November 18th, 2020

"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. Use our simple map maker to create custom maps to enhance your digital storytelling."

Get your students Story Mapping with the lessons below:

Lessons written by the Florida Geographic Alliance.

What is a Story Map?


It's the halfway point of #FLGeoWeek - you know what that means! Today is GIS Day 2020. In honor of maps and mapping technology, today we explore history through ArcGIS Story Maps.


This summer the Florida Geographic Alliance partnered with celebrated Tallahassee historian and author Ann Roberts to create the series, "A View From...". This project follows local people and families who have donated their stories to broaden our knowledge of history.


Anyone can participate in A View From - all you have to do is pick a place! A View From the Classroom, the Treetops, or even A View From the Laptop Screen; what are the places in your local area where people gather, and what stories do they have to share?

This first installment, A View From the Barber's Chair, follows the story of the traditionally African American historical district Frenchtown:

"Located in Tallahassee, Florida, Frenchtown was established in 1865 as a separate place of residence for the newly freed slaves[...] There were churches but no cathedrals; dance halls but no cabarets; shot-gun houses but no la maisons; moonshine but no Amaretto. Frenchtown had its own aura!


Frenchtown life passed the barber’s shop day in day out; year in and year out and the view was always the greatest from the barber’s chair." - Ann Roberts

Check out A View From the Barber's Chair in the Story Map below:

Use this project as a launching point for your own oral history collections. Download ESRI's Geohistorical Inquiry lesson to get your class thinking about how time and place connect throughout history.


Next have students choose a perspective to explore. It's useful to think about your local community, and which places appear in the students' memories as keystone figures of your town. Then have them use their newly acquired interviewing skills (see the Monday lesson) to gather oral histories around that place. Form a classroom 'historical archive' of community stories.


What brand new historical knowledge can your students uncover? 

Other work by author Ann Roberts:



Story Maps are useful tools for presenting oral histories. In a Story Map, one can gather together interactive maps, photos, audio and text to tell a truly spectacular story and share it with peers. 

On the projector pull up the Story Map "Freedom: The African American Struggle for Rights & Justice in Words and Images".


Walk through this Story Map and discuss the importance of personal accounts throughout history. Then discuss the format - how does seeing the faces and voices of storytellers make a difference? What about this format is working, and why?

Previously on #FLGeoWeek: