Web Maps and Story Maps - Bringing your information to Life

InTouch GIS Services is now offering several interactive web based products tailored for your organisation, bringing your spatial information to life.

InTouch GIS Services web mapping products are much more than ‘dots on a map’, a common feature of many websites. They provide true access to the wealth of information that lies in your data, making it available to your clients or public users in a way that is both intuitive, attractive and informative.

Combining locational intelligence, publicly available information, photographs, video and text, the story behind the data comes to life in a fully interactive map, all delivered through an attractive and intuitive user interface.

So what are ‘Web Maps’ and ‘Story Maps’?

Web maps are essentially interactive maps that are either stand-alone web pages, or embedded within your own website. Commonly, web maps use ‘Google Maps’ to show a background map together with ‘Pins’ highlighting features of interest. Clicking on the pins provides more information about the features including textual descriptions photographs and web links.

“Storymaps” takes this to the next level, providing more in depth information in a clearer and more attractive format. Several designs are available depending on the information you want to provide and the story you want to tell, a few are outlined below.

  • Thumbnail lists – provide an easy way to access places of interest in an area and provide locational information in a form of a map or in depth descriptions of with text, pictures and videos (works well with both mobile and ‘big screen’ environments).
  • Narrative – a more ‘progressive’ format where there is more of a linear narrative to the story. Ideal for travelogues, describing the evolution of issues or time related stories. Maps and photos can change as the user scrolls down the story (works well with both mobile and ‘big screen’ environments).
  • Immersive – bring maps, images text and video together in an attractive ‘scrolling’ format. Scroll down and the text and photos change seamlessly allowing maps to flow to pictures and text. Ideal where you want to emphasis large high quality images in a ‘big screen’ environment (not so good for mobile users).

Interactive Web Maps

Fully featured interactive maps can also be produced allowing the user to select, display and query a variety of geographic features. Spatial information already held by an organisation can be made available in a truly interactive way allowing layers to be turned on or off, styles changed and features added and edited.  Fully supporting WFS (Web Feature Service) and WMS (Web Mapping Services), maps can be created just from information already held by public organisations or supplied as a commercial service from third party data suppliers (eg. Aerial photography feeds, OS background mapping services). Spatial data already held by your organisation can be made available more widely within your own organisation or to the public while still retaining a high level of security for your data, setting it to either ‘view only’ or ‘edit’. Combining your own data with existing WFS and WMS data can create a data rich website adding tremendous value to your own data and putting it into a wider geographical context so the true impacts, influences and opportunities of your own organisations activities can be clearly seen.

How are the Web maps and Storymaps created?

The web maps and Storymaps are created using ESRI’s ArcGIS online service which provides a reliable, secure platform to host your webmap. GIS Data layers are uploaded on to ESRI’s server, then stored and accessed from there and integrated with WMS and WFS services.

The completed web mapping application is self-contained and does not need to be hosted on existing web platforms or your own fileservers, meaning that there are no additional data or access charges.

A storymap ‘template’ spreadsheet will be supplied customised to the users’ needs allowing quick and efficient data entry for ease of map creation.

If controlled access to named users or editing is required for your web mapping application, ESRI ArcGIS licenses can be purchased or existing licenses within your organisation used, allowing controlled multi-user access within your organisation, but ‘no cost’ access option is for a public facing application to be developed.

How much does it cost ?

Prices for a web map or Storymap start at £250 for a publicly accessible application based on supply of information ‘ready to use’ (ie. GIS layers, geocoded spreadsheets, descriptive texts and photos). InTouch GIS Services can advise on the best formats and structures for this information, or can undertake this work on your behalf, taking the data entry and data structure issues off your hands. ‘Controlled access’ and ‘Edit Access’ would be at additional costs depending on the number of users and level of access required.

For a full guide on the web mapping and story map services InTouch GIS Services can provide click here