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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Story Maps: Story Map Templates

How to create, edit, and publish Story Maps

Story Map Templates

Click the link below to view Esri's list of all available Story Map templates:

To help clarify the differences between each story map template, the list below includes an embedded story map and a short description that explains what situations they're best used for. Try interacting with each embedded story map to see how they work. Explore each template's gallery on Esri's website to see the other ways in which they are utilized.

Story Map Basic

From Esri: 

The Story Map Basic℠ app template is a simple map viewer with a minimalist user interface. Apart from the title bar and an optional legend, the map fills the screen. Use this app to let your map speak for itself. Your users can click features on the map to get more information in pop-ups.


View this story map in another tab.

Story Map Basic, as the title suggests, is best for one-map projects with minimal supplementary multimedia. While limited in narrative options, Basic is useful for encouraging users to explore your map by interacting with it, rather than leading them through it step-by-step as the other templates do.

See Esri's Story Map Basic Gallery for more examples.

Story Map Tour

From Esri:

The Story Map Tour℠ app template is ideal when you want to present a linear, place-based narrative featuring images or videos. Each "story point" in the narrative is geo-located. Your users have the option of clicking sequentially through the narrative, or they can browse by interacting with the map or using the thumbnail carousel.


View this story map in another tab.

Story Map Tour is great for presenting a single map with multiple stops that consist of images or videos accompanied by short descriptive text. Tour imposes a 1,000 character limit on descriptions, so it's best suited for projects where your map and images/videos tell most of the story. Tour also supports embedding web pages into your story map, so you can get creative with embeddable objects like Twitter feeds and web sites to supplement your narrative.

See Esri's Story Map Tour Gallery for more examples.

Story Map Journal

From Esri:

The Story Map Journal℠ app template is ideal when you want to combine narrative text with maps and other embedded content. A Map Journal contains entries, or sections, that users simply scroll through. Each section in a Map Journal has an associated map, image, video or web page. Actions can also be defined in journal sections so that, for example, clicking a word automatically zooms the section’s map to a particular location.


View this story map in another tab.

Journal is one of the most flexible story map templates. The Journal layout consists of the "main stage" and the "side panel." In the story map above, the main stage is the area where the maps are shown, and the side panel is the area with the photos and text. This layout allows you to display various web maps and layers at individual tour points, and includes the functionality to zoom to different map areas or switch between maps/map layers within a single tour point, using story actions (visible as red links in the story map above). Use this template if you want to display multiple maps at various points on your tour, or if you want to direct users to specific sections of a map via linked text. Journal also has no character limit, so it works well for projects that require a lot of text to explain what is being shown on the main stage.

See Esri's Story Map Journal gallery for more examples.

Story Map Cascade

From Esri:

The Story Map Cascade℠ app template lets you combine narrative text with maps, images, and multimedia content in an engaging, full-screen scrolling experience. In a Cascade story, sections containing text and in-line media can be interspersed with "immersive" sections that fill the screen with your maps, 3D scenes, images, and videos. Cascade is ideal for making compelling, in-depth stories that are very easy for people to navigate.


View this story map in another tab.

Story Map Cascade is best for presenting narratives that feature rich supplementary material such as graphs, images and videos. Cascade is an immersive experience with a narrative that progresses via scrolling rather than by sequential points on a map. Cascades provide some flexibility in the display of media, as maps/images/videos can be presented in small, medium, or full-screen sizes, and images can be grouped into horizontal galleries. Web maps embedded in a Cascade can be set to have no interaction, a button to interact (seen in the cascade above), or interaction enabled. Unlike a Story Map Journal, Cascade does not incorporate story actions. 

See Esri's Story Map Cascade gallery for more examples

Story Map Series

From Esri: 

The Story Map Series℠ app template lets you present a series of maps via tabs, numbered bullets, or our expandable 'side accordion' control. In addition to maps, you can also include images, video and web content in your series to tell your story and engage your audience. For example the first tab in a tabbed series can be a compelling photo that sets the scene.


View this story map in another tab.

The Story Map Series consists of three similar templates: Bulleted, Tabbed, and Side Accordion (above). All three visualize your information in slightly different ways, so make sure to check out Esri's Story Map Series Gallery, linked below, to see the other two layouts. Series is great if you have rich maps that you want to feature front-and-center. The design of Series gives your map a lot of screen space, encouraging the viewer to explore and click around on your map.

See Esri's Story Map Series Gallery for more examples.

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