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. The recommended image aspect ratio is 4:3.
You have several choices for adding your images into a Story Map Shortlist. The recommended and easiest way is to simply upload them directly as files from your computer into the Shortlist Builder, where they will be stored in the cloud in your Shortlist. Images you upload are optimized by the Shortlist Builder so they draw quickly in your tour.
You can also use images that are already being shared publicly in Flickr, a leading photo hosting and sharing system. So if you or your organization are already using Flickr to share images on the web, it is easy to add these images into a Shortlist. Shortlist Builder will also read in titles and captions stored with images in Flickr, and automatically uses the best image size to ensure the picture draws quickly in your Shortlist.
Shortlist Builder automatically reads in geotag information from the images you use to locate them on your map. If your images don't have location information, Shortlist Builder lets you locate them on the map interactively.
You can also reference images that are on the web directly via their URLs. This isn't generally recommended though because this method doesn't automatically optimize the images for fast drawing. If you do this make sure the image file sizes aren't too large. See the Story Map Shortlist FAQs for our image size recommendations. Links to images on the web that you don't own may also break unexpectedly.
You also have the option to create a Shortlist using existing point feature data in an ArcGIS Online web map. The points can be imported into the Shortlist Builder as places which you can then edit, organize into tabs, add images to, etc. There is also an advanced option to have your Shortlist reflect on-going changes you make to that point data in the map, which is useful if you want to do your place editing and management via the map instead of in the Shortlist Builder. You'll see these options if you open your map in ArcGIS Online and create a Shortlist using that map.
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.
Enter a title for your Shortlist. You can refine this title later if you like.
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, Shortlist Builder will use that location. If you are using an image from Flickr, its title and caption from Flickr will be read in automatically too.
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 one by one, if you are using images in Flickr you can use the Import button to load multiple images from there at once. Each of the images you choose will become a place in your current tab. Shortlist Builder doesn't support importing images from your computer in bulk via the Import dialog. Images from your computer have to be uploaded one by one as you create or edit individual 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 save your work so far, press the Save button in the top right hand corner of the Builder.
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 menu 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 the Settings button and in the Map Options tab, select the Custom option for Default map location. Then press Apply. You'll see a blue Save Home Location 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 that button.
Optionally, you can also enter a subtitle for your Shortlist by clicking the pencil icon next to the subtitle 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, by default the tabs in a Shortlist automatically update to show your readers just those places that fall inside the location they are currently viewing on the map. In the General Options tab, 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 customize the logo that appears at the top of your story. Using your own logo is important because it adds authority to your story and shows people who created it. Your organization's logo may already be reflected in your story if it has been set as the default by your ArcGIS account administrator (this option is only available if you are using an ArcGIS subscription account). Be sure to specify a URL that your readers will be taken to when they click your logo, so they can find out more about your organization.
In the Theme tab in the Settings dialog you can change the background color of the header. This option is especially useful if you want to complement the color of your logo or match your organization's visual identity. If you do change the header background color, see what each of your tabs looks like against that background to make sure their color doesn't clash with the header color you chose. Also make sure that the other elements in the header, such as the title, are still easily readable against your background color.
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. The dialog will warn you about any issues in your story content that would prevent it from working correctly for your audience.
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.