Create a policy map

A policy map is a map that shows areas where policy intervention should occur. You'll create a policy map of Pasadena, California, that shows the five school zones with the most traffic accidents in which a pedestrian or cyclist was injured or killed. The city can then focus policy efforts on increasing safety in these areas.

Add data to your map

Your map's subject is pedestrian and bicycle accidents in Pasadena, so you'll start by adding relevant data to a new map.

  1. Sign in to your ArcGIS organizational account or into ArcGIS Enterprise using a named user account.

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

  2. At the top of your organization home page, click Map.

    Map option on ribbon

    A new map opens. The map extent for a new map is set to the default extent of your organization.

  3. On the ribbon, click Add and choose Search for Layers.

    Add button, Search for Layers option

    The search pane opens. By default, the search is set to only look for data in your account. You'll add data hosted in the Learn ArcGIS administrator account, prepared specifically for this lesson. The data was originally compiled and uploaded by the City of Pasadena.

  4. Click My Content and choose ArcGIS Online.

    ArcGIS Online option for search parameters

  5. In the search box, type Traffic Collisions. To limit the search, add owner:Learn_ArcGIS. Press Enter.
  6. In the list of results, for Traffic Collisions, click the Add button.

    Add Traffic Collisions layer from search results

    The layer is added to the map. The map zooms to the extent of the layer, which is Pasadena, California.


    Depending on the size of your browser window, the default zoom extent may differ from the example images. If necessary, zoom the map in or out until you see all the data clearly.

    Traffic Collisions layer added to the map

    The layer shows all accidents that occurred in Pasadena during the past decade. With policy maps, it's essential to determine whether the dataset is a reasonable representation of reality. Any biases in the data can distort your results and lead to poorly informed policy.

    In the example of traffic collisions, unreported accidents could be a potential bias. Because this data comes from the City of Pasadena municipal government, you know your data is an authoritative and accurate representation of traffic accidents.

Filter the data

Next, you'll filter the layer to show only accidents that involved a pedestrian or cyclist.

  1. In the search pane, click the Back button. If necessary, click Content to open the Contents pane.

    Back button in search pane

    The Contents pane includes the Traffic Collisions layer and your organization's default basemap. To filter a layer, you should first become familiar with its attribute information. You'll find out whether this layer has attributes that explain whether an accident involved pedestrians or cyclists.

  2. Point to the Traffic Collisions layer and click the Show Table button.

    Show Table button in Contents pane

    The table opens. It contains the layer's attributes: additional information about the data on the map. Each row corresponds to a single accident, while each column is a field that includes a specific type of information.


    You can resize the table by dragging the handle at the top of the table.

  3. Scroll through the table until you find the InvolvedWith field.

    InvolvedWith attribute field in table

    This field describes who was involved in the crash. It includes information about whether the crash involved a pedestrian, a cyclist, or another motor vehicle. You can use this field to filter your layer.

  4. Close the table.
  5. In the Contents pane, point to the Traffic Collisions layer and click the Filter button.

    Filter button in Contents pane

    The Filter window opens. To filter the layer, you'll create a logical expression that shows which type of features to display, based on attribute information.

  6. For the first drop-down box, choose InvolvedWith. Leave the second drop-down box unchanged.
  7. For the third drop-down box, click Unique and choose Bicycle.

    First expression to filter the layer

    The expression reads InvolvedWith is Bicycle. It will filter the layer to show only crashes that involved a bicycle. You also want to include crashes that involved a pedestrian, so you'll create a second expression.

  8. Click Add another expression. Create the expression InvolvedWith is Pedestrian.

    By default, only features that match both expressions are shown. You'll change the parameters so features that match either expression are shown.

  9. Above the expressions, click the drop-down box and choose Display features in the layer that match any of the following expressions.

    Second expression to filter the layer

  10. Click Apply Filter.

    The data on the map is filtered. Only accidents involving either a cyclist or a pedestrian are shown.

    Filtering your data highlights the subject of interest. If you wanted, you could also create filters to show only data from a specific year or time period. A date filter could be used to compare accidents over time and show whether city policies are having a positive effect.

Uncover patterns

You've mapped accidents, but what patterns can be found in the data? Are there areas where particularly large clusters of accidents are occurring? It's helpful to display the data in different map styles to find trends.

