without cropping, stretch the image, or center the image. The Fill option is best for images that won't be negatively affected by cropping, such as photographs of places.

  6. Confirm that Position is set to Fill and click Next.

    The Add Home Section window prompts you to add content to the side panel, the area to the left of the main stage. You can type directly into the text editor or paste text in from other sources. While you'll add only narrative text to the side panel, you can also add images and videos.

  7. In the text box, type (or copy and paste) the following introductory text:

    San Diego offers a near-perfect "endless summer" climate, great beaches, a lively downtown, cool neighborhoods, and a generally laid-back feel.

    Plus there are miles of coastline, mountains, and a desert to explore.

    Let us introduce you to the city and help you discover some cool places along the way that you may enjoy.

    Side panel content

    Tip:

    You can format the text however you like. For example, you can use bold text for the first paragraph and plain text for the others.

  8. When you're satisfied with the text, click Add.

    Both the image and the text are added to Map Journal Builder.

    Home section

  9. At the top of Map Journal Builder, click Save.

    Save

    Your Home Section is finished.

Add a section for the San Diego area

Next, you'll add a new section to your Map Journal to introduce readers to San Diego and the surrounding area. This section will include a web map in the main stage and text and a photo in the side panel.

  1. At the bottom of the side panel, click Add Section.

    Add Section

    The Add Section window opens.

  2. For the section title, type San Diego: the second largest city in California.
  3. In the Content options, confirm that Map is selected.
  4. Click the Select or create a map menu and choose Select a map.

    Select a map

    The Select a map window opens. The default location to select a map is My Content, which contains content from your account. You can also search for maps from other sources, such as your organization or public content on ArcGIS Online. You'll use a web map that is shared on ArcGIS Online.

  5. Click the arrow next to My Content and choose ArcGIS Online.

    Choose ArcGIS Online

  6. In the search field, type CreateMJSanDiego owner: StoryMaps and press Enter.

    Search for maps

    Tip:

    If you already have the URL for a specific ArcGIS web map (https://www.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=346b76ac939f474b80795b7a3427831c), you could also access it directly. You'd search for the ID part of its URL, in this case, 346b76ac939f474b80795b7a3427831c.

  7. Click the Welcome to San Diego web map owned by StoryMaps.

    This web map was authored in ArcGIS Online. It contains some locations and neighborhoods of interest to visitors to San Diego, as well as the ferry and trolley lines. Instead of displaying this map as is, you'll show a specific location on the map.

  8. For Location, click Custom configuration.

    Location Custom configuration

    The map loads, enabling you to pan and zoom to define the location you want to display.

  9. Zoom in so the map shows the San Diego region, the United States-Mexico border, and surrounding mountains.

    San Diego regional map

  10. In the Map Location box, click Save Map Location.

    Now, the current map extent will be displayed by default in your Story Map Journal. You can also change the map's content and pop-ups, but the default settings are fine for your purposes.

  11. In the Add Section window, click Next.

    Next, you'll add some text and an image to the side panel.

  12. In the text box, type the following information about San Diego:

    San Diego is located on the Pacific coast, 120 miles south of Los Angeles and 20 miles north of Tijuana.

  13. Press Enter twice to add two returns under the text.
  14. In the text editor toolbar, click the Insert an image, video, or web page button.

    Insert an image, video, or web page

    A window opens. It is similar to the window you used to choose the Home Section image.

  15. Click Flickr. Confirm that Esri Story Maps Demo appears in the text box, click Load albums, and choose the Welcome to San Diego Flickr album.
  16. Click the photo titled Sunset Cliffs.

    The Image caption field is automatically populated with text from Flickr, but you can edit or delete it. Always keep the photographer credit if provided.

  17. Click Apply.

    The image and caption are added to your text.

  18. Scroll down the text box and click below the new image and caption. Type (or copy and paste) the following text:

    From Los Angeles you can get to San Diego in two hours, either by car or on the popular Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train service.

    Although probably best known for its coastline, San Diego County includes several mountain ranges. The Laguna Mountains, 50 miles east of the city, are popular with visitors for their sweeping views over Anza-Borrego State Park, a huge desert preserve that is the largest State Park in California.

  19. Click Add.

    The section is added to Map Journal Builder. It introduces your readers to San Diego and the surrounding region.

    Introduction section

    Tip:

    After adding a section, you can edit it at any time by clicking the edit button at the top of the section.

Add a section for downtown San Diego

Next, you'll add a section that zooms in on the map to show your readers downtown San Diego.

  1. At the bottom of the side panel, click Add Section.
  2. For the new section title, type Downtown San Diego.

    The default map is still the Welcome to San Diego web map. For Location, the Custom configuration option is still selected, which indicates that the section uses the same location you chose earlier. You'll use the same web map but change the location.

  3. For Location, click Custom configuration.
  4. Keep the map centered on the label for San Diego and zoom to the downtown area, with the airport at the top left and Balboa Park at the top right.

    Downtown San Diego

  5. In the Map Location box, click Save Map Location.

    In addition to the green points of interest, this map contains layers that show ferry routes and certain neighborhoods. You can also turn on one or more additional information layers.

  6. For Content, click Custom configuration.
  7. In the Map Content window, check the boxes next to any additional layers you want to show, such as Food (which shows places to eat) or Trolley Lines.
  8. Click Save Map Content.
    Note:

    If you turned on additional layers, you may want to add a legend so users can more easily understand all the symbols. For Extras, you can check the Legend box to display a legend. For the purposes of this exercise, adding text in the side panel may be a more effective way to draw attention to the map's layers. You probably won't want to add a legend if you didn't turn on any other layers.

