The technical part of making a Story Map Shortlist℠ is easy. The hard part is deciding what places you want to show, writing useful and engaging descriptive text about them, and getting nice images. But that's the fun part too!
You author the places in your Shortlist using the Shortlist builder. For each place you'll provide an image and some descriptive text. Shortlists look best when all the images are the same size and shape, but they don't have to be. We recommend landscape orientation (i.e. images that are wider than they are tall) instead of portrait orientation.
You have several choices for image storage. You can use images stored in Flickr. The Shortlist builder automatically selects the best image size from Flickr, reads in geotag information from the images to locate them on your map, and uses any title and caption text stored with the images. If your images don't have location information the builder will let you specify their map location interactively. Existing photos in Picasa can also be used but Picasa is no longer accepting new uploads. You can also reference images that are on the web directly via their URLs. If you reference images on the web directly via URLs, make sure the images aren't too large. A good size and shape for an image referenced via a URL is approximately 1000 pixels wide by 750 pixels (which is the same image size and shape we recommend for Story Map Tour). Images that are much larger than that can slow down performance. We also recommend JPG format instead of PNG format for smaller overall file size, but both formats are supported. If your image editing program supports JPEG compression, you can reduce the file size of your JPG images by setting the image quality to 80%. For thumbnail images referenced via URLs we recommend a size and shape of 280 pixels wide by 210 pixels tall. That shape (aspect ratio of 4:3) fits exactly into the Shortlist thumbnail area. Thumbnail images referenced by URLs that are much larger than that can slow down performance.
You also have the option to create a Shortlist using point feature data in an ArcGIS Online web map. The points are imported into the Shortlist builder as places which you can then edit, organize into tabs, add images to, etc.
Start the Story Map Shortlist builder. You can use a free, non-commercial ArcGIS public account or an ArcGIS subscription account to create a Shortlist.
Alternatively, if you want to create your Shortlist using point data in an existing web map, go to ArcGIS Online and open that web map. Then share it as a web application and choose Story Map Shortlist from the application gallery. The Shortlist builder will open and prompt you to select the point data you want to use. You can also use that workflow to create a Shortlist using an existing web map that doesn't contain point data, so that your map appears in your Shortlist as the background for the places you author in the builder.
In the remainder of this tutorial we assume you are creating a Shortlist from scratch, not from an existing web map.
The Shortlist builder appears showing your map and your first tab. You are ready to start authoring your places!
To add a place, click the Add button underneath the tab.
In the panel that appears, you can enter the name of the place, provide an image for it, enter descriptive text, and specify its location on the map. If the image you choose has location information, the Shortlist will use that location.
After you've added a place you can click the + button to immediately add another place, or you can close the place's panel and return to the tab. The places you add appear as thumbnails in the tab.
When you add a place you don't need to immediately fill in all the information or choose an image or location for it. So for example you can create your set of places first just by entering their names, and then finish editing and locating them later. This makes it easy to define your places and then refine the content for them.
In addition to adding places on by one, you can also import multiple places. The Import button lets you choose images in Flickr or Picasa. Each of the images you choose will become a place in your current tab. Text associated with the images, such as caption text in Flickr, will be used automatically as the descriptive text for the places.
If any of the images you import do not have location information stored with them, an icon appears on the thumbnails for those places in the tab, and an indicator appears at the top of the tab showing the number of unlocated places. You can click the indicator to filter the tab to just show the unlocated places, so that you can easily go through and specify locations for them.
At any time you can add additional tabs into your Shortlist. Click the Add Tab button to add a new tab. Click the Edit Tab button to enter the name of the tab and change its properties, such as the color of the marker symbols it will use on the map for the places it contains.
To reorder the places in a tab, click the Organize button underneath the tab. In Organize mode you can drag and drop to reorder places. You can also select places and then click Move to move them into a different tab. You can also select unwanted places and delete them. When you have finished organizing your places, click Done.
You are almost done! Now you can optionally change the appearance of your map.
Use the Change Basemap control in the bottom right corner of the map if you want to switch to a different basemap for your Shortlist (see the screenshot).
When your audience opens your Shortlist, the default map location they see will enable them to view all the places in each tab. The Shortlist manages this for you automatically so that all your places are visible on the map. If you want to specify a different default location for your map, click Settings, select the Custom option for the default map location, and press Apply. You'll see a blue Save button appear next to the zoom controls in the top left corner of the map. Navigate to the extent you want to use as your default, and click the blue button.
If you've not already saved your Shortlist, save it now. Before you can save for the first time, you have to enter a title for your Shortlist in the header. To enter a title, click the pencil icon in the top left corner of the header. Then click the Save button at the top right corner of the builder.
The first time you click Save you'll be prompted by a dialog to see if you want to share your Shortlist. For now you can just close this dialog and keep your Shortlist private until you have finished authoring it.
Optionally, you can also enter a subtitle for your Shortlist by clicking the other pencil icon in the header. Use the subtitle of your Shortlist to draw your audience in and get them interested in your places. Don't just repeat the title.
Finally, you can optionally configure additional options for the behavior and appearance of your Shortlist by clicking the Settings button at the top of the builder.
For example, you can turn on numbering for your places. By default places are not numbered. Also, by default the tabs in a Shortlist automatically update to show your users just those places that fall inside the map location they are currently viewing on the map. You can turn that behavior off if you like so that the tabs always show your users all the places, irrespective of their current map extent. (Note that in the Shortlist builder the tabs always show all of the places, to make it easier for you to author your Shortlist).
As a finishing touch, be sure to go to the Header tab in the Settings dialog, shown in our screenshot here, and change the logo in your Shortlist header to be your own logo, instead of Esri's logo. To do that, click the Custom logo option and then enter the URL to the logo image you want to use. You should also enter a click-through link URL that your users will be taken to if they click your logo, such as your city's website if you work for a city. Adding your own logo adds authority and branding to your story.
You are now ready to share your Shortlist.
Click the Save button at the top of the builder again to make sure everything is saved. Then click the Share button. You can choose to share your story publicly or just within your organization. Use the Organization option if you only want members of your organization to be able to view your story. The Organization option is not available if you are using a free ArcGIS public account.
Congratulations, your Story Map Shortlist is now operational!
To make further changes to your Shortlist, 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 with your account: other people won't see it).
To manage your Shortlist, go to the My Stories section of this website. 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 from My Stories you can launch and edit the web map used in your Shortlist if you want to add additional supporting content to it, such as neighborhood boundaries, hiking trails, study areas, etc. Any supporting content you add to the web map is immediately displayed in the Shortlist: you don't have to return to the Shortlist builder. Remember to configure web map popups for supporting content that you add into the web map: those popups are displayed as-is if your Shortlist users click on them. Turn off popups in the web map for any supporting layers that you don't want people to click on. Take care if you modify the web map used in your Shortlist: all of your Shortlist places are stored in one layer in that web map.
You can also access your Shortlist app from My Content in ArcGIS Online or your organization's ArcGIS portal. In My Content you will also see the entry for the web map used in your Shortlist, so you can launch the web map to add supporting content to it from there too.