Reference a hosted image instead of having to upload

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07-26-2019 01:11 PM
JohnMDye
Regular Contributor

I was playing with the New ArcGIS StoryMaps and got bummed out on the first page. Maybe I'm doing it wrong, it is a whole new experience, but it seems there is no way to reference an image via its URI. Instead, I have to upload the image to be hosted on, I assume, ArcGIS Online which will cost credits. No bueno. I'm already paying AWS for an S3 bucket so I can use my images elsewhere. I don't wanna upload images. Is there a way for me to just reference my image's public URI?

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OwenGeo
Esri Notable Contributor

Hi John -- It's not very obvious at the moment (we're looking at ways to make this more discoverable), but if you use the Embed option (instead of Image) you can link to your S3-hosted images.

It's fine to use your own image hosting service and I realize you are already paying for S3, but just be aware that it's your responsibility to make sure the images don't disappear or the permissions don't change once your story is shared with others. If that happens, it's also no bueno when your story breaks and people start emailing you that something's not working. :\

The nice thing about uploading images in builder is that they are always with the story and the permissions are managed for you when you publish or unpublish your story or change the sharing settings. While image storage does cost credits, it's typically less than 10 cents per month for the image file storage needed for a typical story map (@1.2 credits per GB per month).

Owen Evans
Lead Product Engineer | StoryMaps

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OwenGeo
Esri Notable Contributor

Hi John -- It's not very obvious at the moment (we're looking at ways to make this more discoverable), but if you use the Embed option (instead of Image) you can link to your S3-hosted images.

It's fine to use your own image hosting service and I realize you are already paying for S3, but just be aware that it's your responsibility to make sure the images don't disappear or the permissions don't change once your story is shared with others. If that happens, it's also no bueno when your story breaks and people start emailing you that something's not working. :\

The nice thing about uploading images in builder is that they are always with the story and the permissions are managed for you when you publish or unpublish your story or change the sharing settings. While image storage does cost credits, it's typically less than 10 cents per month for the image file storage needed for a typical story map (@1.2 credits per GB per month).

Owen Evans
Lead Product Engineer | StoryMaps
JohnMDye
Regular Contributor

Thanks Owen! You make some very good points. I know there are some who might link to an image somewhere which they have no control over and one day, poof, its gone and they don't know until its too late. I might suggest an experience for images wherein Esri asks a simple question via a modal dialog when a user tries to upload an image. Something like:

I want to host and manage this image myself  |  I want ArcGIS StoryMaps to host & manage this image for me

The former would give you an input box to enter a URI. The latter would open a file select dialog and upload it to ArcGIS Online. Then, add a checkbox somewhere on the dialog to 'Remember my selection'. Left unchecked, they'll see that dialog every time they upload an image, allowing them to manage some images and let Esri manage others. Ifchecked, the user's choice is remembered and the appropriate experience is delivered based on that selection for the remainder of their session. All of these things could be managed with some simple cookies and the cookies could be invalidated whenever the user published their StoryMap or closed their tab. Just my two cents. Speaking of cents, just .10/month per (average) StoryMap is pretty good.

Anyway, there's doesn't appear to be an embed option on the cover page though. There's only two options: Add Image and Add Video. Both open a file select dialog. I don't see a way to use the Embed Widget there.

OwenGeo
Esri Notable Contributor

You are right, there's no way to use the Embed option on the cover, so you'll need to upload an image there. The cover image is also used for other things like the ArcGIS item thumbnail and it's also what's shown when the story is shared on social media, so the app needs access to the image file in ArcGIS to do all those things in an optimized way, so we likely won't enable images by reference on the cover in the future.

Thanks for your suggestion about the workflow for adding images in different ways. We'll look into this for a future release.

Owen Evans
Lead Product Engineer | StoryMaps
BenjaminMittler
Occasional Contributor III

Also just wanted to point out that the sidecar doesnt allow you to add a hosted image/video

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JohnMDye
Regular Contributor

Another way to provide an enhanced experience here without having make the user upload an image might be an integration with a stock image service, both paid and free. Unsplash and Pixabay are two very common ones, but even a Getty Images integration could be a neat little feature that would allow users to purchase a stock image for use in a Story Map and Esri could know that image will remain available.

That still might now work for cover images because I get your points there, but an image service integration would be pretty sweet.