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.

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Stephanie Pierce
Mullins Library
MULN 421


Creating a story map basically involves uploading a spreadsheet to a site that will plot it for you on a map (in this case ArcGIS Online), and choosing a specific template for your display.  If you know a bit of HTML, you can edit the way your text displays, but this isn't strictly necessary. 


Story maps are exactly that – maps that tell stories. While , in a sense, every map tells a story, story maps integrate images, maps, text and video to bring a story to life visually. Their visual presentation and interactivity allow users to learn about your topic in a new way.

NOAA Storymap on America's Coral Reefs
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. National Ocean Service. Mapping America's Coral Reefs. 

Story maps can can enhance your projects, and be used as educational tools across a wide range of topics including environmental studies, geography, geology and history. They can also be used to create a geographic resume of where you’ve worked, to tell the story of your career.

You can make story maps for free with a basic ArcGIS Online account, and choose from various templates. You’ll just need a place to host all the related files (Dropbox works just fine).

Check out some examples in the Story Map Gallery.

Get Started!

There are three main things that come together to create your story map: your spreadsheet, your images, and a web map created from your spreadsheet.

The first step is to gather your images.