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ArcGIS StoryMaps

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We’ve just released a variety of new features and improvements to the StoryMaps builder.

 

Several of these are things you, our community members, have been asking and patiently waiting for, like:

  • The ability to duplicate a story
  • Story navigation links (think bookmarks in the classic Cascade template)
  • A floating panel layout for sidecar (think Cascade’s immersive experience)
  • Adding video to guided tour

 

We’ve also added some new themes, styling options for express map annotations, a broader selection of Living Atlas content, and more.

 

Get an overview of all of the newly added features in this blog post.

 

Finally, in this release we also resolved a number of bugs that you’ve helped us identify:

  • Map actions are now reversible on small screens
  • Map actions work as expected in duplicated slides
  • Pasting text into map action buttons and headings works as expected
  • The process for using enterprise logins to access private stories has been improved
  • Rich embeds now display live in sidecar narrative panel, where appropriate
  • A situation where autoplay speed would increase after interacting with the story has been addressed
  • Merging and splitting block quotes now behaves as expected
  • Some issues where text or media blocks were not inserted in the correct place have been addressed

 

Thank you for helping improve the product by sharing your bug reports and feedback with us!

 

Read Owen Evans What’s new blog post to learn more about all the updates made in our April 2020 release.

Shana Crosson writes... 

 

"We’ve all become accustomed to having curb cuts in sidewalks. We use them for baby strollers, bikes and generally as a path of least resistance. Curb cuts were designed to make it easier for people who use wheelchairs to get around. Yet, everyone benefits from them.

 

Making websites accessible is the same!"

 

Read more at: Writing accessible story map content  

Cooper Thomas writes...

 

"Like many forms of storytelling, story maps are, in most cases, linear reading experiences. They have a clear narrative structure, rather than an open-ended, choose your own adventure-style selection of paths. But just because story maps are linear doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t include short detours—especially if those detours add value to interested readers.

 

The January release to ArcGIS StoryMaps introduced a powerful new feature, map actions, which allow you to enrich your stories with optional map interactions."

 

Read more at: Supercharge your stories with map actions (beta) 

Hannah Wilber writes... 

 

"First we brought you to sidecar, then we added slideshow into the mix; now my colleagues and I would like to introduce you to the newest immersive block in ArcGIS StoryMaps: guided tour.

Currently in beta, guided tour’s design draws heavily from the original Story Map Tour template, with a few new enhancements that take this reading experience above and beyond its classic predecessor."

 

Read more at: Now available in ArcGIS StoryMaps: guided tour (beta) 

 

Follow our story to get a hands-on tutorial of building your first guided tour in ArcGIS StoryMaps.

Michelle Bush writes... 

 

" Esri has just launched a new user type, Storyteller, which provides access to ArcGIS StoryMaps for just $100 per year. With this new option, you can empower all the storytellers in your organization with the ability to create beautiful, inspiring, digital narratives using your ArcGIS web maps and app content. Here’s what you need to know:"

 

Read more at: 4 things to know about Esri’s new Storyteller user type 

Mark Harrower writes... "Where stories happen matters. We take the “maps” part of “StoryMaps” very seriously. Geography isn’t merely a passive stage upon which things happen. It shapes our stories. It often explains those stories. Place matters and without it your readers may be missing the whole story. So, even if you’ve never had any cartographic or GIS training, we want you to be able to include maps in your stories—that’s why we created express maps within the ArcGIS StoryMaps builder. "

 

Read more at: What is an express map and why should you use one? 

Owen Evans writes...

 

It’s time for another update to ArcGIS StoryMapsHere’s a rundown of new features added this week:

  • Guided tour
  • Map actions
  • Format text with color
  • Fit and fill options for video
  • Narrative panel style options in slideshow
  • Conclude your story with a credits section
  • Publish a story privately or share it to a group
  • …and much more!

 

Read more at: What’s new in ArcGIS StoryMaps (January 2020) 

Toggle your map legend on or off

 

Some maps display a variety of data, so your readers will need a legend to make sense of what’s what. Other maps, meanwhile, are nice and straightforward, and it can be nice to hide the map legend in these instances to reduce visual clutter.

 

Turning a legend on our off is the same whether you’re configuring a web map, 3D scene, or an express map. Start by opening the map designer and navigating to the Settings tab of the side panel. There, you’ll see a switch to show or hide the legend; simply toggle it on or off depending on your map needs. Your map will update instantly to reflect this change.

