Create a dashboard

First, you want to illustrate the frequency and severity of earthquakes in California. While you can do this with a simple web map showing the location and size of recent earthquakes, it's more effective to also provide a number total. To show this data, you'll configure a dashboard. Dashboards can contain a number of elements that you can configure to show various statistics about the data shown on the map.

Open the map

The key component of the dashboard will be the web map. To create the dashboard, you'll share an existing map that shows several layers of earthquake data pulled from Living Atlas.

  1. Open the California Recent Earthquakes and Earthquake Risk map and sign in to your ArcGIS Online account.

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

    This map contains a few layers related to earthquakes and is centered on the state of California. The Legend pane shows the map legend for the layers currently visible on the map:

    • The USA Active Quaternary Faults layer displays the location of known active faults throughout the country.
    • The Recent Earthquakes layer shows earthquake events from the past seven days from a live feed of earthquake events.
    • The USA Earthquake Risk layer highlights the areas of the United States with the highest potential for earthquake activity. Each of these layers is available through ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World.
  2. In the Legend pane, click Content.

    View the list of layers on the map.

    There are three group layers on the map, two of which contain additional data layers.

  3. Expand the Recent Earthquakes group layer and turn the layers on and off to explore the data.

    Familiarizing yourself with the data is helpful because it will help you decide which elements to add later. Elements primarily provide a numerical view of your data and can be configured in multiple ways, including charts, graphs, counters, and lists.

  4. On the ribbon, click Share.

    If you changed layer visibility in the previous section while exploring data, don't save the map before sharing.

  5. In the Share window, click Create a New Web App. Click the ArcGIS Dashboards tab.

    Share the web map in a dashboard.

    The new dashboard inherits the title and tags of the original map. To ensure that your dashboard is given a unique name in your ArcGIS Online organization, you'll add your initials.

  6. For Title, add your initials to the end of the default name.
  7. Leave the summary and tags unchanged and click Done.

    The dashboard opens with a display of the web map. The application theme is currently set to Light. To make the bright map stand out, you'll change the theme to Dark.

  8. On the ribbon, click Settings.

    Dashboard settings

  9. Under Layout, for Theme, choose Dark.

    The application updates to the Dark theme.

  10. For Element Background Color, click the color and choose a dark gray shade, like the one in the second column, fifth row (Hex value #242424).

    Change Element Background Color to a dark gray color.

  11. Click Done.

Add elements

The dashboard now contains a single element: the map you shared. To provide viewers with more context, you'll use built-in elements that can be configured to display information about the contents of the web map. Elements are data driven and primarily display numerical data, which can be shown as charts, indicators, and so on. You'll add two elements that give context to the information in the web map: a map legend and an indicator that totals the number of earthquakes shown on the map.

  1. On the ribbon, click Add Element and choose Map Legend.

    Add a map legend to the dashboard.

    The Map Legend configuration view opens. The Legend element shows the same legend information as the Legend pane in the map. No additional configuration is needed.

  2. Click Done.

    Now that the legend has been added, you can choose where in the dashboard to display it.

  3. If necessary, dock the Legend element on the left side of the map and resize the legend so that the map takes roughly three-quarters of the dashboard.

    Resize the legend pane to emphasize the map.

    Adding the map legend helps users understand the symbology displayed on the map. You'll also add an element that totals the number of points shown on the map.

  4. On the ribbon, click Add Element and choose Indicator.

    The Indicator view opens to show a list of the layers contained in the web map.

  5. In the layer list, choose Mag. for Past Week.

    Show data from the Mag. for Past Week layer in the Indicator element.

    This layer filters the entire earthquake dataset to show only the events that have occurred in the past week, symbolized by magnitude. Magnitude is a measurement commonly used to communicate earthquake severity and will be recognizable to most individuals viewing the application.

  6. In the Indicator configuration pane, click the Indicator tab.

    Configure the Indicator element.

    The Indicator tab allows you to configure the appearance of the element, including title, font, and alignment. Without configuration, the indicator would only show the count of points. To provide context, you'll add text to the indicator.

