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Research Commons

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ArcGIS Online Challenge (learning path)

Explore potential uses of ArcGIS Online in your research and teaching at Ohio State

Learning Objectives

Module 4 provides an introduction to Dashboards and StoryMaps, two ArcGIS Online apps that can be used for visualizing data and telling a compelling and impactful story about your work.


Through completing this module, you will:

  1. Describe potential use cases for Dashboards and StoryMaps as data visualization and communication platforms
  2. Recognize how Dashboards and StoryMaps are integrated with other components of ArcGIS Online, such as the map viewer
  3. Create an engaging and interactive digital product using Dashboards or StoryMaps, based on the perceived relevance of these apps to your own work


Complete this series of short readings for an overview and example use cases of visualizing data and crafting spatial narratives with Dashboards and StoryMaps.



Based on what you learned from the readings and the likely relevance of each of these apps to your own work, choose one of the following tutorials to gain some hands-on experience with Dashboards or StoryMaps. Each tutorial includes steps associated with adding web maps, formatting additional content, and sharing your finished product.



  • StoryMaps tutorial: Using ArcGIS StoryMaps in Your Research and Teaching (est. 60 min.)
    • The ArcGIS StoryMaps platform allows users to combine many different types of content - text, photos, videos, maps, and more - to create a compelling story. For a typical story map project, you’ll spend the vast majority of your time planning your story and creating or identifying relevant content, rather than on building the story map itself. Think of this as analogous to the way your time might be distributed when planning and conducting a project and then preparing a manuscript for publication. For this exercise, we’ve done the content preparation for you (with the U.S. Census as our theme), and you’ll have the chance to focus on some hands-on experience with the platform.

Brainstorming Questions

Think about the following questions before moving on to Module 5. Consider keeping brief notes of your answers, which you might find helpful when developing your project or assignment outline in the final activity.


  1. What value could a Dashboard or StoryMap add for communicating the results and impact of your research? How might creating such a digital product enhance your ability to share your work (in terms of purpose, audience, etc.) compared to more traditional venues of scholarly communication?
  2. If you are an instructor, can you think of an existing assignment that could be adapted to include the use of Dashboards or StoryMaps (for example, allowing students to create an interactive dashboard rather than a static poster, or a story map instead of a traditional term paper)? How could the incorporation of these technologies (and a spatial perspective) enhance student learning in your course?

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