Ways to find patterns in your data include point clustering, heat maps, and hot spot analysis. These methods all reveal where accidents are happening at abnormal rates. You'll map the accidents using all three methods to gain insight into your data.

First, you'll apply clustering to your points. Clustering groups points within a certain distance of one another into a single symbol, showing where many points are located close together.

  1. In the Contents pane, point to the Traffic Collisions layer and click the Cluster Points button.

    For Enterprise users: In the Contents pane, point to the Traffic Collisions layer, click More Options and choose Clustering.

    Cluster Points button in Contents pane

    The Cluster Points pane opens and the symbols on the map are automatically clustered using default parameters.

    Map with clustered points using default clustering parameters

    The areas with the highest clusters of accidents seem to be in the central part of the city. How many accidents were clustered in this area?

  2. On the map, click any of the cluster symbols.

    Pop-up for cluster point

    The symbol's pop-up shows the number of accidents that were clustered together.

  3. Close the pop-up. In the Cluster Points pane, drag the slider to show clusters of more or fewer accidents.

    At less clustering, large clusters may represent as few as 20 accidents, while at more clustering, they may represent as many as 400. While clustering does tend to show patterns of where points are located in higher densities, the degree of clustering can change where those patterns seem to appear.

    For instance, at some levels of clustering, the eastern side of Pasadena seems to have a high cluster of accidents, while at other levels, it does not.

  4. In the Cluster Points pane, click Cancel.

    Next, you'll create a heat map of accidents. A heat map also shows where points are more densely located, but using color instead of symbol size.

  5. In the Contents pane, point to the Traffic Collisions layer and click the Change Style button.

    Change Style button in Contents pane

    The Change Style pane opens. You can choose different styles for your data.

  6. For Heat Map, click Select.

    Select Heat Map drawing style

    The drawing style is automatically applied to the map.

    Heat map of accidents in Pasadena, California

    Like the clustered points, the heat map indicates a high density of accidents in central Pasadena. However, the heat map particularly emphasizes the area south of the Foothill Freeway, corresponding to downtown.

    Although it may seem like the bright yellow areas are areas to focus policy, a heat map is not a policy map. A policy map takes a stand and explicitly indicates areas where policy should be focused. You still don't have enough information to make a claim like that. It's possible another way of exploring patterns will provide new information about the data.

  7. In the Change Style pane, click Cancel.

    The last way you'll explore patterns is through hot spots. Hot spots are statistically significant clusters in spatial data. While a heat map only shows accident density, a hot spot map uses statistical analysis to compare where concentrations are high and low relative to other areas. To create hot spots, you must run an analysis tool on your data.

  8. On the ribbon, click Analysis.

    Analysis button on ribbon

    The Perform Analysis pane opens.

  9. Expand Analyze Patterns and click Find Hot Spots.

    Find Hot Spots tool

    The tool requires a few parameters. You'll change the default parameters so that the hot spots are shown in the form of hexagonal bins.

  10. For Count points within, choose Hexagon Grid.

    Count points within parameter

  11. Change Result layer name to Traffic Collision Hot Spots. To make the layer name unique in your organization, add your name or initials. Uncheck Use current map extent.

    Result layer name parameter

  12. Click Run Analysis.

    The tool takes about a minute to run. When it finishes, the hot spots layer is added to the map.

  13. In the Contents pane, uncheck Traffic Collisions to turn it off.

    Hot spots layer on map

    The red hexbins show areas of spatially significant clustering, while white hexbins show areas with no significant clustering. There are no blue areas on the map, but if there were, they would represent areas with statistically low clustering. The map indicates that accidents happen statistically regularly across the city, but with a statistically significant clustering in the downtown area.

    These results all point to patterns of high accidents in downtown. You now have a better understanding of the data.

  14. Uncheck the Traffic Collision Hot Spots layer to turn it off. Check the Traffic Collisions layer to turn it back on.

Symbolize by category

Next, you'll change the symbols of your accidents layer to show different categories of accidents. In particular, you want to distinguish fatal accidents from accidents with only injuries. You also want to distinguish pedestrian accidents from bicycle accidents. This information adds more detail to your findings and helps support policymaker decisions on your subject.

To create these four symbol categories, you'll use an Arcade expression. Arcade expressions use attribute information to determine symbology.

  1. In the Contents pane, for Traffic Collisions, click the Change Style button.
  2. For Choose an attribute to show, scroll to the bottom of the list and choose New Expression.

