Creating Story Maps and Geographic Resumes

Story maps combine maps, timelines and multimedia such as images, videos and text in a "four dimensional" presentation. While story maps can be useful in many disciplines, they're really catching on among journalists.

Find Images

Note: if you're using someone else's images, make sure they're OK to reuse. You can use Google's advanced image search to search only for images that are free to reuse. 

  •  Run a regular Google Images search
  • Above your search results (at the top right of the screen), click on the gear icon, then Advanced search

Screen shot of Google Image results for Garden of the Gods, and location of advanced search option under the gear icon

screen shot of the advanced Google Images search screen with location of usage rights limit circled in red

If you find an image that you like and that is free to use or share, be sure to click on View image.  This will redirect you to where the image is stored.

Screen shot of the View Image button

There's no need to download the image. The image's URL can be used in your spreadsheet.

Size Your Images

For each point in your map tour, you will need two image files: one at full size, and a thumbnail. Images should be in JPEG format.

According to Esri's instructions, "For full-size images, landscape (lengthwise) orientation is recommended instead of portrait orientation. The recommended image size is 1,000 pixels wide by 750 pixels tall (a 4:3 aspect ratio)." 

"The thumbnail images should be in landscape orientation and ideally 200 pixels wide by 133 pixels tall (3:2 aspect ratio)."

You can resize your images using a graphics program such as Photoshop or Gimp. Gimp is free!

Make Your Images Accessible

Your images will need to be publicly accessible on the web. You can do this in various ways: 

  • upload them to the same directory where you're keeping the template
  • put them on Flickr, Instagram, Pinterest or another similar site

Then you'll need to copy the links to these images into a column in your spreadsheet.