To make a Story Map Tour℠, you first need to assemble and organize the media (photos or videos) you want to use.
For photos, you can use images of any size and shape, but we recommend landscape orientation (i.e., images that are wider than they are tall). Map Tours generally look best if all the images have the same size and aspect ratio, so your users don't get distracted by differently shaped images as they go through your tour. The recommended image aspect ratio is 4:3. Note that if you use the Side Panel layout, in which the photos fill the available display space, your photos will appear cropped in certain web browser window shapes. Use the Three Panel or Integrated layouts if you don't want your images to appear cropped on any display.
You have several choices for adding your images into a Story Map Tour. The recommended and easiest way to add images into a Map Tour is to simply upload them directly as files from your computer into the Map Tour Builder, where they will be stored in the cloud with your tour. In Story Map Tour (but not in the other app templates), this option requires an ArcGIS subscription account with Publisher privileges. Images you upload are optimized by the Map Tour Builder so they draw quickly in your tour.
You can also use images that are already being shared publicly in Flickr, a leading photo hosting and sharing system. So if you or your organization are already using Flickr to share images on the web, it is easy to add these images into a Map Tour. Map Tour Builder reads in titles and captions stored with images in Flickr, and automatically uses the best image size to ensure the picture draws quickly in your tour.
When you upload images or use images in Flickr, Map Tour Builder automatically reads in geotag information from the images you use to locate them on your map. If your images don't have location information, Map Tour Builder lets you locate them on the map interactively.
You can also reference images that are on the web directly via their URLs. This isn't generally recommended though because this method doesn't automatically optimize the images for fast drawing. If you use this method, make sure the image file sizes aren't too large. See the Story Map Tour FAQs for our image size recommendations. Links to images on the web that you don't own may also break unexpectedly.
A Map Tour can use videos instead of images. The Builder can access videos stored in a YouTube account directly, or you can specify URLs to individual videos in YouTube, Vimeo, and so on. You can also make a Tour containing images and videos, although if you want to do this you can't use the option to build your tour by uploading images (because with that option Map Tour expects the whole tour's media to be uploaded images.
You'll include the names and captions for the photos and videos in your Map Tour directly in the Builder. Alternatively, if you want to prepare everything ahead of time, you can make a spreadsheet containing the names, captions, locations, and media URLs that define your Map Tour, and import that spreadsheet into the Map Tour Builder as a CSV file. The Builder lets you download a template you can use to create this spreadsheet.
The text you use for captions for your Map Tour's points can contain HTML tags if you want to specify additional text formatting and hyperlinks. For example, you might want each caption to include a photo credit in italics.
Start the Story Map Tour Builder. You can use a free, non-commercial ArcGIS public account or an ArcGIS subscription account.
Alternatively, you can start in the ArcGIS Online website, and create a new web map showing the area and basemap you want to appear in your Map Tour, along with any desired supporting layers, such as trails or boundaries. You can then share that web map, choose the option to create a web app, and choose Story Map Tour from the gallery of applications. The Map Tour Builder starts automatically as you configure the app.
In the dialog that appears when the Map Tour Builder starts, choose the location of your images or videos from the available options. If you're using an ArcGIS subscription account with Publisher privileges, you also have the option to upload your images.
To specify the URLs of your media manually, click the Advanced Options button (the Gears icon), and choose Start a New Tour. For example, choose this option if your images are already stored on your own website or web server.
To define your Map Tour by importing a spreadsheet, click the Advanced Options button, and click the link to download our CSV file template. You can edit this file in Excel or any text editor, such as Windows Notepad. When you're finished, you can use the button on the Advanced Options dialog to import your completed CSV file into Builder. Using a spreadsheet to define a Map Tour requires that your images are already on the web and that their URLs are included in your spreadsheet. For example, if you have already put your images onto a web server, using a spreadsheet can be an easy way to define a tour.
Follow the instructions that appear for the choice you made in step 2.