    New Expression option

    An Arcade expression editor window opens. The default name for the new expression is Custom.

  3. Next to the expression name, click Edit. Type Collision Type and click Save.

    For the first part of your expression, you'll create variables that represent the four categories you want to symbolize. Each variable will refer to an attribute field that contains information about the category. The first variable will be for accidents that involved pedestrians and cyclists.

  4. For Expression, in line 5, type var type = .

    First half of the line for the type variable

    In Arcade, var means variable. The word type is the name of the variable, which you choose. Next, you'll choose the attribute field that defines this variable. As you learned when you looked at the data's table, the InvolvedWith field includes information on whether pedestrians or cyclists were involved in the accident.

  5. Scroll through the list of fields and click $feature.InvWith.

    InvolvedWith field to add to Arcade expression

    The field is added to the expression.

    Completed type variable line

    This variable can be used for both pedestrians and cyclists, so you only need to create two more variables, one for fatalities and one for injuries. The NumberKilled and NumberInjured fields contain information relevant to these variables.

  6. Press Enter. Create two more variables, one named fatal and one named injured, which are equal to the NumberKilled and NumberInjured fields, respectively.

    If you have difficulty creating the expressions, you can copy and paste the following text:

    var fatal = $feature.NoKilled
    var injured = $feature.NoInjured

    Three completed variables

    These three variables represent the four types of attributes you want to depict on the map. However, these variables aren't exclusive. Accidents involving pedestrians or cyclists likely also have injuries or fatalities. There are four combinations of the type, fatal, and injured variables:

    • Accidents involving a pedestrian and a fatality
    • Accidents involving a pedestrian and an injury
    • Accidents involving a cyclist and a fatality
    • Accidents involving a cyclist and an injury

    To account for these combinations, you'll create a function.

  7. Press Enter twice. Type When (.

    A When function indicates that when certain conditions are met, a specific symbology category will be used. First, you'll create a symbology category for pedestrian fatalities.

  8. Type type == "Pedestrian" && fatal == "1", "Pedestrian Fatality".

    Function to create the Pedestrian Fatality category

    The syntax of this function may seem confusing, but all it says is that when the type variable equals Pedestrian and the fatal variable equals 1 (meaning one fatality), a category named Pedestrian Fatality is used.

    You'll add more lines to the When function for the other categories.

  9. Type a comma and press Enter. Add the following lines to the expression:
    type == "Pedestrian" && injured != "0", "Pedestrian Injury",  
    type == "Bicycle" && injured != "0", "Bicycle Injury",
    type == "Bicycle" && fatal == "1", "Bicycle Fatality",

    Final Arcade expression


    The part of the expression that reads injured != "0" indicates that any number of injuries that isn't 0 will fulfill the condition. This syntax is necessary because some accidents have two or more injuries. However, no accident in your data involving a cyclist or pedestrian has more than one fatality, so fatal == "1" will include all accidents that had a fatality. Details like these are why it's important that you understand your data before creating a policy map.

  10. Click OK.

    The expression is used to symbolize the accidents. Each category has a different symbol.

    Map symbolized by Arcade expression

    In addition to the four categories you specified, there is a fifth category named Other (gray symbols). This category includes any accidents that didn't fulfill the conditions for any of the categories you created. These accidents are likely those that had neither injuries nor fatalities.

    Next, you'll make the symbols more visually distinct. You'll change fatal accidents to have a larger symbol, while you'll distinguish between pedestrian and cyclist accidents with color. You'll also remove the Other symbols, as these accidents are probably minor and shouldn't affect policy.

  11. In the Change Style pane, for Types (Unique symbols), click Options.

    Options for the Types drawing style

    The pane changes to show a list of the categories and their symbols.

  12. Uncheck Other.
  13. Drag the three dots to the left of each symbol to rearrange them in the following order:
    • Pedestrian Fatality
    • Pedestrian Injury
    • Bicycle Fatality
    • Bicycle Injury

    Rearranged list of symbols

  14. Click the Pedestrian Fatality symbol.

    A window opens with symbol options. You'll make the symbol red and increase its size.

