Storytelling with Maps

Storytelling with Maps

For years, maps have been telling many different stories. Maps can summarize a situation, show change over time and reveal patterns. They can be used to compare and contrast places, make plans, predict outcomes and support decisions.

If you'd like to use ArcGIS beyond the free trial period, contact and request to join the ArcGIS for Media program. The program provides free ArcGIS access to qualified journalists.

Why tell your stories with maps?
  • Deliver unbiased reporting – Display trends, examine cause and effect, compare and contrast places, show patterns of movement and change over time using clear infographics.
  • Enhance reader engagement – Maps engage both sides of the brain: they invite readers to conduct inspection and analysis while also appealing to their intuitive and aesthetic impulses.
  • Increase efficiency – Maps are effective organizers of information. Convey context and facilitate a deeper understanding of your story by integrating popup text and visuals such as graphs, charts, photos, videos and audios into your story map.
Canada's Changing Political Landscape
Canada's Changing Political Landscape

A comparison of Canada’s federal election results since 2000

2018 Canadian Olympic Medalists
2018 Canadian Olympic Medalists

Canada had the most successful Winter Olympics ever in 2018, with 29 medalists.

Canadian Heroines
Canadian Heroines

A small selection of great Canadian women

Let us help you tell your story.

To help you tell your stories, we provide journalists with a flexible platform for creating content-rich maps. These maps can be private, shared among groups or completely open to the public.  

ArcGIS Online, Esri’s cloud-based service, provides easy-to-use tools and content for creating and publishing your story with maps. It allows you to combine background maps, thematic maps, tabular data, popups and other functionalities into intelligent web maps that can be shared and viewed on multiple devices. You can then place these web maps into storytelling apps or templates that provide key components including narrative elements and an intuitive user experience to complete your story map.

ArcGIS Online can also be used for spatial analysis to investigate data and find stories.

Creating a map is easy.

  • Select a map from our online library that will serve as a backdrop for your data.
  • Click a button to import your data.
  • Edit the symbology and titles on your map.

Story map templates

You could stop there, or you can then select from a range of ready-to-use templates that provide several different ways to effectively present your data and map to best tell your story. You simply supply the web map and text, and watch your story come to life.

Supercharged with functionality, maps can now integrate big data, video and social media, solicit crowdsourced information, and leveraged to answer a myriad of questions -- both complex and simple.

Story maps are interactive maps combined with text and other content that tell a story about the world. They use titles, text, legends, popups, charts, graphs and other visuals to bring the power of geography and spatial analysis to a large audience. Geographic information is presented in such a way that informs, educates, entertains and engages.

Explore Esri Story Maps

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    What kind of story can you tell?

    • Locate something
    • Provide directions
    • Describe a place
    • Summarize a status or situation
    • Compare two or more themes
    • Compare two or more places
    • Show change over time
    • Forecast the future

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