  7. For Top Text, type Significant Events. For Bottom Text, type in the Past 7 Days.

    Add explanatory text to the Indicator element.

    The element box now shows the number supplied by the layer with explanatory text.


    Because this is a live data feed, the number of significant events on your indicator may be different than the one shown in the example image.

  8. Click Done.

    The element is added to the dashboard but takes up a large part of the screen.

  9. Point to the top left corner of the Indicator element and choose Drag item.

    Move the element to another position on the dashboard.

  10. Dock the element on the right side of the dashboard so that the map is in the middle of the view. Resize the element so that it only takes up about a quarter of the screen.

    Three column view for the dashboard

    The Indicator element currently shows all the earthquakes that have occurred around the world in the last week. Because your story is focused on preparedness in California, the indicator would be more meaningful if it focused on points in the state. To filter the data, you'll connect it to the current map extent. As the viewer zooms and pans the map, the indicator will update to show the number of events that happened within that specific extent.

  11. Point to the top left corner of the Map element and click Configure.
  12. In the Map configuration pane, click the Map Actions tab.

    Click the Map Actions tab.

  13. For When Map Extent Changes, click Add Target and choose the Indicator element.

    Add target to filter when map extent changes.

  14. Click Done.
  15. Pan and zoom the map.

    When you change the extent of the map, the Indicator element updates to show the count of earthquakes in the map view.

  16. On the ribbon, click Save.

    The dashboard is fully configured. To make sure viewers can see all the content, you'll need to change the subscriber content settings.

  17. On the ribbon, click the options menu and choose Subscriber Content.

    Enable subscriber content in the dashboard.

    All three of the layers on the web map are subscriber content, meaning that you must be signed in to an ArcGIS Online account to view it. For dashboards and other public applications, you can choose to allow anonymous viewers access through your account. These layers won't cost your organization any credits to view.

  18. Under Enabled, switch all three layers on.

    Enable subscriber content in the dashboard.

    Once you enable the subscriber content, you're also given the option to limit how many views it gets. This doesn't matter as much for subscriber content, which is free, but can be important to set for premium content, which is charged to your organization.

  19. Click Done. In ArcGIS Online, click the Content tab.

    The content you've created, including the California Recent Earthquakes and Earthquake Risk dashboard, is listed. Because the original web map was shared with everyone, the dashboard is also shared with everyone by default.

The dashboard is the first application that you'll add to your final storymap. This application gives the reader an idea of the frequency and severity of earthquakes in California.

Build a web scene

California is the most populous state in the United States with approximately 40 million residents in 2019. Many of those residents live in close proximity to fault lines, putting them at great risk of being affected by earthquakes. To visualize where people live in relation to fault lines, you'll create a 3D web scene showing population density.

Configure a web scene

To build the web scene, you'll use population data from Living Atlas. Like you did with the map of earthquakes in the first section, you'll share an existing scene using a web app. Then you'll create slides, or bookmarks, of densely populated places so that your viewers can easily navigate to them.

  1. Browse to the ArcGIS Living Atlas home page.
  2. Search for Urban Indicators – Population Density.

    You'll use this layer to demonstrate the location of densely populated areas compared to earthquake faults.

  3. Click the thumbnail for the Urban Indicators – Population Density (U.S. only) result to open the item details page.

    Open the population density scene.

  4. On the item details page, click Open in Scene Viewer.

    The web scene shows population density, or how close together people live. In urban areas with high population density, there are more people who may be affected by earthquakes.

    Next, you'll add earthquake fault data to your web scene and configure slides. Doing so will allow users of your application to easily navigate to highly populated areas.

  5. Click the Modify scene button.

    Modify the existing scene.

    The data points are shown in the center of each census block group. These boundaries aren't useful to your visualization, so you'll remove them.

  6. In the Designer pane, for the USA Block Groups layer, click the options button and choose Remove.

    Remove the block groups layer.

    Next, you'll add the fault line layer.

  7. In the Designer pane, click Add Layers.
  8. In the My Content pane, click My Content and choose Living Atlas.

    Search through the Living Atlas.

