Wednesday, February 05, 2014

The Pick of ESRI Story Maps

Using ESRI Story Maps is a simple way to create interesting mapped narratives about any subject. Story Maps provides a number of easy to use templates that allow you to combine map and satellite views with multimedia and other interactive features to create an interactive mapped presentation.


America's Nuclear Moonscape is a great example of Story Maps in action, combining stunning satellite views of the Nevada Test Site with a history of its use for nuclear weapon testing.

The Nevada Test Site was used between 1950 and 1992 to test over 1,000 nuclear explosions. The crater filled satellite imagery on this ESRI Story Map shows the effect of these nuclear tests on the landscape. The imagery is accompanied by a timeline explaining the history of testing at the site and showing the locations of some of the more important nuclear tests carried out here over the later part of the Twentieth Century.


Is the World Empty or Full? is another great example of how ESRI satellite imagery can be used to inform users about the world. This Story Map explores the world's most and least densely populated areas, highlighting the uneven distribution of the human race across the planet.

The map includes some great aerial imagery of cities bursting at the seams with urban populations and imagery of those still unsettled areas of the Earth, like the Sahara Desert and the Australian Outback.


Crop production needs to double by 2050 to fulfill the needs of the growing worldwide population. The Institute of the Environment at the University of Minnesota created an ESRI Story Map to highlight how the world can meet this need by increasing food production.

Feeding the World contains a series of heat maps visualizing the current crop production around the world and how and where crop production can be increased to meet rising demand. The first map shows the locations of the world's current bread baskets. Navigating through the other maps reveals where crop yields can be increased by better land management, improved through increasing water efficiency and by decreasing the amount of crop production dedicated to feeding animals.


Geography, Class and Fate: Passengers on the Titanic is an in-depth analysis of the passengers on the ill-fated Titanic. The map shows the route of the ship and where it hit the iceberg that led to its sinking.

What really makes this map stand out however is the passenger data. The map shows where every passenger on the Titanic was from. You can compare the survival rates of the passengers from the different classes, which show how first class survival rates were higher than those in second class, which in turn were far higher than those in third class.

Clicking on an individual passenger will show more details including their age, where they boarded the Titanic, their intended destination and, if they were one of the lucky ones, which  lifeboat they were rescued by.


One of my favorite history maps of 2013 was this ESRI Story Map displaying the Decisive Moments in the Battle of Gettysburg. The map shows troop movements and the development of the battle during July 1 – 3, 1863.

The map tiles are based on an 1874 map of the area and also present-day digital data. The troop positions are determined from historical maps. The map also includes an interactive time-line that allows the user to view the development of the battle over the whole three days.
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