  15. On the Fill tab, change the hexadecimal value to #FF4040.

    Hexadecimal value for Pedestrian Fatality symbol

  16. Click the Shape tab and change Symbol Size to 15 px.

    Symbol Size value for Pedestrian Fatality symbol

  17. Click OK.
  18. Change the remaining symbols with the following parameters:
    • Pedestrian Injury: #FF4040 and 3 px
    • Bicycle Fatality: #FFAA00 and 15 px
    • Bicycle Injury: #FFAA00 and 3 px

    Finalized list of symbols

    The fatalities receive a larger symbol size to indicate the difference in severity between injuries and fatalities.

  19. In the Change Style pane, click OK. Then, click Done.

    Lastly, you'll change the basemap so the symbols stand out more.

  20. On the ribbon, click the Basemap button and choose Dark Gray Canvas.

    Dark Gray Canvas basemap option

    The basemap changes automatically.

    Symbolized map

    Now, the accidents stand out because the points are not competing with the basemap colors. There is also a clear distinction between bicycle and pedestrian accidents.

Add school areas

When it comes to policy decisions, hot spots and heat maps don't provide much context and make no explicit claims about the data. Because your subject is not only accidents but accidents near schools, you'll add a layer of Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) schools to your map. Then, you'll find areas within a half-mile walking distance of each school.

  1. On the ribbon, click Add and choose Search for Layers. Confirm that the search pane is set to search for layers in ArcGIS Online.
  2. In the search box, type PUSD Schools owner:Learn_ArcGIS and press Enter. In the list of results, for the PUSD Schools layer, click the Add button.

    The layer of schools is added to the map. By default, the schools have red point symbols that can be difficult to distinguish from the accident points. You'll change the symbol so the schools stand out more.

  3. Click the Back button. In the Contents pane, point to PUSD Schools and click the Change Style button.
  4. For Location (Single symbol), click Options.
  5. Click Symbols.

    Symbols option for single symbol drawing style

    The window for symbol options opens.

  6. On the Shape tab, click the Shapes drop-down menu and choose Basic. Near the top of the list of symbols, click the square symbol.

    Square symbol in Basic symbol category

    The square shape will be distinguishable from the circle shapes of the accidents. You'll also change the color to white so the symbols stand out against the dark basemap.

  7. Click the Fill tab and click the white color (#FFFFFF).

    White color for square symbol

  8. Click the Outline tab and click the same white color. Click OK.

    The symbol is applied to the map.

    Map with symbolized schools

    The schools now stand out and can be distinguished from the accidents. Next, you'll create the walk-time areas around each school. You'll later be able to calculate the number of collisions near each school.

  9. In the Change Style pane, click OK and click Done.
  10. On the ribbon, click the Analysis button. Expand the Use Proximity group and click the Create Drive-Time Areas tool.

    Create Drive-Time Areas tool

    This tool uses road network data to create areas that can be reached within a specific driving or walking distance or time. Creating areas within a half-mile walking distance of schools will show places where there are likely large numbers of student pedestrians.

  11. For Choose point layer to calculate drive-time areas around, confirm that PUSD Schools is chosen. For Measure, choose Walking Distance and change the distance to .5 miles.

    Measure parameters for the Create Drive-Time Areas tool

    If school areas overlap, you want to keep them as distinct features. That way, you'll still be able to calculate the number of accidents in each area.

  12. For Areas from different points, confirm that Overlap is chosen. For Result layer name, type Half-Mile Walking Distances from Schools and add your name or initials.

    Result layer name parameter for the Create Drive-Time Areas tool

  13. Uncheck Use current map extent and click Run Analysis.

    The tool may take about a minute to run. After it finishes, the walk-time areas are added to the map. Most are centered around a school. You'll rearrange the order of layers so the walk-time areas appear under the schools and accidents layers.

  14. In the Contents pane, point to the Half-Mile Walking Distances from Schools layer and drag the three dots to the left of the layer name under the Traffic Collisions layer.

    Reorder layers in Contents pane

    You'll also change the layer symbology to make the areas more transparent and have a white color that matches the schools.

  15. For the Half-Mile Walking Distances from Schools layer, click Change Style. For Location (Single symbol), click Options.
  16. For Transparency, drag the slider to about 75 percent.

    Transparency slider for walk-distance layer

  17. Click Symbols. On the Fill tab, click the white color (#FFFFFF), and on the Outline tab, click No color.

    No color option for outline

  18. Click OK. In the Change Style pane, click OK and then click Done.

    The new symbology is applied to the map.

