Add Map Series and Tabbed Themes to New StoryMaps

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12-11-2020 11:30 AM
Status: Needs Clarification
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GISTeam8
New Contributor II

Add map series and tabbed layouts to the new StoryMaps similar to what StoryMaps Classic has, such that it allows you to create multiple immersive maps (e.g. Guided tour), regular maps, or web apps (e.g. Web AppBuilder apps) to be displayed in separate tabs within a single Story.

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16 Comments
OwenGeo

Hi @GISTeam8 -- Have you tried using Collections? It has tabbed and bulleted layouts for creating a set of content items like stories and apps. Here are some resources to help you get started:

If collections don't meet your needs, could you please provide some detail on the things you'd like to do that collections do not allow for so we can consider your ideas for future enhancements?

OwenGeo
Status changed to: Needs Clarification
 
GarethBaker1

We've used the classic Story Map Series templates quite a bit, both for public facing apps on AGOL and internal apps on Enterprise. The main benefit of the Series template as I see it is the ability to synchronise the location between maps and have different data layers visible - essentially guiding the user through the data you want them to see, as opposed to them having to go into some form of layer list and turn different layers on and off.

Some examples of this are here:

Environmental Investigations (arcgis.com)

Bristol Avon Catchment Explorer (arcgis.com)

I don't think this functionality is there within the Collections product, but would be very happy to learn otherwise!

ChelseaRozek

I echo what the others are saying here. Map Series is great and I don't see a comparable in the new Story Maps. It's simple to make and simple to use.

I tried to make a Collection today to see if it would work for us. I can only add new Story Maps, apps, or files. This makes it hard to recreate one of our main uses of Map Series, election results: Washtenaw County Official Election Results: November 3rd, 2020 (ewashtenaw.org)) Everything needs to be app-ified to be put in a Collection. That's a lot of app items that have to be created to be able to display one web map with different combinations of layers turned on and off.

Map Series also allows you to embed a web page. I don't see a way to do this in Collections without having to create another app item just to house it.

I could try rigging up something in Experience Builder, but that's not easy to make or maintain. Others in my organization could quickly pick up the Map Series Builder. They don't have the time or interest to delve into Experience Builder.

OwenGeo

@GarethBaker1 / @ChelseaRozek -- Thanks for providing some additional information and examples. This is very helpful!

Here's some more information to consider and some replies to your comments/questions...

Map Series also allows you to embed a web page. I don't see a way to do this in Collections without having to create another app item just to house it.

We are planning to add the ability to add any web page to a collection via URL. This should be available in the next 2-3 months.

Everything needs to be app-ified to be put in a Collection. That's a lot of app items that have to be created to be able to display one web map with different combinations of layers turned on and off.

We're considering adding the ability to easily add a web map directly to a collection. Until then, there's a trick you can use (once we add the ability to add an item by URL) that eliminates the extra step to app-ify everything. You can just take the URL for most configurable apps and generate an app on-the-fly using the webmap ID. Here's an example using the Minimalist app.

https://www.arcgis.com/apps/Minimalist/index.html?webmap=88de138ce61b4dc8821960f19dca7bae

I could try rigging up something in Experience Builder, but that's not easy to make or maintain. Others in my organization could quickly pick up the Map Series Builder. They don't have the time or interest to delve into Experience Builder.

We understand the simplicity of the classic Map Series template is attractive. One of our challenges with remaking Map Series is that it was used in many different ways for many different things. We always got lots of enhancement requests for Map Series. The requests often conflicted...and if we added them all the app would no longer be simple. As we move forward, our strategy is to try to separate out the main use cases so we can look to optimize each one separately.

The three main use cases are:

  1. Grouping together a set of stories. This was used for chapters in a longer story, stories on the same topic, stories by the same author, a set of tutorials, etc. Example How Many North Poles Does Earth Have?
  2. Directed, map-based storytelling (or "guiding the user through the data you want them to see" as you perfectly put it). Example Katrina +10: A Decade of Change in New Orleans and Canada's Federal Elections (2000 to 2019)
  3. Creating a "binder" of resources (stories, apps, PDFs, websites, etc.) for a project or event. This was especially popular in the public safety and disaster response communities. Example Hurricane Maria Resource Catalog - Ready-To-Use Apps

Collections was created mainly for the use case #1, creating a set of stories. As a bonus, you can also add other things like ArcGIS apps (and soon any web page via URL, as mentioned above) since it's often useful to add other content as supporting materials.

