Home Blogs Unfolding marvellous mysteries – Best Esri story maps of 2018

Unfolding marvellous mysteries – Best Esri story maps of 2018

Esri story maps have been telling us fascinating stories since long. Before we set our sights on 2019, let us divulge in the dynamism of these inspiring pieces and see the world with new lens.

Sounds of the Wild West

In some ways, natural sound is an undiscovered country. Every time you hear the wilderness, you are hearing it for the first time. One day you might hear a red-winged black bird singing as the wind rustles the reeds around it. That night, the call of a coyote may ring out against a backdrop of chirping crickets as you fall asleep in your tent. These soundscapes are as rich and diverse as the natural spaces in which you’ll find them. Click on the image below to Hear what the Sounds of the Wild West have to say.

story map

The Living Land

For many of us, urban areas are the first thing that comes to mind when we think of spaces that have been altered by people. But, as it turns out, these mental images aren’t very representative of our overall land use. In the second chapter of  Living in the Age of Humans series, the Esri Story Maps team takes a closer look at the ways Homo sapiens have modified Earth’s limited land, and what implications this use has for our future. Click on the image below to know more.

living atlasFitter fish for stocking purposes

Wild populations of Atlantic salmon, European eel, and sturgeon are now seriously threatened by pollution, habitat loss, predation from non-native fish species, damming of rivers, and overfishing. The Improved Production Strategies for Endangered Freshwater Species group is using a story map (click the image below) to draw attention to this dire issue. The story’s maps depict the route of a migratory fish and the obtrutions that they face. The artistic renderings of the life cycle of fish are lovely, shedding light on what happens below the surface of these ecosystems.

mappingRohingya Refugee Emergency at a Glance

With a consistent visual style, a mix of context-setting and human-centered photos, a suite of available languages, and a clear call to action, this story map truly has it all. No wonder it was the winner of the 2018 Storytelling with Maps Contest! See how one of the largest and fastest-growing refugee crises in decades unfolded in Bangladesh, and discover the ways the UN Refugee Agency is working to help those in need. Click on the image below.

London’s lost river: the Tyburn

Remote sensing was once the sole domain of environmental scientists, but these technologies are now applied to myriad academic disciplines—including archaeology. Click on the image below to see a story map investigating the methods by which researchers at the Museum of London Archaeology identified the course of the River Tyburn, a tributary of the Thames that once flowed through central London. 

On the Trail of the North American Buffalo

On the Trail of the North American Buffalo celebrates the resiliency of a species that is iconic to the Western United States. In this well-researched story map, we learn of the history of the buffalo from ice age to contemporary times. The piece showcases archival imagery, thematic maps, and narrative text to illuminate the cultural, ecological, and economic importance of this species. Explore the map by clicking on the image below.

America’s National Trails System

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act, the National Park Service chronicles all historic and scenic trails that crisscross the nation. Making prominent use of story actions in the Story Map Journal template, the narrative engages readers by encouraging interactive exploration of a variety of photographs and trail system maps. Know more through the image below.


China: Then and Now

China is a country with a vibrant culture and leading role on today’s world stage. Matthews Asia explains the significance of China, walking through its rich history to its prominence in urbanization, mobile technology, health care, and financial markets. As you will click the image below, you will find that the story map takes full advantage of the Cascade template, blending impressive images and graphics, well-designed maps and charts, and a tasteful rhythm of narrative and immersive experiences.

On Foot in the Path of the Silk Road

Paul Salopek is walking from Africa to South America. Nearly three years into a 10-year journey, Paul retraces the trajectory of the human diaspora as it spread “Out of Eden” over the course of millennia to populate all parts of the globe. Let’s look at the journey through the map below.


Our mental maps, it turns out, may not be as accurate as we think they are. Delightful cartography gives the early visuals in this story a hand-drawn feel, while yet another ArcGIS Pro trick transforms them into globes that nearly pop off the screen. (The effect is made all the more satisfying with the help of some well-chosen transitions in the Cascade immersive sections.) Click on the image below and scroll on through to see if your notions of location are truly up to snuff, or if, like most of us, you stand to benefit from a little reality check on these four common misconceptions.

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