Author Archives: Allen Carroll

Allen Carroll
Allen Carroll is program manager, ArcGIS Online content and heads the Story Maps team. He came to Esri in late 2010 after 27 years at the National Geographic Society, where he told stories with maps in National Geographic magazine, in three editions of its Atlas of the World, and in countless wall maps and websites.

Recent Posts

Story Map Journal: A Geo-Multimedia Extravaganza

In July the Esri Story Maps team released the Story Map Journal, a new storytelling app that enables users to combine long-form text with rich multimedia content. Among the app’s features:

  • A “main stage” for large visuals, including maps, photos, videos, and websites
  • A “side panel” that accommodates titles, text. photos, and videos
  • A builder function that enables users to create media-rich stories without needing to have either GIS or web development skills
  • Ability to switch between layout options, and to make other refinements to color scheme, logo use, and more
  • Responsive design, making the app work on all screen sizes including smartphones Continue reading
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Creating and Customizing a Story Map — From a Non-GISer

Our friends at GISi recently published a great post about how one of their non-GIS people created a story map. One of our writers had just created a Halloween-themed story map and we thought it would be interesting to learn more about his experience.

Guest Post by Robby Deming

As a writer, I never thought I would create a story map. I have some technical knowledge, but the artistry and rich functionality behind some of our story maps just seemed way out of my reach. After creating The Geography of Horror story map, I’m now proud to say that I couldn’t have been more wrong. Not only is it easy to create a story map, but it’s also relatively easy to put your own unique touch on one.

The Geography of Horror

The hardest part about creating this map? Collecting data on nearly 250 movies.

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Cause-Related Mapping

Many of us are familiar with the term “cause-related marketing.” Sometimes the phrase is applied in a broad sense to any effort to increase public awareness of an important issue. A narrower definition is a campaign by a corporation to support a cause, either (cynically) to promote its own brand or (unselfishly) to lend its support to a worthy pursuit—depending on your point of view.

The Internet, the airwaves, and print media are rife with cause-related marketing. How many times, for instance, have you encountered ads by oil companies and automobile manufacturers touting their “green” practices? Cause-related mapping, on the other hand, is a far less common phenomenon.

What is cause-related mapping? It’s my own term, so I’m happy to propose a definition: It’s the use of maps, in combination with other rich media, to inform and engage the public in support of important causes.

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Web Map, Intelligent Map, Story Map: What’s the Difference?

You may have noticed that Esri has been using several terms to describe maps that are enabled for the web and mobile via ArcGIS Online.

We’ve described web maps as one of the key features of ArcGIS Online. We’ve told you how you can create web maps that combine a base map, your own map services, previously published services, and point data derived from spreadsheets. They’re the suite of capabilities that enable maps to be internet-enabled, mashed up, shared, and published while retaining links to data sources. The core of a web map is a small set of instructions that pull together basemaps, services, and other items. They can be widely distributed by embedding them in websites or enabling them on tablets and smart phones.

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Multi-dimensional Mapping: The Civil War Story Map

Ongoing sesquicentennial observances have heightened interest in a topic that millions of Americans have always found spellbinding. The saga of the Civil War seemed an ideal opportunity to test some techniques for timelines, animations, and search functions tied to interactive maps.

The “Battlefields of the Civil War” map was the latest in an ongoing effort to show how intelligent maps can help users explore subjects over both space and time. We’re also seeking to give users different options for browsing, navigating, and discovering content—even within a single story map. Continue reading

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Linear vs. Non-Linear Storytelling: The Map Tour Template

We’ve been developing story maps for over a year now, and from the start we’ve defined the term liberally. Many, even most, of our stories are non-linear; that is, they allow the user to browse and wander through the story at will. We’ve organized these stories using elements such as headlines, text blocks, map legends, and user interfaces that help guide the user through the map. But there’s no “correct” sequence by which users are supposed to navigate through these story maps.

Traditionalists might insist that a story is by nature linear. Written or oral stories are in fact linear narratives. Even stories that jump back and forth in time are written and read in a linear fashion. The mediums of text and the spoken word require it: you can’t tell, read, or listen to a story all at once, or back to front, or at random. It’s at least theoretically possible, perhaps, but doing so makes comprehension difficult.

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