    Walking distances from schools on the map

    Some school areas have no pedestrian or cyclist accidents, while others have a significant amount. At the same time, the area with the highest density of accidents is not within any school area. Adding more information beyond a heat map has provided essential context for policymakers.

Find the most dangerous school areas

You could stop your analysis here, and use this map as grounds to implement a policy that encompasses all school zones. Changing street signs and adding bicycle lanes in these areas may reduce accidents near schools.

However, sometimes a city does not have enough funds to enact new policy for every location. Many Pasadena school zones have few accidents, so policies in these areas may have little effect. Instead, policymakers want to focus their efforts on areas that need it most.

You'll calculate the number of accidents within each school zone and filter the layer to show only the five most dangerous zones. Then, policymakers can prioritize these zones over zones that are already relatively safe.

  1. On the ribbon, click the Analysis button. Expand the Summarize Data group and click the Summarize Within tool.

    Summarize Within tool

    This tool summarizes the number of point features within a polygon feature.

  2. For Choose the polygon layer, choose Half_Mile_Walking_Distances_from_Schools. For Choose a layer to summarize, choose Traffic Collisions.

    Choose polygon layer and layer to summarize

    You only want to know the count of points in each polygon, so you don't need to add any other statistics or group by an attribute field.

  3. For Result layer name, type Five Most Dangerous School Zones and add your name or initials.
  4. Uncheck Use current map extent and click Run Analysis.

    The tool runs and the layer is added to the map. The information about the number of accidents in each school zone is located in the layer's table.

  5. In the Contents pane, for Five Most Dangerous School Zones, click Show Table.
  6. Click the name of the first column, Count of Points, and choose Sort Descending.

    Sort the Count of Points field from highest value to lowest

    The table is sorted so that school zones with more accidents are shown first. The first five school zones have accidents totaling 110, 110 105, 63, and 62, respectively.

    The sixth-highest school zone has 60 accidents, which is almost the same as the fifth highest. With this information, you might consider expanding policy to include this school zone as well. Alternatively, depending on your city's resources, you may want to limit policy to focus only on the three most dangerous school zones, which have a much higher number of accidents than the fourth.

    For this scenario, you'll continue to focus on the five most dangerous school zones. You'll filter the layer to show only these zones.

  7. Close the table. In the Contents pane, for the Five Most Dangerous School Zones layer, click the Filter button.
  8. In the Filter window, create the expression Count of Points is at least 62.

    Filter expression for dangerous school zones

    This expression will filter the layer to show only school zones with at least 62 accidents. Because the fifth most dangerous school zone has 62 accidents, only the top five will be shown.

  9. Click Apply Filter.

    Five most dangerous school zones

    All five of the most dangerous school zones are relatively close to one another. Two of the most dangerous zones almost overlap entirely, which means the city can increase safety for both schools with many of the same policy decisions.

    The default drawing style of the dangerous school zones layer includes a point sized proportionally to the number of accidents in the zone. This symbol distracts from your other point data, so you'll change the drawing style.

  10. For the Five Most Dangerous School Zones layer, click Change Style. For Choose an attribute to show, select Show location only.

    The drawing style changes. The dangerous school zones are now shown with a single fill color. You'll remove the fill color and change the outline.

  11. For Location (Single symbol), click Options.
  12. Click Symbols. Change the fill color to No color and the outline color to white (#FFFFFF) with 0 percent transparency.
  13. Click OK. In the Change Style pane, click OK and click Done.

    Dangerous school zones with updated symbology

Clean up the map

Lastly, you'll rename some of the layers to remove your name or initials or add clarity. You'll also remove any unused layers. Then, you'll save the map.

  1. In the Contents pane, point to the Five Most Dangerous School Zones layer. Click the More Options button and choose Rename.

    Rename option in More Options menu

  2. Remove your name or initials from the layer name. Additionally, remove any underscores between words. Click OK.
  3. Rename the Half Mile Walking Distances from Schools layer the same way.

    You'll also rename the PUSD Schools layer. Users may not be familiar with the acronym, and the school district is less important than the geographic location of the schools.

  4. Rename PUSD Schools to Schools.

    You did not use the hot spots layer in your policy map. You'll remove this layer (it will still exist in your account's contents if you want to use it).

  5. In the Contents pane, point to the Traffic Collision Hot Spots layer. Click the More Options button and choose Remove.