For example, if you chose the Flickr option, you're prompted to enter a Flickr username and select the set of images you want to use by choosing either an album or tag.
If you chose the option to upload your images, you're prompted to specify a name for the ArcGIS feature service that the Builder will create and automatically use to store your images.
If you're accessing your media from Flickr or YouTube, a dialog appears that prompts you to choose the individual images you want to use and their geographic location. Geotagged media is automatically placed on the map in the dialog. If your media is not geotagged, you can place them on the map interactively. Just click the image or video to select it, and click the map to position it. In either case, you can drag and drop the locations on the map to further modify them before continuing. When finished, click Import.
If you're accessing your media from Flickr or YouTube, the Map Tour Builder is ready for you to enter the caption for each point and make additional changes.
If you chose the options in step 2 to specify the URLs of your media manually, or to upload your images into the Builder, this is where you can start creating your Map Tour. The Add dialog will prompt you to specify the media, caption, and location of the first point in your tour. After adding your first point, you can click the Add button on the left side of the Builder to add additional points.
If you chose the option to import a CSV file in step 2, the Map Tour Builder is ready for you to make additional changes.
Specify the title of your Map Tour by clicking the Pencil button in the top left corner.
Optionally, you can change the basemap using the control in the top right corner of the map.
You can click the Organize button on the left side of the Builder to manage your points. It also gives you the option to specify that the first point in your Map Tour will define a cover page for your tour. If you use that option, that point is not shown as a geographic point on the map. Your cover page is not shown in the Map Tour Builder, but you can preview what it will look like in your tour by pressing the View Story button, which becomes enabled after you have saved your tour. Pressing that button will open your tour in a new browser tab so you can see what it will look like to your readers.
You can customize the appearance and behavior of your Map Tour by clicking the Settings button on the left side of the Builder.
The Layout tab lets you choose which layout you'd like to use for your tour. If you choose the Three Panel or Integrated layout, your Map Tour has an optional subtitle, which you can edit in the header in the Builder. Unlike the Side Panel layout, those two layouts don't have a cover page, but you have the option, in the Organize dialog, to specify that the first point in your Map Tour will be an introduction that is not shown as a geographic point on the map. This option is a good way to provide your readers with additional descriptive text about your tour before they start moving through it.
The Three Panel and Integrated layout options also modify the appearance of the Builder: the buttons that were on the left side of the Builder appear at the top and bottom of the Builder with these layouts to give you the most room to work on your tour.
Be sure to also go to the Header tab to add your own logo to the header of your tour. You can also specify a web page that people will be taken to if they click your logo. This helps add your brand to your tour. If you are using the Three Panel or Integrated layout, you can change the header color and some of the other colors in your tour's user interface via the Colors tab. That tab is disabled if you are using the Side Panel layout.
To save your tour, click the Save button at the top of the Map Tour Builder. (If you have not specified a title for your tour yet in the header, enter that before you press Save).
To share your tour click the Share button. (If this button is disabled, you have not saved your tour yet). You can make your Map Tour publicly accessible or, if you're using an ArcGIS subscription account, you have the option to share it so it is accessible only within your organization.
After you share your Map Tour, click Open in the Share dialog to launch it, or copy the shortened URL that is shown in the dialog so you can paste it into email, social media, or as a link in a website or blog.
Congratulations, your Map Tour is now operational!
To make further changes to your Map Tour, you can launch it, and click the Edit button you'll see in its header. (That button is only present when you are signed in to ArcGIS Online with your account: other people won't see it).
To manage your Map Tour go to My Stories. My Stories lists all the story map apps you have created that are hosted in ArcGIS Online. It lets you edit your stories, review their content, check them for issues, upload thumbnails for them, etc. For example you can launch and edit the web map used in your Map Tour from My Stories if you want to add additional supporting content to it, such as trails or boundaries.
You can also access your Map Tour and the web map it uses from My Content in ArcGIS Online or your organization's ArcGIS portal.