Esri’s Allen Carroll Talks about the Esri Storytelling with Maps Contest–What it has to do with Esri UC and You
Allen Carroll knows a thing or two about maps. He used to be the Chief Cartographer at National Geographic Maps and now heads up the Story Map team at the Esri R&D Center in Washington, D.C. Allen’s work with story maps has helped bring GIS to a broader audience of educators, conservation organizations, journalists, businesses, and government.
Q: What exciting new things can we expect from the story map team at User Conference 2014?
A: We have a new story map template coming out called map journal. People will be able to integrate text, photos, videos, and maps in a rich environment. It was featured in James Fallows’ “American Futures” article from The Atlantic magazine. There will be a beautiful builder tool for creating different layout formats. One format will feature a main media panel with a transparent vertical scrolling panel floating on top. As the user scrolls through the text, the main media panel displays maps, photos and videos. All of these new features will make more dynamic story maps that are easy to customize.
Q: I heard there’s a story map contest. Can you tell me more about that?
A: It’s called Esri Storytelling with Maps and there’s a link on the Esri homepage where you can enter now. Each contestant can submit up to three story maps for consideration. We will announce the winners at Esri UC. The top prize is a one year subscription to ArcGIS Online.
Q: What goes into the development of a new story map app?
A: We create new story map templates by working with agencies like the Smithsonian Institution or the Wildlife Conservation Society on prototype story maps. We want to show that GIS can be useful and fun for everyone–for example, we have collaborated on story maps of endangered languages and holiday music and elephant poaching. All these story maps integrate maps with text and video. When we find a prototype app people like, we publish the source code on Github and make the app available on ArcGIS Online with builder functions. We have made configuration as easy as possible. We also design our apps to be responsive so they work just as well on smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers.
Q: One last thing, what do you like best about working at the Esri R&D Center?
A: I get to ride my bike to work.