    The Remove window opens. It asks you to confirm whether you want to remove the layer.

  6. Click Yes, Remove Layer.
  7. On the ribbon, click Save and choose Save As.

    Save As option

  8. In the Save Map window, fill in the parameters as follows:
    • For Title, type Pasadena Traffic Collisions.
    • For Tags, type Traffic, Collisions, Pedestrians, Bicycles, Schools, Pasadena, and California. Press Enter
    • For Summary, type This map displays traffic collisions in Pasadena, California.
  9. Click Save Map.

You've created a map that highlights five school zones that would benefit from policy intervention. Instead of only showing data point locations, your map takes a position on which areas are in the most need of help.

Share results with a story

Previously, you created a policy map that shows the five school zones in Pasadena with the most pedestrian and cyclist accidents. Next, you'll create a story with ArcGIS StoryMaps to share your results.

Using ArcGIS StoryMaps, you can create stories that combine maps with narrative text, images, and multimedia content. As its name suggests, it helps you tell a location-based story. For a policy map, which takes a position and highlights areas for action, ArcGIS StoryMaps includes helpful features for presenting the data.

Configure pop-ups

Before you share your map as a story, you'll configure the map's pop-ups. Pop-ups appear when features on the map are clicked. They contain information and help users understand the data. When sharing a map, it's important to have properly configured pop-ups.

  1. If necessary, open your Pasadena Traffic Collisions map.

    You have four layers. Of these, the Traffic Collisions and Half Mile Walking Distances from Schools layers don't really need pop-ups, as all relevant information is conveyed by the layer names and symbology.

  2. In the Contents pane, point to the Traffic Collisions layer. Click the More Options button and choose Remove Pop-up.

    Remove Pop-up option

  3. Remove the pop-up for the Half Mile Walking Distances from Schools layer.

    The remaining layers with pop-ups are the Schools and Five Most Dangerous School Zones layers. You'll see what the default pop-ups for these layers look like before deciding how to change them.

  4. On the map, click any school feature.

    Pop-up for school

    This pop-up already provides a lot of good information. The OBJECTID field should be removed, the NAME field is redundant, and the field names should be changed so that they aren't all capital letters, but otherwise, you won't need to make many changes.

  5. Click any of the five most dangerous school zones.

    Pop-up for dangerous school zone

    This pop-up provides a lot of information that isn't useful for users. The only information you need is the name of the school and the count of points. You'll remove everything else.

    First, you'll configure the pop-up for schools.

  6. Close the pop-up. In the Contents pane, for Schools, click More Options and choose Configure Pop-up.

    The Configure Pop-up pane appears. You only need to configure the attributes displayed in the pop-up.

  7. For Pop-up Contents, click Configure Attributes.

    Configure Attributes option for pop-up contents

    The Configure Attributes window appears.

  8. For Display, uncheck the OBJECTID and NAME fields.

    Uncheck OBJECTID and NAME fields.

  9. For Field Alias, click ADDRESS and change it to Address. Change the remaining field aliases the same way (and add a space between SCHOOL and TYPE in the SCHOOLTYPE field).

    Field aliases formatted

  10. Click OK. In the Configure Pop-up pane, click OK. On the map, click a school feature to confirm the pop-up was configured.

    Configured pop-up for school

  11. Close the pop-up. Open the Configure Pop-up pane for the Five Most Dangerous School Zones layer.

    For this pop-up, you'll change the title to contain the school name and create a custom attribute display so only the number of accidents is included.

  12. For Pop-up Title, remove the existing text. Click the Add field name or expression button and choose FACILITY: NAME {NAME_1}.

    Add field name for pop-up title.

  13. After the {Name_1} field name, type a space and type School Zone.

    Final title

  14. Under Pop-up Contents, for Display, choose A custom attribute display.

    A custom attribute display option

    A custom attribute display provides the option for writing text of your choice and adding appropriate fields when needed.

  15. Click Configure. In the Custom Attribute Display window, copy and paste the following text:

    Since 2008, {Point_Count} accidents involving either pedestrians or cyclists have occurred in this school zone.

  16. Highlight the sentence and click Clear Formatting

    Clear text formatting.

  17. Highlight {Point_Count} and click the Bold button.

    Bold button for count of points

  18. Click OK. In the Configure Pop-up pane, click OK. On the map, click one of the five most dangerous school zones.

    Configured pop-up for most dangerous school zone

  19. Close the pop-up and save the map.

Share the map

Before you can build a story, you need to share your map to make it public.

