Add maps

Maps are a critical component of a good story map. Maps provide geographic context for the story and broaden the reader's perspective by allowing them to interact directly with mapped data in the story.

Insert a map

In the story builder, you can add maps in the body of a story and in the narrative panel of a sidecar. From the Map content block, you can add web maps, web scenes, or express maps.

Use the following steps to add a map:

  1. Click the open button Open block palette to open the block palette.
  2. Select Map.

The map browser opens, and you have the option to create an express map or add an existing web map or web scene.

Create an express map

Express maps are simple, lightweight maps that you create directly in the story builder. Use them to bring geographic context to your story by quickly creating reference, locator, pushpin, or other types of maps. With express maps, you can draw features such as points, lines, and areas on a map and add pop-ups and annotations to complement the features. The express map drawing toolbar contains the following tools:

  • Actions
    • Select—The select action is active by default. Click a drawn feature or annotation to select it. You can modify the position, points, pop-up, and styling of a selected feature or annotation.
    • Group Select—Draw a bounding box with group select to select multiple drawn features and annotations at the same time.
    • Undo—The undo button only works in the current editing session. After the map has been placed in the story, you cannot undo actions from that session.
    • Redo—The redo button only works in the current editing session. After the map has been placed in the story, you cannot redo any actions from that session.
  • Points
    • Points—Press the Shift key to add multiple points at once.
    • Numbered Points—Press the Shift key to add multiple numbered points at once.
  • Lines
    • Lines—Click to draw line segments and double-click to complete the line. After a line has been drawn, you can modify it by pressing Ctrl to bend the midpoint of a line.
    • Freehand Lines—Click and hold to start drawing a line with the pointer. Release to stop drawing.
  • Areas
    • Areas—Click to draw the boundary of the area and double-click to close the area. After an area has been drawn, you can modify the position of the area or points in the boundary by selecting and dragging them.
    • Freehand Areas—Click and hold to start drawing an area with the pointer. Release to stop drawing.
    • Circles—Click once to draw a circle, or click and drag to draw an oval. Release to stop drawing. After a circle or oval has been drawn, you can modify its position or its points by selecting and dragging them.
    • Squares—Click once to draw a square, or click and drag to draw a rectangle. Release to stop drawing. After a square or rectangle has been drawn, you can modify its position or its points by selecting and dragging them.
  • Annotations
    • Annotations—Drag the handle to draw a leader line that can snap to drawing features.
  • Arrows
    • Arrows—Click the start and endpoints for the arrow line. After an arrow has been drawn, you can bend the line by dragging its midpoint.
    • Two-headed arrows—Click the start and endpoints for the two-headed arrow line. After a two-headed arrow has been drawn, you can bend the line by dragging its midpoint.

Note:

Express maps are specific to the stories in which they are created. They are not added as separate items to your ArcGIS content, they cannot be shared between stories, and they cannot be exported or edited outside of the story builder.

Note:

In ArcGIS Enterprise, express maps use basemaps from ArcGIS Living Atlas. If access to ArcGIS Living Atlas content has been disabled in your ArcGIS Enterprise environment, express maps will be disabled in the story builder, and the basemaps in existing stories using express maps will not display. For more information, see Configure Living Atlas content.

Use the following steps to create an express map:

  1. From the map browser, click Create an express map or click Start an express map to open the map designer.
  2. Add features to the map by selecting drawing tools from the express map drawing toolbar.

    As you draw features on the map, they are also added to the map layers side panel. In the map layers side panel, drawn features of the same type are grouped into a single layer and information can be added to pop-ups for each feature.

    You can delete map layers and features from the map layers side panel or by selecting the feature and dragging it to the recycle bin.

  3. Optionally, add information to pop-ups. In the map layers side panel, the following information can be added to feature pop-ups:
  4. Optionally, change the color and style of the drawn features and annotations.
    1. Assign a new layer color to a group of points, lines, or areas. In the map layers side panel, click the layer color dot next to the name of the feature group and select one of the accent colors. In addition to the three recommended accent colors, you can select a custom accent color if one has been set in the design panel or add a hexadecimal code to the Custom color field.
    2. Change the color or line stroke for text annotations and arrows. Select the annotation or arrow to open the Annotation style options, and click the color and line stroke for that feature.
  5. Optionally, configure the map controls and basemap in the Settings side panel.
    • Allow map navigation—This option allows readers to pan and zoom the map. You can disable this option to prevent readers from navigating the map; however, pop-ups and hover interactions remain active.
    • Search—The search option provides readers with a search box where they can find geographic regions and points of interest and navigate the map to those places. The map search uses the ArcGIS World Geocoding Service to find addresses and places around the world. Map search can be enabled for web maps, web scenes, and express maps.
      Note:

      Locators that are configured in your organization's settings are also available for your readers to search. Additionally, if the web map has feature search configured, that is also available to readers through the map search.

    • Current location—The current location option provides readers with a button that shows their location on the map. This can be enabled on web maps, web scenes, and express maps, and in guided tours.
      Note:

      If a story is embedded in an unsecured (HTTP) web page, the current location tool is blocked by the browser for security reasons. This feature only works on secure (HTTPS) pages.

