The 15 Minute Story Map

Can you build an Esri Story Map in 15 minutes?  Yes!  The map I created in that amount of time shows my walk from the San Diego Convention Center to the San Diego airport.  I was in that wonderful city for the Esri Education GIS Conference and the Esri International User Conference.  Walk?  Yes, the San Diego airport is one of the few airports that you can actually walk to, and doable in just under an hour (I must admit I got a bit sweaty while wearing my map tie and dragging my luggage).  I wanted to use that walking time to reflect upon all that I had learned at the conferences, enjoy the harbor views one last time before departing, and use it as a test case for creating a Story Map.

Walking to the San Diego Airport: Storymap

Walking to the San Diego Airport: Story Map.

First, I turned on my smartphone and fired up RunKeeper, a fitness app.  I took a few photos of the convention center and harbor along the way with that same phone.  I emailed those photos to my Google Plus/Picasaweb account’s public dropbox.  Once at the airport gate, I saved my route as a GPX file, uploaded it to ArcGIS Online, and published my map as a Story Map web application.  I pointed to the location of my photographs, added some captions, and I was done.

Since returning to the office, I have resisted the temptation to edit my map to make it look just a little bit nicer, because that would defeat my purpose.  My purpose was to illustrate that (1) Esri Story Maps can be created to tell just about any conceivable type of story, and that (2) they can be quickly generated, even at a crowded airport gate!  What story of your own can you make a map of using these techniques?

Joseph Kerski

About Joseph Kerski

Joseph Kerski is a geographer who believes that spatial analysis through digital mapping can transform education and society through better decision-making using the geographic perspective. He serves on the Esri education team and is active in GIS communication and outreach, creates GIS-based curriculum, conducts research in the effectiveness of GIS in education, teaches online and face-to-face courses on spatial thinking and analysis, and fosters partnerships to support GIS in formal and informal education at all levels, internationally. He is the co-author of Spatial Mathematics, The Essentials of the Environment, The GIS Guide to Public Domain Data, and other books. Follow him on Twitter @josephkerski
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