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Saturday, 9 July 2016

Mapping My Story

Open the map link in a different browser

Three months ago, me and my team embarked the biggest challenge in our life. While the whole exercise is about the fundraising and pushing our mental and physical barriers, there are many ways to document our story.

Being a seasoned GIS professional, I know there is way to document the story in a such way that leverages my GIS skills without require much coding. Presenting to you: ArcGIS Online Story Map Journal.

Author at the far right of the photo

This post isn't dedicated on how to build the map story journal. However, I will be focusing more on key elements I have learnt in building my story using ArcGIS Online.

  • Q: Why use a map to convey the story? Wouldn't photos and writing is sufficient?
  • A: I firm believer that this challenge has a strong spatial aspects. Since Victoria (Australia) practice open data, it removed a big hurdle for me to download the datasets I needed to document the track. Live tracking wasn't needed as Oxfam website was keeping tabs on all teams. The map platform allows the user to relieve every key event of our experience as though they are walking on our footsteps.
  • Q: Why ArcGIS Online as opposed to other platforms for journaling the story?
  • A: I have encountered three to four major mapping platforms: ArcGIS Online, CartoDB, MangoMap and MapBox. As I am bringing pictures, graph images and creating multiple pages for the story, ArcGIS Online has a simple platform for bringing them together without requiring developer's knowledge. All other platforms would require significant coding to match ArcGIS Online standard
  • Q: What are the challenges in building the map story?
  • A: Much of my time was spent in obtaining the datasets of the track and extracting the relevant sections for the map. Secondly, choosing suitable colours and adjusting the base map transparency was a challenge. I want the users to be attracted to the tracks and key points rather than the background map.
  • Q: What are key resources or learning I have learnt/acquired in building the map story?
  • A: I leveraged the online documentation of ArcGIS Online Story Map Journal to build my platform. Click here to learn more. More importantly, my audience was my other resource. Some of them spent time in asking me to improve some content that has been delivered. I received consent of all my team members to advertise this map application
Interested to start your mapping journey? Contact me through a comment below or fill up your details to you right.


  1. Mmm ... First time I had a look at an ESRI Story Map. Your story map was nice indeed.

    I wonder whether Google Photos Albums (Stories) would be a good media to do similar sharing? Maybe in combination with Google MyMaps?

  2. If you can explore that possibility, that would be great. ESRI Story map works out well for GIS professionals, not necessarily the common users of internet.