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Getting Started with ArcGIS StoryMaps

Steps for Storytelling

Adapted from "Nine steps to great storytelling" by Allen Carroll

1. Start with a bang

Engage readers with an interesting title and captivating first image. For ArcGIS StoryMaps, users can add photographs, video, or even gifs to bring their "title page" to life.

2. Add a hero

Since your maps will be focused on a person's (or persons') journey, make sure to focus their life and experiences.

3. Give your story rhythm

Think about the different ways you can organize your story. Is there a way to create a pattern in the narrative? Is there a repeating element or theme?

4. Create a world

You are creating a world in your story. Not only does your narrative matter but so do the maps, the photographs, and even the color palette. If able, think about the colors you use and try to deploy them consistently throughout your story.

StoryMaps has something called a Design Tab, which will allow you to choose from 4 different options: Summit, Obsidian, Ridgeline, and Mesa. These alter the color palette of your story.

5. One size does not fit all

When designing your story, keep in mind that not everyone will be viewing it via a computer screen. Think about how your story will render not just on a computer, but also on a phone or tablet. This can be done via the "Preview" tab.

6. Think big, think small

Scale is incredibly important, especially when considering maps and images. Displaying a large, zoomed-out map will tell a different story than focusing on one small place. Consider playing with scale and having it mimic your narrative (i.e. starting with an overview and then zooming in, or starting local and then zooming out for a bigger picture).

7. Use active and passive maps

Maps and visualizations are the backbones of your stories. They support and provide visual evidence. However, not every map in your story needs to be interactive or complex. Consider combining active (interactive) and passive (static) maps.

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