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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 to open the map browser.

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

Express maps

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

  • Undo—The undo button only works in the current editing session. After the map has been placed in the story, you will not be able to undo any 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 will not be able to redo any actions from that session.
  • 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—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.
  • 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 Lines—Click and hold to start drawing a line with the pointer. Release to stop drawing.
  • Freehand Areas—Click and hold to start drawing an area with the pointer. Release to stop drawing.
  • Annotations—Drag the handle to draw a leader line that can snap to drawing features.
  • Arrows—Click the start and end points for the arrow line. After an arrow has been drawn, you can bend the line by dragging its midpoint.
Note:

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

Use the following steps to create an express map:

  1. From the map browser, click Create an express map or 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 in 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.

    Map layers and features can be deleted from inside 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:
    1. Image

      For more information the file types and sizes that can be used, see What media file types and sizes are supported in ArcGIS StoryMaps?

    2. Name
    3. Description
  4. Optionally assign a 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.
  5. Optionally adjust the map settings. In the settings side panel, the settings that can be adjusted include the following:
    • Legend display
    • Basemap
    • Basemap labels
      Note:

      Express maps symbology is integrated with the builder’s one-click themes. Changing the story theme will automatically update the express basemap and symbology. 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.

  6. Add the express map to your story by clicking Place map.

The express map is added to the story.

Note:

You can change the size and placement of express maps in the story with the map toolbar, which displays when you hover over a map. You can choose to 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.

Note:

You can return to the map designer to make updates and revisions by clicking the map's Edit button.

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 into the four tabs outlined below.

  • 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 then use the My Favorites tab to add that map to your story.

  • My Organization—The maps and scenes that have been shared in your organization. This 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 Living Atlas content.

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

  1. From 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 will not save to your original item in ArcGIS. To edit the original item content, click Edit map in ArcGIS (or Edit scene in ArcGIS).

  3. To add the map or scene to your story, click Place map (or Place scene).

The web map or web scene is added to the story.

Note:
You can return to the map designer to make updates and revisions by clicking the map's Edit button.
Note:

Layers that contain premium content layers are marked in the map designer. Using one in a published story will consume 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 will be asked 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 the 4.x version of ArcGIS API for JavaScript, 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 the 4.x version of ArcGIS API for JavaScript. For a list of the currently supported layers, see ArcGIS API for JavaScript Functionality matrix.
  • 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.

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. A curated portion of Living Atlas that may be helpful to your storytelling efforts is available in the map browser.

Maps and scenes from Living Atlas that contain premium content layers are marked with a badge. Using one of these in a published story will consume 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 will be asked 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 text is recommended for all media to provide support for search engines and readers using assistive technologies.

Use the following steps to add alternative 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. Enter alternative text that describes the media and click Save.

The alternative text is added to the media.