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Telling Stories Through Maps

Robert White

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Let’s face it.  Unless you are a GIS nerd like me, listening to presentations on data can be very boring.  Fortunately, Esri comes to the rescue with “Esri Story Maps” which allows the casual reader to interact directly with raster and vector data.  According to the Story Map Website, Any user can build and display Esri Story Maps for non commercial purposes for free, or commercially with any type of ArcGIS account.  The user interface is intuitive.  Users can access particular Story Maps and navigate four or five slides, click on some polygons, and display attribute data,


Many stories are well told with maps.  In our case, we throw in a little history as well as give a feel for our products, in this case the US Public Land Survey System or PLSS and all of its complexities.   I know you’ll want to jump right in and see raster and vector examples of a crazy township in Wyoming.

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This StoryMap shows the land grid database sources, processes and uses.
Township 53N, Range 69 West of the 6th Principal Meridian, Wyoming

I am fascinated by the history of the Public Land Survey System, and believe that Story Maps are a good alternative to PowerPoint presenting the history to an audience.  Story Maps can also integrate photos and text to suit most any purpose.

Esri is always making improvements to the Story Map authoring process. When I first started authoring Story Maps a year or so ago, it was sluggish, but since then the workflows have been streamlined and performance has greatly improved.  You will need to invest some hours into your first map, but you will find it time well spent.   Consider Story Maps the next time you want to show management the value and purpose of data, produce an interactive report with geospatial content,  or simply want to make a refreshing change.  Your audience will thank you.


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Join WhiteStar at the ESRI Petroleum GIS Conference
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