  1. Click the About button and click More Details.

    About the map

    The details page is where users manage the map and add metadata.

  2. Click Share.


  3. Select Everyone (public) and click Save.
  4. Click Create Web App and choose StoryMaps.

    Create StoryMaps Web App

    Your map automatically loads into ArcGIS StoryMaps with placeholder text.

Add text and graphics

Next, you'll configure your story map's layout, presentation, and other settings. Once you've set the title and subtitle, you can also change the theme and layout of the title slide to best suit your story.

  1. Replace Title your story with Safe Streets to Schools. For a subtitle, type Five Most Dangerous School Zones.

    Title of your story map

  2. Download the image from the following URL:

  3. Click Add cover image or video.

    Add cover image.

  4. Click Browse your files, browse to the downloaded image, and click Open. Click Add.

    This image helps the emotional appeal of your story map.

  5. Point to the area in between the title and the map. Click the Add content block button.

    Add content block button

  6. Under Basic, choose Text.

    Add text content block.

  7. Copy and paste the following text:

    This map highlights the five most dangerous school zones in Pasadena, California. A third of all pedestrian and bicycle accidents in the city occurred within these five zones. The city will evaluate signage, add bicycle lanes and crosswalks, and reduce the speed limit in high-risk school zones.

    Sixty-three percent of all pedestrian and bicycle traffic collisions in Pasadena occurred within half a mile of schools.

    Without any intervention, this problem will continue unabated. With the proposed changes, the city hopes to eliminate collisions in school zones and reduce overall incidents in the city by 25 percent in the first year.

    Next, you'll emphasize the second paragraph, which has an important fact.

  8. Highlight the second paragraph. Click Paragraph and select Large paragraph.

    Large paragraph

    To connect the text to the map and increase the map's legibility, you'll change the font color of the words pedestrian and bicycle to match the colors used to represent those types of accidents on the map.

  9. In the first paragraph, second sentence, highlight the word pedestrian. Click Bold.

    Bold the text.

  10. Click the Color button and type #FF4040. Press Enter.

    Change text color.

  11. In the first paragraph, second sentence, highlight the word bicycle. Click Bold and change the color to #FFAA00.

    Text color updated

    Your map is already embedded into the story map. However, it may not be zoomed to the best scale.

  12. Scroll down to your map and point to the top of the map. In the toolbar that appears, click the Edit button.

    Adjust map appearance.

    The Adjust web map appearance window appears.

  13. Zoom in on the map to see the data in more detail. Click and drag the map to center the area with the most collisions. Click Place map when you are done.

    Place map

Design the story

Next, you'll change the layout.

  1. On the top toolbar, click Design.


  2. In the Design pane, under Cover, click the Side-by-side button.

    Side-by-side cover design

  3. Scroll down the Design pane, and under Theme, choose Obsidian.

    Obsidian theme

  4. To add a logo, browse to and download the image from the following URL:


  5. In the Design pane, under Customize, click Upload logo.

    Upload a logo.

    Browse to the logo image and click Open.

  6. Continue scrolling down the Design pane. Under Logo link, paste the following URL:

  7. Close the Design pane by clicking anywhere outside the pane.

Share the story

Next, you'll publish and share your map so others can access it.

  1. In the header, click Publish.

    Publish your story.

  2. Set the sharing level to Everyone (Public) and click the Publish story button.

    Share settings

    Your finished story appears.

    Completed story map

    You can share the story with the social media buttons on the top ribbon. The Copy the story URL button provides a shortened URL that you can copy and paste into an email or message.

    Copy the story URL.

In this lesson, you created a policy map with ArcGIS StoryMaps that you then shared as a story. By adding, exploring, analyzing, and symbolizing data, you highlighted specific areas of policy intervention. You learned how to communicate your findings clearly and share your work in a presentable way.

Policy mapping is about using GIS to discover problems around you, understand them from a geographic perspective, investigate data, personalize your understanding of the issues involved, view possible points to intervene, and track progress in improving the situation. You can take the practices you learned in this lesson and apply them to any policy map you may want to make. Start by defining your subject. Then, find authoritative spatial data relevant to the subject. Add more data for context and analyze patterns. From traffic accidents to demographic distribution, similar techniques apply.

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