Creating and Using Story Maps in Planning Projects

APA Kentucky Chapter


Thursday, May 18, 2017
3:45 p.m. - 5 p.m. CDT

CM | 1.25

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Learn what Story Maps are and how to develop them for your Planning Projects! See how to combine interactive maps with supporting images, reports, statistics, documents, infographics, and even video in order to craft your projects message and relay information to the public and key stakeholders.  See successful examples of the technology as used for public projects.

The complexity of planning is not always obvious to people outside of the profession. Planning projects typically use a wide variety of maps  and data to inform and drive the decision-making process.  Most of these maps are stand-alone maps, which require the user to familiarize themselves with the topic and data or require a presenter to switch awkwardly between online mapping systems and standard presentation software. With a Story Map you have the opportunity to put maps and interactive maps into context.  You have the opportunity to explain the importance of the topic, the nuances of the data shown, introduce new terminology, and explain key points about the topic while illustrating complex problems. A Story Map can make complex topics accessible to the general public and stakeholders from diverse professions.

This session will provide an overview of Story Maps and their uses in the public planning process.  Story Maps can be used to synthesize multiple data types for public presentations or placed online for public consumption. Story maps can be used to illustrate attainment of project goals upon project completion, to provide a slideshow of geotagged images and data, or to show changes in demographics over time.

In this session you will learn how to develop Story Maps for your planning projects!  Although it helps to have some familiarity with GIS, or at least access to someone who does, users will benefit from learning how Story Maps can be applied to their planning work.  We will demonstrate how to build an ESRI Story Maps from scratch, which require an ArcGIS Online (AGOL) account (free for individuals).  If you are part of an organizational AGOL account, that is even better.

GIS and mapping software, has evolved tremendously over the last 5 years, and especially the last 3.  It makes more sense to think of GIS as an ecosystem of software – desktop, mobile (iPhones/iPads), online, and server; but they can all use the same pieces.  Story Maps are part of this ecosystem of software, so content created in one place can easily be used in another place.  The mapping and analysis required for a project done in the desktop environment, can easily be adapted into interactive maps that fit into a Story Map.  Much like apps for your phone, there are now apps for GIS, and Story Maps are just one of these apps.

After discussing the general uses of Story Maps and providing a primer in their usage, we will show examples of the successful use of story maps in the public planning process and provide resources for those wishing to utilize the technology in planning practice.


Louis Hill

Invited Speaker

Louis Hill, AICP, GISP is a Geospatial Data Analyst with Planning & Development Services of Kenton County (PDS). He is currently the President-Elect of the Kentucky Association of Mapping Professionals (KAMP). Louis has worked in the GIS field since 2002, and with LINK-GIS/PDS since 2014. Louis’ primary responsibility is to ... Read More

Maria Scheitz

Invited Speaker

Maria Scheitz, AICP is a Planner with Neel-Schaffer, Inc. Maria has worked in the planning field since 2008 and she previously worked for Louisville Metro Planning and Design Services. As a planner in a large engineering firm, Maria provides support for a wide range of municipal projects from ADA compliance ... Read More

Contact Info

Lindsay Walker,