    • Legend—The legend option provides readers with a legend that includes all of the named features on the map.
    • Basemap—The basemap option can be used to change the basemap. The basemaps in the Recommended section are based on your selected theme and change as you apply different story themes. If you choose a basemap from the All basemaps section, the basemap persists even if the story theme is changed.
      Note:

      Express maps are integrated with the story builder’s one-click themes. Changing the story theme automatically updates the express basemap and symbol color. You can also customize the color of the drawing features by choosing an accent color from the design panel. For more information, see Set a theme.

    • Group nearby points—This option combines overlapping points to improve map legibility, especially on smaller screens. When a reader clicks or taps a group symbol, the map zooms in to reveal all the individual points.
  6. Click Place map.

The express map is added to the story. To return to the map designer to make updates and revisions, click the Edit button on the map.

Note:

You can change the size and placement of express maps in the story using the map toolbar, which appears when you hover over a map. You can display the map in a small, medium, or large frame. The float option offsets the map to the side and allows text to wrap around it.

Add web maps and web scenes

From the map browser, you can add web maps and web scenes directly to your story. These maps and scenes are organized on the following four tabs:

  • My Maps—The maps and scenes from your ArcGIS account that can be added to a story map.
  • My Favorites—The maps and scenes from ArcGIS that you have added to your favorites list.
    Note:

    You can save a map to your favorites list in ArcGIS and use the My Favorites tab to add that map to your story.

  • Shared with Me—The maps and scenes that have been shared in your organization. This tab is only available to accounts connected to an ArcGIS organization.
    Note:

    Your maps and scenes are filtered out from the rest of the content on this tab.

  • Living Atlas—A curated selection of ArcGIS Living Atlas content.

Use the following steps to add a web map or web scene to your story:

  1. On a map browser tab, click the map or scene you want to add.

    The map designer opens.

  2. Configure the map or scene. In the side panel, the map or scene can be configured in the following ways:
    • Rename layers.
    • Turn layers on and off.
    • Turn the legend on and off (in the settings panel).
      Note:

      Modifying layers in the side panel does not modify the original item in ArcGIS. To edit the original item content, click Edit map in ArcGIS or Edit scene in ArcGIS.

  3. Optionally, set the map configuration. On the Settings tab of the side panel, you can set the following options:
    • Allow map navigation—This option allows readers to pan and zoom the map. You can disable this option to prevent readers from navigating the map; however, pop-ups and hover interactions remain active.
    • Search—The search option provides readers with a search box where they can find geographic regions and points of interest and navigate the map to those places. The map search uses the ArcGIS World Geocoding Service to find addresses and places around the world. Map search can be enabled for web maps, web scenes, and express maps.
      Note:

      Locators that are configured in your organization's settings are also available for your readers to search. Additionally, if the web map has feature search configured, that is also available to readers through the map search.

    • Current location—The current location option provides readers with a button that shows their location on the map. This can be enabled on web maps, web scenes, and express maps, and in guided tours.
      Note:

      If a story is embedded in an unsecured (HTTP) web page, the current location tool is blocked by the browser for security reasons. This feature only works on secure (HTTPS) pages.

    • Legend—The legend option provides readers with a legend that includes all of the named features on the map.
  4. Click Place map or Place scene to add the map or scene to your story.

The web map or web scene is added to the story. To return to the map designer to make updates and revisions, click the Edit button on the map.

Note:

Layers that contain premium content are marked in the map designer. Using a premium content layer in a published story consumes credits from your organization every time the story is accessed by one of your readers.

When you publish a story that contains premium content, you are prompted to authorize possible credit charges from its use. Stories that contain subscriber content are automatically authorized for public use because they do not incur a credit charge.

Troubleshoot web map and web scene issues

If a web map or web scene does not load or does not display as expected, the issue may be related to one of the following limitations:

  • The story builder uses ArcGIS API for JavaScript 4.x, which requires that web maps and web scenes be version 2.x to load. For more information, see WebMap in the API Reference.
  • Some layers are not yet supported in ArcGIS API for JavaScript 4.x. For a list of currently supported layers, see ArcGIS API for JavaScript Functionality matrix.
  • For ArcGIS Online organizations, web maps, web scenes, and feature layers that are secured with ArcGIS Server web-tier authentication cannot be added to story maps. For more information, see Web-tier authentication in the ArcGIS Server help.

ArcGIS Living Atlas

ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World is the foremost collection of geographic information from around the globe. It includes maps, apps, and data layers to support your storytelling. The map browser tab supports all of the ArcGIS Living Atlas categories and displays web map and scene content based on trends, basemaps, environments, and more.

Maps and scenes from ArcGIS Living Atlas that contain premium content layers are identified with a badge. Using a premium content layer in a published story consumes credits from your organization every time the story is accessed by one of your readers.

When you publish a story that contains premium content, you are prompted to authorize possible credit charges from its use. Stories that contain subscriber content are automatically authorized for public use because they do not incur a credit charge.

Add alternative text

Adding alternative (alt) text is recommended for all media to provide support for search engines and readers using assistive technologies.

Use the following steps to add alt text to media:

  1. Hover the pointer over the media to open the editing toolbar.
  2. On the editing toolbar, click the Properties button.
  3. Provide alt text that describes the media and click Save.

The alt text is added to the media.