  9. Search for USA Active Quaternary Faults. In the list of results, for the first USA Active Quaternary Faults layer, click Add.

    Active Quaternary Faults layer

    This is the same faults layer that is being used in the web map you opened in the first section.

  10. Click Done.

    The web scene now shows the same fault layer as the web map you used in the dashboard. Now that all the data is in the scene, you'll create slides. Slides in Scene Viewer are like bookmarks in Map Viewer or ArcGIS Pro.

  11. In the Designer pane, click Slides.

    Capturing a slide creates a snapshot of the map exactly the way you see it. When clicked, the slide zooms and pans the scene to the same view. For the purposes of this application, you'll create slides for four majority cities in California that are located near active faults.

  12. Click the Search button and type Los Angeles. Press Enter.

    The scene zooms to Los Angeles, California. As a major population center, the city of Los Angeles has a high population density. It's also in close proximity to several faults.

  13. If necessary, zoom out until you can see the fault north of the city of Los Angeles. Close the Search result pop-up.

    Los Angeles, California

  14. In the Slides pane, click Capture Slide and type Los Angeles.
  15. Capture slides for San Diego, San Jose, and San Francisco, California.

    You may need to zoom out on each of these location until a fault line appears in view.

  16. Once you have all four slides added, click Done.
  17. Click Save Scene.
  18. In the Save Scene window, add the following information:

    • For Title, type Population Density and Earthquake Faults (Your initials)
    • For Summary, type Population Density and Earthquake Faults in and around the state of California.
    • For Tags, type Earthquakes, California

  19. Click Save.

Build a 3D web application

Once the web scene is configured the way you want it, you'll build a 3D web application from it. It's also possible to share web maps and scenes, but choosing an app template that showcases the slides you created will make it easier for your viewer to understand the data as you want to display it.

  1. In ArcGIS Online, click the Content tab and click the Population Density and Earthquake Faults scene to open its item details page.
  2. On the right side of the page, click Create Web App and choose Using a Template.

    Create a Web App using a template.

    A new window appears with a gallery of web applications that are compatible with 3D scenes.

  3. In the Create a web app window, choose the Scene Styler template and click Create Web App.
  4. For Title, type Population Density and Earthquake Faults App (Your Initials) and click Done.

    The app configuration window appears.

  5. On the General tab, under Subscriber Content, check the USA Active Quaternary Faults layer.

    Turn on subscriber content.

    This setting allows your applications users to view layers that qualify as subscriber content without signing in to ArcGIS Online. Any credits usage caused by viewing the layer will be charged to your ArcGIS Online organization.

  6. On the ribbon, click the Theme tab. In the Default group, for Widgets, choose Dark.
  7. In the Custom group, for Preset Colors, choose Dark Grey.

    Theme colors

    The theme colors for the app now match the dark palette you used for the dashboard. Next, you'll configure the elements that the viewer sees on the final app.

  8. On the ribbon, click the Layout tab. In the Main Menu group, uncheck About.
  9. For Select a startup panel, choose Slides/Bookmarks.

    When viewers open the app, they'll see the slides you created directing them to the four California cities.

  10. At the bottom of the Configure pane, click Save. Click Launch.

    The web application opens in a new tab. To make sure it's visible in your story map later, you'll need to update the sharing permissions.

  11. In ArcGIS Online, click the Content tab.
  12. Select the Population Density and Earthquake Faults app. Click Share, choose Everyone, and click OK.
  13. In the Update Sharing window, click Update Sharing.

You've completed the second application that you'll embed in your final story map. The Scene Styler application allows your viewer to quickly navigate to densely populated areas of the state to view population data and earthquake fault locations in 3D.

Share the story

To tell the full story of earthquake risk in California, you'll use the StoryMaps app. Story maps can display multiple apps, like the two you've created, with multimedia and text for additional context.

Create a new story map

First, you'll create a new story in the StoryMaps app and update the title page.

  1. Download the earthquake image and save it to the location of your choice.

    You'll use this image to help create your story.

