Set express map extent on the fly when using a custom basemap?

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01-04-2022 03:34 PM
JessicaWeinberg
New Contributor III

My agency has a suite of custom basemaps that cover the whole globe. It would be great if they functioned in express maps just as any of the Esri-supplied baselayers, where you can specify the extent as you create the express map. Is this possible? Is there already a way to use our basemaps as such for StoryMapping purposes (they are already set as basemap options in our AGOL Web Mapping interface), without creating webmaps from them first, where the extent is limited by the webmap extent? Or do we need to create a new webmap every time we create a new express map in order to specify our desired extent (which would kind of defeat the purpose of an express map)? Or is using the express map interface to specify the extent on a custom web map a feature that could be added?

Thank you!

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OwenGeo
Esri Notable Contributor

Thanks for the additional info. I also noticed that issue when viewing the published story after my last post. Our next release is at the end of January, so we'll look into fixing this for that release, if possible.

Owen Evans
Lead Product Engineer | StoryMaps

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OwenGeo
Esri Notable Contributor

This issue was addressed in yesterday's update: Release notes—ArcGIS StoryMaps | Documentation

Please let us know if you are still seeing issues.

Owen Evans
Lead Product Engineer | StoryMaps

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OwenGeo
Esri Notable Contributor

@JessicaWeinberg - If I'm understanding you correctly, yes you can do that.

Anytime you add any type of map (web map, web scene, express map) to a story you have the opportunity to set the extent/viewpoint for the map. You are not limited to the extent at which the map or the basemap was saved.

While creating an express map, go to the options (gear) tab in the side panel, click the basemap to open the basemap picker, click Browse more maps, and select the web map with your organization's basemap. After changing the basemap (and before closing the map designer) navigate the map to whatever area you want to show and click Done. When the map is placed in the story, you'll see the area you specified.

Currently, you have to update the basemap for each express map you add to a story. However, we're looking at adding the ability to set the basemap as part of a theme so your basemap just comes in immediately for each new express map you create. (It looks like you've already voted for/commented on that idea. 🙂 )

Screen Shot 2022-01-04 at 9.15.47 PM.jpg

Owen Evans
Lead Product Engineer | StoryMaps
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JessicaWeinberg
New Contributor III

Hi @OwenGeo! Thanks for the quick reply. That's what I've been doing, so maybe there is a bug then. I'll go and chose a webmap with one of our basemaps, zoom in to Alaska, add a marker at Lake Clark, and click done, but what displays in the StoryMap is not the extent I set, i.e., Alaska, but the web map's default of the continental US. The pin is totally out of frame. This has been the case for quite awhile so I had assumed it was intentional. 

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OwenGeo
Esri Notable Contributor

@JessicaWeinberg -- I just double-checked a few things, and there is a bug that I now see that prevents the extent from saving in some cases.

If you try to update the extent of the express map immediately after changing the basemap, the extent will not saved. However, there's a workaround that you can use....

Create a new express map, change the basemap, and click Done to place the map in the story. Then click Edit (the pencil) to go back in to the map designer, update the extent, click Done, and then it should save this second time. 

Sorry for the confusion! We'll work on getting that bug fixed in an upcoming release and thanks for reporting this issue. (There's also a related issue where if you go back into the map designer a third time, you'll see the wrong extent that we'll also look into fixing.)

Owen Evans
Lead Product Engineer | StoryMaps
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JessicaWeinberg
New Contributor III

Thanks for looking into it @OwenGeo. That does seem to work...inside the builder. But then when you click Publish, the extent is gone again. It flashes correctly for a fraction of a second as the published StoryMap loads, and then switches to the web map default. When you go back into the builder, it does not come back.  Anyway, no worries about a workaround, I'm glad this is just a bug that can/will be fixed!

Possibly related: The points added to the express maps don't seem to display reliably the first time a published StoryMap is viewed, only after it is refreshed/re-loaded, and it's only an issue with express maps with custom basemaps. 

Sorry to bombard you; I'm preparing a StoryMaps training for next week for NPS users and just noticing all the things that might be tricky for them in particular...

OwenGeo
Esri Notable Contributor

Thanks for the additional info. I also noticed that issue when viewing the published story after my last post. Our next release is at the end of January, so we'll look into fixing this for that release, if possible.

Owen Evans
Lead Product Engineer | StoryMaps
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OwenGeo
Esri Notable Contributor

@JessicaWeinberg - We're still looking into fixing this in an upcoming release, but wanted to share some additional info. I believe if you use the drawing tools to add one or more features on an express map when using your own custom basemap, that will force the extent to be saved as expected. You may be able to use this as a workaround for now.

Owen Evans
Lead Product Engineer | StoryMaps
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JessicaWeinberg
New Contributor III

Hi @OwenGeo - thanks for the additional things to try! I tested out various drawing tools--freehand, arrows, etc., but still no luck with forcing the extent to save when using our agency basemaps. It still only works until the point of publication. 

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OwenGeo
Esri Notable Contributor

@JessicaWeinberg -- Sorry for the false alarm on that workaround. We are working on this, and it looks like we have a fix and it should get deployed later this month.

Owen Evans
Lead Product Engineer | StoryMaps
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OwenGeo
Esri Notable Contributor

This issue was addressed in yesterday's update: Release notes—ArcGIS StoryMaps | Documentation

Please let us know if you are still seeing issues.

Owen Evans
Lead Product Engineer | StoryMaps