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Digital Storytelling with ArcGIS StoryMaps

A guide to creating a digital exhibit using ArcGIS StoryMaps

StoryMaps Workshop: Instructions


Login to ArcGIS Online

Open the Practice Map

  1. Click the search icon in the top menu. Type “Welcome to San Diego”.
  2. Unclick the filter “Only search in Tulane University” on the results page.
  3. In the results, look for the “Welcome to San Diego” Web Map by StoryMaps. Click on it.
  4. Under the image, click the “star” image to add to favorites.

Create Your StoryMap

  1. Open a new browser tab and navigate to
  2. Click + New story then select Start from scratch.
  3. Click Design (in the top banner). Before you configure your cover, look at some of the design options. Here you can choose your cover layout, turn sections on/off, select a theme and font, and add a logo.
  4. Close the Design pane.
  5. We’ll start by configuring our cover. Type “San Diego” as the title. Feel free to enter a subtitle or an introduction.
  6. Open a new browser tab and navigate to Openverse at and do an image search for San Diego.
  7. Select an image you think will look good for your cover. Right click the image and save it to your desktop.
  8. Next click add cover image or video. Then drop and drag or select browse files to upload the image you just saved to your desktop.

Adding Content

  • Clicking the plus button will open the Block Palette. From here, you can choose the block elements you want to use in your story. There’s no one way to create a StoryMap. Feel free to get as creative as you like with the block elements.
  • Once you’ve configured your Cover, scroll down and begin adding content. You can begin by typing into the text block directly or click the plus sign to choose from other block styles.
  • Click the   plus sign and click Separator.

Add a Button

  • Open a new browser tab and navigate to the San Diego Wikipedia page. Copy the URL.
  • Click the plus sign below the separator and click Button. Enter text like “San Diego Wiki Page” into the button text and paste the URL into the box below.
  • To test your button, click Preview at the top of the page. Click your button to make sure it works. Close the Preview by clicking the “X” in the bottom right of the screen.

Embed a webpage

  • Now try embedding the Sand Diego Wikipedia page into your story.
  • Click the plus sign under your button and click Embed. Paste the San Diego Wikipedia link into the box and click Save. Notice the embed options. Feel free to test them out.

Add a Map

  • Click the plus sign under your embed and click Map.
  • Find the San Diego map you saved earlier (under “My Favorites”) and Select the map Choose the map you just saved, then click “Place Map”.
  • Change the text that displays under the map to “Map of San Diego”.


We’re not going to go through all the content blocks in this workshop, so explore them on your own later. Only you know how your story should look and function. The best way to get comfortable with the interface and options is to dive in!

Sidecar blocks are a combination of media and story narrative that fill the display, creating an immersive experience in stories. Sidecars are made up of slides, and each slide has a stationary media panel and scrolling narrative content such as text, media, and maps.

  • Click the plus sign to open the block palette.
  • Select Sidecar.
  • Choose a sidecar layout: Floating panel or Docked panel. A sidecar with one slide is added to the story.
  • Click Add media > Add map. Choose the map you saved earlier. Keep all the current settings and click Place Map.
  • Enter some text about San Diego in the “Continue your story” box in the side panel.
  • Click the three dots on your existing slide and click Duplicate slide. Zoom in to Little Italy. Turn on/off the visibility of layers by clicking the eye next to the layer. Click Place map. Again, add some text to the side panel. Rinse and repeat.
  • As time allows:
    • Click the plus sign in the side panel and click Map action. Enter “San Diego Zoo” into the map action box.
    • Click the edit pen above the Map Action. Make the Fun layer visible and pan over to Balboa Park. Click Save action.

Sidecar: Embed

  • Click the New Slide button on the bottom right to add a new slide.
  • Click Add embed. Paste the Wikipedia link into the box and click Save.

Publish your StoryMap
Your StoryMap is not visible until it’s been published, regardless of the sharing status. In addition, changes you make to your StoryMap will not be visible to other users until those changes have been published.

  • Click Publish to publish the current state of your Story. If it’s the first-time publishing, it will prompt you to set the sharing status. The sharing status can be changed at any time.
  • Click Preview to view your published StoryMap!


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.