ArcGIS StoryMaps Blog

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(32 Posts)
Esri Regular Contributor

This is a nice example of one of the many ways that you can use StoryMaps. From the Kentucky Geological Survey, it's their 2019-2020 Annual Report.

The post begins with a message by State Geologist Bill Haneberg saying:

"...we at KGS decided to change the look and delivery of our annual report. Printing and mailing a 50-ish-page full-color report cost us thousands of dollars each year and tied us to a static and timeworn format. We mailed hundreds of copies of our annual report to people on our mailing list each year but rarely knew if they were read or not. So we decided to do things differently.

This year, like so many other things in our lives, the KGS annual report is online in a format that allows links to supporting files, interactive graphics, and videos. Everyone on our annual report mailing list will receive a postcard with a scannable QR code that will bring up the annual report on desktop and mobile devices..."

A great idea that should be copied by others!

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Esri Regular Contributor

Apurva Shah‌ and Alison Sizer‌ writes... 

What is accessibility

Before we dive into what web accessibility means, let’s first understand whataccessibility in general means. Accessibility is the extent to which something is able to be accessed by everyone, regardless of their abilities or disabilities. Buildings, public transportation, web applications, or other things we use in our daily lives are accessible if everyone can use these things. For example, most public buildings have ramps or elevators in addition to stairs to provide access to wheelchairs, and many speeches by public figures have a sign language interpreter so people with hearing disabilities can access the spoken content. The end goal is to enable access to all possible things for people with disabilities, not only because it is required by law, but because it is right thing to do.

Continue reading at Building an accessible product | ArcGIS StoryMaps

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Esri Frequent Contributor

Embeds are a very flexible block that can be used to add all sorts of content from the web to a story. When you add an embed, the builder does several things behind the scenes to try to optimize the experience for you and your readers.

For many interactive embeds, readers see a “Click anywhere to interact” panel when they pass the mouse over the embed frame. After clicking once, the embed becomes active. This safeguard is there because some types of content can lead to a bad experience if interaction is immediately allowed.

If the embedded content is a mapping application (dashboard, configurable app template, etc), a scrolling web page (like a survey form), or other type of content where scrolling is active, leaving mouse interaction open can lead to a poor experience for readers. For example, have you ever been scrolling through a web page and had your mouse pass over a map? Suddenly you have zoomed the map way out and you've completely lost where the map should have been. That’s the type of thing we’re trying to prevent happening to unsuspecting readers by requiring a click on embeds.


There are, however, embeds that do not scroll where this extra click is not needed. This includes content such as interactive charts, simple dashboard widgets, or hosted media players (like SoundCloud). For these types of content, the extra click is unnecessary or undesirable.

To help address this, we’ve added an option for our power authors that can improve the interaction experience for readers. When you know your web content doesn’t scroll and there's no potential for unwanted interaction, you can add the embed using an iframe and include the following configuration parameter: remove-click-to-interact="true"


So, for example:

<iframe src="[your embed link]" remove-click-to-interact="true"></iframe>


Using this configuration parameter will make your embed immediately clickable when it's viewed on a large screen (on smaller screens / mobile devices you still have the choice to show an alternate image or a card in place of the live embed). When this config option is present, it will also remove the “Open in new tab” button from the top right of the frame. Check out the charts and dashboard widgets near the beginning of this story to see this parameter in action.

If you'd like to know more about using using embeds in your stories and get more tips for refining the experience, check out this article.

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Occasional Contributor II

The April 2020 ArcGIS StoryMap update introduced a helpful "Duplicate story" capability, however, it only supports a "partial clone" of a StoryMap. In other words, it duplicates the direct content of the StoryMap itself, but not any of the referenced content, such as Web Maps and Web Scenes embedded in the StoryMap, and the Feature Layers referenced by those.


I often find myself needing to create a "full" clone of a StoryMap, including any referenced content the user also created. The goal being for the person who created the StoryMap to keep a copy for themselves, under their control, while they also need to provide a copy of the StoryMap to someone else, who will then have control over the copy. Sometimes the copy also needs to be made to a different ArcGIS Online organization than where the original is hosted.


While I am hopeful that Esri will directly address this need soon, in the meantime, below is a link to a Notebook created to handle cloning ArcGIS StoryMaps (not the Classic Story Map Apps). It relies on the powerful clone_items() method in the ArcGIS API for Python.


Thumbnails of cloned ArcGIS StoryMaps.


By "full" clone, I mean copying or replicating not only the StoryMap itself, but also cloning any referenced content in the StoryMap that is owned by the same user as owns the StoryMap. Cloning referenced content is supported in the Notebook for the common content types (images, express maps, web maps, web scenes, feature layers, etc.) In the case of unsupported content types, the reference to the original item is carried through to the cloned StoryMap. Similarly for referenced content that is not owned by the same user as the StoryMap, the reference to the original item will be maintained in the clone.


In Education, the need for a cloned StoryMap often comes up in the context of class assignments. The instructor needs a copy-of-record for grading purposes, which the student can not edit after the assignment is due. (You can also automate all of this with your LMS, so that clones are made automatically when assignments are submitted or due.) Meanwhile, the student wants to keep a copy of their work to perhaps continue to improve upon it, and to show off their GIS skills to prospective employers or graduate schools.


Another common use case in Education is collaborative work. A student might work with a faculty member to create a StoryMap to help with disseminating the faculty member's research, or a student might create a StoryMap for a client as part of a service learning experience. In those cases the student again often would like to maintain control over a copy of their work to show off their skills, while the faculty member or client needs to have a copy of the final product over which they have control going forward. And, in the case of service learning, the student may create the StoryMap on their institution's ArcGIS Online organization, and the clone needs to live on the client's ArcGIS Online organization.


The Notebook shared below handles cloning of StoryMaps both within and between ArcGIS Online organizations, assuming you have the appropriate privileges. It can also handle copying StoryMaps from public ArcGIS Online accounts to organizational ones, for when a student accidentally creates work there, without realizing they have an account through their institution. 


It also handles cloning most of the common types of ArcGIS Online content that can be incorporated into ArcGIS StoryMaps, such as Web Maps and Web Scenes, and their underlying Feature Layers. Please keep in mind, however, that it does not handle all possibilities. So keep your eye out for warnings and errors in the Notebook's output cells, which are there to help guide you in determining if it is safe to proceed, and if you will likely end up with the "full" clone of a StoryMap you were expecting.


Also, there is no documentation for the ArcGIS StoryMap format, so Notebook depends on some reverse-engineering. Future updates to ArcGIS StoryMaps may not be compatible with assumptions about the format made this Notebook, thereby breaking the Notebook. Esri, however, nicely provides a format version to track in the typeKeywords, so the Notebook will potentially detect version-related issues, and provide you with a warning.


If you've read this far, here's the Notebook: Clone ArcGIS StoryMap.


I hope you find it useful...

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Esri Regular Contributor

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.

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Esri Regular Contributor

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  

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Esri Regular Contributor

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) 

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Esri Regular Contributor

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.

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Esri Regular Contributor

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 

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Esri Regular Contributor

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? 

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