Story Maps

For centuries, maps have been telling stories—chronicling discovery and conquest, documenting an understanding of the patterns and interrelationships that underlie human and natural systems. But only in the past few years have new technologies and new media vastly expanded the potential of maps to weave narratives.

What Is a Story Map?

Story Maps are interactive web maps that combine text and other content to tell a story about the world. Producing these stories helps Esri discover and develop storytelling techniques, tools, and best practices. More importantly, the stories have spurred development of templates and other resources with the goal of enabling thousands of people—GIS professionals, web developers, graphics specialists, and others—to build and publish their own story maps.

Last September, the International Map Industry Association, with attendees involved in all aspects of the mapping industry, recognized Story Maps at their Americas Region annual conference. Story Maps received two map awards. The first award was the Gold Medal Award for Best Digital Map Product and the second was Best Overall Map Product. Esri Story Maps’ ability to easily serve maps and accurate demographic information covering a wide range of topics along with its well-crafted cartography were top reasons the application won the awards.

“Storytelling is rapidly becoming one of the most important reasons that organizations use web maps,” said Allen Carroll, program manager for ArcGIS Online content and team lead for Esri Story Maps. “The result is that GIS is emerging from the back office and becoming accessible—and useful—to everyone. The need for GIS to analyze, plan, manage, and support decisions remains vital, but organizations now perceive the need to tell the story of their analyses, plans, and decisions.”

Allen Carroll came to Esri in 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. The Story Map Team includes Lee Block, David Asbury and Stephen Sylvia.

We would like to invite our readers and bloggers to visit to explore a variety of important topics, download Story Map templates, workflows and best practices.

We look forward to seeing your story!

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