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November 13th, 2019



Learning Geography Using Story Maps

       Wednesday of Geography Awareness Week is National GIS Day! In honor of the geographical systems that aid us in everyday life, today's lesson focuses on a very important tool in emerging geography: ArcGIS Story Maps.

       "A story can effect change, influence opinion, and create awareness—and maps are an integral part of storytelling. ArcGIS StoryMaps can give your narrative a stronger sense of place, illustrate spatial relationships, and add visual appeal and credibility to your ideas."

       As we increasingly do our learning on computers, viewing and interacting with maps takes on a new dimension in the digital sphere. With StoryMaps, students can combine maps with narrative text, images, and multimedia content to create compelling, user-friendly presentations. In this extended lesson from ESRI, students will author a special Story Map Tour.



Go to the ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World and show your students some examples of Story Maps (suggestions listed below). Discuss how this format works and what it does to communicate goegraphical information.

Example 1 Example 2  |  Example 3



​The following lesson on ArcGIS Story Maps was created by ESRI, and can be found on their official website along with other Story Map lessons and resources.

  • One of the most popular Story Maps apps is the Story Map Tour, which you'll use in this lesson. To make a Story Map Tour, you first need to assemble and organize the media (photos or videos) you want to use.

  • For photos, you can use images of any size and shape, but we recommend landscape orientation (i.e., images that are wider than they are tall). Map Tours generally look best if all the images have the same size and aspect ratio, so your users don't get distracted by differently shaped images as they go through your tour. The recommended image aspect ratio is 4:3.

  • You have several choices for image storage. You can use images stored in Flickr or Google+. Map Tour takes advantages of optimizations in how these services store your photos, so you can upload an image of any size and it will load quickly in your story. Map Tour also automatically reads in geotag information from the images to locate them on your map, and uses any title and caption text stored with the images. If your images don't have location information the Map Tour Builder will let you specify their map location interactively.

  • Geotagged photos can be used to quickly assemble a Story Map Tour like this one in ArcGIS Online.

  • In this lesson, you'll combine images and geographic information to create a map tour of your experiences. The following steps detail how to use geotag images to tell a story using the features available on ArcGIS Online. The lesson example uses a series of photographs taken along The Strand, a 3-mile strip of beach in Los Angeles County renowned for its culture and beauty. However, don't be afraid to create your own map tour on any subject you find interesting.

  • You're encouraged to use your own photos, but if you don't have access to geotagged images, you can use this image collection on Flickr to reproduce the steps. If you're not using your own photos, skip to Build your tour.

Father and Son Using GPS
Reading Map on Mobile
Hands on Computer Keyboard
Route Planning

Lesson continues below. Click for the full webpage.

This lesson was authored by ESRI for

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