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.

Creating your CSV File

Enter the information about the stops/points on your map tour in a CSV file (you can do this in Excel, then save it as a CSV file). Enter the information for each point in a separate row.  Below are the minimum fields you'll need to include: 

  • name
  • caption
  • geographic information:
    • either latitude and longitude (in decimal degree format - one column for each), or
    • Address (in a single field or in separate address, city, state, and ZIP code fields)
  • URL (link for the full-size image)
  • Thumb URL (link for the thumbnail image)

Note that the first row of data in your spreadsheet will appear as an introduction, rather than a map point, by default. If desired, you can change this setting (see step 6, part 3 of Esri's instructions).

A bit of extra formatting with HTML (optional)

Understanding a tiny bit of HTML will help you style the way your text will appear. For example, you'll need HTML to create line breaks and bold, underlined or italicized text.


To create a line break, insert the following tag where you want to create a new line:

I am making a story map.<br />This is cool.

This will appear on your map as:

I am making a story map.
This is cool. 


To make text bold, use the <strong> tag before the text you want to make bold, and the </strong> end tag at the end of the text. Example: 

I made this text <strong>bold.</strong>

This will appear as:

I made this text bold.


Italicizing text is similar. Example: 

I published an article in the <i>Journal of Anthropological Archaeology</i>.

This will appear as: 

I published an article in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology.


You can also create a link to a web page. Use the <a href= tag before the URL, put quotes around the URL, and close it with a bracket >. Then, type the text that you want linked, and close the entire sequence with an end </a> tag. (Note: you must include the http:// at the front of the URL.) Example: 

<a href="http://www.uark.edu/">University of Arkansas Home Page</a>

This will appear as: 

University of Arkansas Home Page


You can also change the color of your text. See the Esri instructions for more information.

You can learn more about HTML with the HTML Primer from W3Schools.

Example Spreadsheet (with HTML formatting)

Image of sample Excel spreadsheet that includes HTML formatting