Goldilocks and the 3 steps to a Story Map

A story is a way to entertain and/or convey a set of information by describing a linked series of events, usually with a progression of time. Many stories have several locations and some have even been published with maps before, as anyone with a copy of The Hobbit knows. ArcGIS has made it easy to present your stories in their geographical context using one of the Story Map templates.

Step 1: Decide what your story is.

The effectiveness of your Story Map will be down to how compelling your story is. You need a good map and some interesting content but if the narrative isn’t clear then the Story Map won’t be.

In a business context we are often telling stories without realising it, we call them things like presentation, report or briefing. A Story Map could be; an illustrated report on the change in customer distribution around key stores, a workflow plotted against a detailed as a training aid or a presentation of a predicted event sequence and its impact on some assets.

Whatever the story is remember that you are using a Story Map to make the relationship between the different locations and the events in the story clearer, like this one for the story of the longitude prize.

Step 2: Decide how to present it.

There are now lots of different templates available in ArcGIS and this recent article helps you through the process of choosing. There is also a structured guide to the different templates here.

If in doubt keep it simple and keep it concise.

Step 3: Create it.

There is lots of information on the Story Map site to help you through the process and the Six Steps to Publishing Your Story Map blog post gives a good overview. Don’t be daunted, a simple Story Map can be created in a 15 min walk home from work using a smartphone app.