What’s new with Story Maps and How to Switch Your Story Map Tour to the Side Panel Layout

Story Maps for ArcGIS Online Get an Update –  Some cool news for users and fans of Esri Story Maps as Esri has announced a pretty hefty update in their April announcement of the update to story map technology for ArcGIS Online.  Recall, Esri Story Maps let you combine authoritative maps with narrative text, images, and multimedia content, making it easy to harness the power of maps and geography to tell your story.

story map tour

The New Side Layout Story Map Tour

Perhaps most important in the latest updates to Story Maps is the change to the very popular Story Map Tour. This widely used template for sharing your story now boasts a completely redesigned, side-panel layout. The new layout makes it easy to mashup your photos, stories and maps in a much more appealing layout design. According to Esri, the new side-panel layout showcases your places beautifully by providing plenty of space for photos and a dedicated, scrollable area for captions and other text. There is also a fresh set of colorful map markers that scale to look great on any screen. Below you’ll find a list of some of the new functionality and I’ve also shared a short video that shows how easy it is to switch existing Story Map Tours to the new layout.

New Features: 

  • Side-panel layout includes the option to add a cover page that fills the screen with a great image to grab the attention of readers before they dive into your tour
  • scrollable area for captions and other text
  • new, colorful, scalable map markers
  • redesigned experience is more  mobile friendly (see below)

Map makers can create a Map Tour using the original layout, select the new side panel layout, or easily edit existing Map Stories and change them to the new layout option. Updating to the new layout will also change the mobile/small embed view of your story. Using the new look layout will also provide you with a new builder experience as well. As a test, I edited an older Story Map Tour created a couple of years ago. Using the new side layout option I quickly and easily updated the map to the new look and feel. The animated image below shows the steps used to switch the Map Story to the new layout – you can view my new Map Tour HERE.

map tour on mobile
map tour on mobile

If the new side layout Story Map Tour is of interest to you, see all the recent updates to the technology in this story map.

New side layout story map tour

There’s lots of other new functionality for authors of story maps including:

  • Story Actions are now available in Story Map Series.
  • Story Map Cascade Builder now has the ArcGIS Online map viewer embedded inside it
  • Firefox fans  can author and edit Cascade stories in your preferred browser.
  • You can now print Story Map Cascade stories.
  • Journal’s print preview has been refreshed to match the look and options of Cascade’s.
  • Story Map Builders and My Stories help you find and fix issues caused by insecure (HTTP) content links.
  • much more!
  • Are you a Story Map Rockstar? Enter the StoryTelling with Maps contest

There’s loads of updates for the entire ArcGIS Technology suite this month. You can get the low-down HERE

See Also the following GEO Jobe how to articles:

GEOspatial Evangelist & CMO

Geographer, GIS professional, writer, and fan of all things mobile.