  9. Click Next.

    Next, you'll add text and one or more images to the side panel.

  10. In the text box, type some text about downtown San Diego. You can write your own or use the following example text:

    Start your visit to San Diego in the lively downtown. Here, next to San Diego Bay, you'll find the Convention Center, Marina, the baseball stadium, and lots of things to do.

    The Gaslamp Quarter is the big evening destination with restaurants, bars, and shops along Fifth Avenue and the surrounding streets.

    Little Italy is another popular neighborhood, combining its Italian roots with some cool modern design.

    Click the green points to discover some fun places, or blue points to learn more about some great places to get food.

  11. Add an image from the Flickr account you used earlier to represent downtown. Alternatively add separate images for the Gaslamp Quarter and Little Italy paragraphs.
  12. When you're finished adding images, click Add to complete the section.
    Tip:

    If you add a legend to your map, you can configure it so that it's open by default. To enable this setting, expand the legend. In the legend's upper-right corner, click the settings button. Check the Open By Default box.

  13. Save your Story Map Journal.
    Note:

    Layers that are turned on in a web map don't always appear in the legend. The web map author may have decided that certain layers will not appear in the map legend when they are turned on. For example, the trolley stations and trolley lines in this web map don't appear in the legend if you turn those layers on in the map.

    You've added a new section for downtown San Diego.

Add a story action

In your new section's narrative text, you want your readers to be able to click on place names such as the Gaslamp Quarter and Little Italy to navigate to them on the map. To add this interactivity, you'll author some story actions. Story actions can modify the map's appearance, display a different map, display an image, or jump to a different section in your journal.

  1. In your Downtown San Diego section, click the edit button to edit the section.

    Edit button

  2. In the Edit Section window, highlight the words Gaslamp Quarter.

    When the text is highlighted, the Story Actions options become available.

    Story Action options

  3. Click the Change the Main Stage content button.

    Change the Main Stage content

  4. If necessary, for Media, choose Map and select the Welcome to San Diego map.
  5. For Location, click Custom Configuration. Zoom to the Gaslamp Quarter neighborhood and click Save Map Location.
  6. Click Apply and click Save.

    The text to which you applied the story action is now underlined in the side panel. You'll test the story action.

  7. In the side panel, click the underlined Gaslamp Quarter text.

    The map navigates to the location you specified. Now that you have the map you want, you can add a pop-up that engages your audience and provides them with information about specific locations. Next, you'll edit the story action so a pop-up appears with more information about the Gaslamp Quarter when the user clicks the text.

    Note:

    After a story action changes what the audience sees in the main stage, the back button appears above the map. You can use this button to return to the previous view.

  8. Click the edit button.
  9. If necessary, highlight the Gaslamp Quarter text. Click the Change the Main Stage content button.
  10. For Pop-up, click Custom Configuration.

    The map is enabled and the Map Pop-up window opens.

  11. On the map, click the green point in the Gaslamp Quarter neighborhood.

    Gaslamp Quarter pop-up

  12. In the Map Pop-up window, click Save the Pop-up Configuration.

    Now, the Gaslamp Quarter pop-up will open when the user triggers the story action.

  13. Click Apply and click Save.

    You've added a story action. Optionally, you can repeat these steps to add an additional story action for Little Italy.

  14. Save your Story Map Journal.

Preview your Map Journal and share your story

Now that you've created a few sections and actions, you'll preview your Map Journal as it will appear to your audience. Then, you'll share it for others to see.

  1. At the top of Map Journal Builder, click View Story.

    View Story

    Your Map Journal opens in a new tab. It appears exactly as your audience will see it, with one possible exception. If you see status indicators in the header, they are only visible to you, the story map's owner.

    Preview Map Journal

    Your Map Journal only has three sections. Optionally, you can add more sections using the same web map to show other neighborhoods, such as Balboa Park, La Jolla, and the beaches west of Mission Bay (Mission Beach and Pacific Beach). You can also add a concluding section using an image in the main stage.

    You can change the appearance of your Map Journal using the settings button at the top of the builder. If you were going to publish and promote this Map Journal, you might use the Header tab in the Settings window and upload your agency's logo to your story. For the purposes of this lesson, however, your story map is complete. Next, you'll share it with others.

  2. Close the preview and return to Map Journal Builder.
  3. At the top of the builder, click the Share button.
  4. In the Share Your Story window, change the privacy setting to Public.
  5. Close the Share Your Story window.

    Before you start promoting your story map, go to the My Stories section of the Story Maps website. In My Stories, you can upload a thumbnail for your story and add a one line summary description and search tags. These elements will make your story easier to find and look good when you share your map via social media.

Your Story Map Journal is completed and shared. It introduces your audience to San Diego through the use of images, maps, and interactive text. For inspiration, look at some of the examples in the Story Map Journal Gallery. The gallery contains examples that showcase how you can use the Story Map Journal app and illustrates effective design patterns and best practices. You can filter the gallery by subject or industry, or you can search by keyword. See if you can find some examples that match your interests or subject area. Get a feel for how information is conveyed in a Map Journal, and what approaches work best with this app for effective storytelling.

You can find more lessons in the Learn ArcGIS Lesson Gallery.