 

Add your logo to the header of your story

 

Branding can be an important element of a polished story map, and nothing more clearly shows off your brand than a logo. If you want, you can have your logo appear in the header of your story, right next to the title, so it’s always visible as readers scroll through your narrative.

 

To do this, enter the builder for your story and click Design in the header. At the bottom of the design panel you’ll find the option to upload a logo; click the + and select your desired image. Once it’s uploaded, you’ll see it appear in the top corner of your story. You’ll also see additional fields appear at the bottom of the design panel—use these to add alternative text for your logo and to link it to a website of your choosing.

 

 

Link to a specific item in a collection

 

Collections are useful for bundling together related stories and other ArcGIS apps. You can share links with your audience that send them to the collection overview (where they’ll see a gallery of cards for each item available to them) or to the presentation view (where they’ll see items one-by-one as full-page interactives). The general presentation view link will always open to the first item in the collection. If, however, you’d like to point readers to a specific item, you can also generate a link that will open the presentation view on that app or story.

 

There are two ways you can generate this link. The first is by navigating to the collection overview, clicking on the card of the item to which you want to direct your readers, and simply copying the URL from your browser once the presentation view loads.

 

You’ll notice that this link includes /present, indicating that you’re pointing to the presentation view of a collection. It also includes ?item=n, where n is the number of the item in that collection. So, if you want a bit of a shortcut for linking to a specific collection item—let’s say the fourth item, for example—simply grab the collection link and add /present?item=4 to the end of the URL (or whatever number applies to your desired item).

 

If you’re not sure of the item’s number in the collection, simply open the presentation view, navigate to your item of choice, and you’ll see the specific item number in the header alongside the total number of items in the collection.

 

Add alternative text to media

 

 

Making your content accessible is an important part of authoring inclusive stories. That’s why we’ve designed StoryMaps to meet common accessibility standards. We’ve also included features to help authors cater to individuals using assistive technology like screen readers. Alternative text is one of these features—you should use it to describe any functional media in your story so that those with visual impairments can still follow along.

 

Adding alternative text to any piece of media is simple. Just open the Properties panel for that piece of content (you may need to hover over it to reveal the media toolbar) and the field to enter your description is front and center. Click Save when you’re done and you’re good to go.

 

Reorder numbered points in an express map

Say you have an express map with five numbered points representing places you visited on your latest vacation.

You added the points for each place in the order in which you visited them, but now you’ve changed your mind and want the numbers to serve as a ranking for enjoyment at each destination. Don’t panic, there’s no need to delete your points and start over. In the Map layers tab of the map designer’s side panel you’ll see your points listed with point one at the top and point five at the bottom. To reorder your list, click and drag the point name for each place, dropping them into your preferred sequence. The numbers for each point on your map will update as you make changes in the side panel, and all that pop-up information you already added for each point is preserved just as you had it.

 

Change an express map's basemap

 

The style of express maps is automatically synced with your story’s theme, so you can always be confident that they’ll harmonize with the rest of your content. But did you know you can choose from a few different basemaps when creating one of these simple maps? Each theme comes with two vector basemaps that fit your theme’s aesthetic, plus the satellite imagery basemap for instances where your readers need a literal bird’s eye view.

 

To change your map’s basemap, open the map designer and navigate to the Settings tab on the side panel. There you’ll find your three basemap options—just pick whichever one best suits your needs and click Place map to save your changes.

 

Hide a story’s published date

 

While the StoryMaps builder will automatically update the date in your story’s cover every time you publish, you have the ability to hide this information if you’d prefer. This can be useful if you’ve made an evergreen resource that will stay relevant no matter how many weeks, months, or years have passed since you created it.

 

To remove the published date from your cover, open the story builder and expand the More actions menu in the story header. From there, select Story settings and simply check the box to hide the date on the cover. Click Save and poof, the date will vanish, but you can add it back any time.

 

Add media to a minimal cover

 

The minimal cover is a great option for how-to articles, thought pieces, or press-release-style updates. For these kinds of stories, the subject is what will hook your readers most, so a big, dramatic cover image can be overkill. But, if you want to keep the emphasis on your title and still add a little visual flair, you do have that option.

 

1. In your story, open the design panel, select Minimal from the list of cover options, and close the design panel.

2. Above your title, in the upper right corner of your story, you’ll see + Add cover media.

3. Click it to upload a photo or video.

4. Your media will display in a panoramic aspect ratio; for images, you can open the Properties menu and move the focal point to the area of the image you want to be visible across screen sizes.