  2. In ArcGIS Online, click the Apps button and choose StoryMaps.

    Open the StoryMaps app.


    You can also navigate to the ArcGIS StoryMaps website and sign in using your ArcGIS Online account.

  3. On the My Stories page, click Create new story.

    Create a story map.


    Depending on whether you have created a story map before, the site layout may be different than in the example image.

    The StoryMaps builder opens to a blank title page. Before you start building your story, you'll change some of the appearance settings. Like the other two apps you built, you want the story map to have a dark color scheme.

  4. On the ribbon, click Design.

    Design the story map.

  5. In the Design pane, for Theme, choose Obsidian.

    Change the design settings for the cover.

    The builder updates.

  6. Close the Design pane.
  7. For Title Your Story, type California Earthquake Risk.
  8. Under the title, paste the following introduction: Now is the time to prepare.

    Story title slide

    The story will be saved under the new title. The draft is automatically saved. On the other side of the title page, you can add an image or video.

  9. Next to the title, click Add image.

    Add a cover image.

    A window appears to choose the image.

  10. Browse to the earthquake image you downloaded, select it, and click Open.

Add content

Next, you'll embed text, photos, and your web applications in the story map to create a final product. Each story map is built using a series of content blocks that include a variety of types of text, images, applications, maps, and other media.

  1. Scroll past the cover and click Add content block. Choose Heading.

    Add a heading block.

  2. In the Header block, type California is home to 15,700 known faults, and scientists discover more each year.
  3. Below the Header text, click Add content block again. In the block palette, choose Embed.

    The Add web content window appears. In this window, you'll paste the link to the dashboard you created.

  4. In ArcGIS Online, open the item details page for your California Recent Earthquakes and Earthquake Risk dashboard and click Edit Dashboard.
  5. On the ribbon, click the options menu and copy the Share Link.

    Copy the share link for your dashboard.

  6. Open your story map. In the Add web content window, paste the link and click Save.

    The dashboard is added to the story map. By default, it's added in the smallest format.

  7. Point to the app. On the toolbar, click Medium.

    Medium application size

  8. Below the application, click Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS and add the caption Earthquake fault locations, recent earthquakes in the past 7 days, and earthquake risk in California.
  9. Below the dashboard, click Add content block and choose Heading. Add the following text: Most California residents live within 30 miles of an active fault.
  10. Open the block palette and choose Embed. In the Add web content window, paste the shareable link to Population Density and Earthquake Faults App. (You can access the link by opening the scene and clicking the Share button.)
  11. Click Save.

    By default, the app is embedded as a card. To make this interactive like the dashboard is, you'll change the display properties.

  12. Point to the Population Density and Earthquake Faults App card. On the toolbar, choose Display this content as an interactive embed.

    Make the web scene app interactive.

  13. Point to the card again. On the toolbar, click Medium.

    The application is resized to its medium dimensions. The slides you saved are shown in the upper right corner of the app. If you aren't signed in, the scene prompts you to do so.

  14. Below the application, replace the Scene Viewer text with the caption Use the Slides widget to view active faults near major California cities.
  15. Open the block palette and add another Heading block with the following text: There is a 99 percent chance of one or more magnitude 6.7+ earthquakes occurring in California within the next 30 years.

Publish the story map

The last elements to add to your story are links for the reader to learn more about earthquake preparedness. You'll add links to websites for more information before publishing your story.

  1. In the block palette, choose Separator.

    A line is added to the story map to create a division between the sections of content.

  2. Under the separator, add a Heading block and type Now is the time to prepare for an earthquake event.
  3. Add a Subheading block and type For more information about how to prepare for and stay safe during an earthquake, see the following resources:
  4. Add two Embed blocks, one with the resource link and one with the link

    Your story map is now complete and ready to be published.

  5. On the ribbon, click Publish and choose Everyone..

    Share the story map publicly.

  6. Click Publish Story.

Your story map is now ready and available to share with Californians. Using web maps, apps, and scenes, you've shown the hazard and potential impact of an earthquake and provided links for readers interested in learning more about preparedness.

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