For #2, we believe you can do this really well today in lots of different types of stories using map choreography, map actions, or a combination of those two techniques. Read more about these at the links below:

For the specific version of #2 where you want "tabs" at the top that move the reader through your story via clicking rather than scrolling, try this out and see if it works for you:

  1. Create a new story and add a sidecar (either layout will work)
  2. Add slides as needed and configure the same map with different visible layers and/or extents in the media panel of each slide (this is map choreography)
  3. Add a heading to the top of the narrative panel of each slide. Then add any other text/media you need for that slide below the heading.
  4. Turn on Navigation (in the Design panel)

You'll now have tabs/links across the top of the screen that point to each slide's heading in the story. You can also add map actions to the narrative panel as needed to provide easy access to specific extents or other combinations of visible layers for the readers.

Use case #3 doesn't fall under the "storytelling" focus of our team, so we've worked with others at Esri to help provide an alternative solution since we don't plan to directly support this use case in ArcGIS StoryMaps. There is a new Instant App called Portfolio that may meet your needs in terms of providing others in your organization an easy-to-use way to create a set of ArcGIS items (maps, apps, etc.). You can read more about that app here: What’s new in ArcGIS Instant Apps (June 2021): Introducing Portfolio.

I hope the above information helps provide some context around how we're thinking about offering equivalent Map Series capabilities now and in the future. This is an area of active discussion for our team, so we're interested in hearing more of the community's thoughts on this so we can continue to evaluate or strategy and product offerings moving forward based on the needs of the community. Please let us know if you have any reactions/thoughts about the comments above.

GarethBaker1

Thanks for the very comprehensive response @OwenGeo

I'm going to give your suggestion for use case 2 a go and will try recreating some of our existing content in the new StoryMaps app. Will report back for the benefit of anyone else who is aiming to achieve the same once I've tried. 

ChelseaRozek

Thanks for the ideas and links @OwenGeo. I tried recreating our August election results today. Going with map actions is the best option for me and worked out well.

- I saw your comment elsewhere about URL parameters to hide the cover and header. I'm very happy to see this option. (FYI anyone else, add ?header=false&cover=false)

- I'll echo what some others were saying about looking forward to improved text editing in the sidecar. For me, namely allowing multiple paragraphs to be in one text element instead of making a new one with that large space between them.

- Someone else mentioned allowing the legend to be open by default. This would be nice.

- I added our logo to the sidecar, but I didn't see an option to resize it. Would be nice.

- I realize I'm trying to turn a scrolling-centric app into a one page app like Map Series, but would be great if the sidecar could set vertical alignment on the elements. The text and 5+ map action buttons are hidden on initial load.

storymaptest.PNG

OwenGeo

@ChelseaRozek -- This isn't the main idea on this thread, but it was mentioned above.

 Someone else mentioned allowing the legend to be open by default. This would be nice.

There is now an option to keep the legend open. Please see this article for more information:

What’s new in ArcGIS StoryMaps (September 2021) (esri.com)

DerekPhyn

@OwenGeo interesting to follow this thread. I'm in a similar situation with this very map-centric classic story maps map series Waikato Regional Hazards Portal (arcgis.com) that I need to update to the new ArcGIS StoryMaps so it looks and works as close as possible to the original.

Your tips above may prove helpful but one key feature I need from classic story maps and am not sure is available in ArcGIS StoryMaps is the "Synchronize map locations" function.

DerekPhyn_0-1633406830626.png

Is such a function available in an ArcGIS StoryMap with a tabbed series navigation design? Any guidance or tips appreciated.

Cheers

Derek

OwenGeo

@DerekPhyn Thanks for your comment about syncing map extents! That is a capability that we haven't yet added to ArcGIS StoryMaps because we've been taking time to listen to feedback about what the customer needs are in this area. We have discussed it and even have some preliminary designs for this capability. We're likely to work on adding a similar capability in the first half of 2022.

Do you have any specific feedback about how you'd like the feature to work? Was the classic version of the feature exactly what you needed, or are there any improvements or changes you'd make?