Mapping a Soldier’s Story Map Journal


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Tutorial for ArcGIS Online
Mapping a Soldier’s Story: Map Journal

Mapping a Soldier’s Story
Map Journal


You are to create a Story Map using the online ArcGIS software that map's the story of a World War I Soldier. You will be working with a partner. With your partner you will choose a soldier from the following database: (no samsies - tell your teacher the name of your soldier so there are no duplicates). You will collect information on your soldier and using the tutorial below you will map the soldier's story till completion of their line of duty.


  1. Your map must include: soldiers hometown, location of enlistment, where they shipped from, location of 1st arrival, location of basic training, battlefields they fought and place of death (if applicable).

    1. This data must be collected in a google doc beforehand.

    2. These locations must be placed on your map using the pin feature.

  1. The Pins on your map must include a relevant title, a description, a relevant image (videos if desirable) and a URL to a website with information on the battlefields.

    1. Your Symbols (Pins) should be accurate and organized.

  1. Your map must include lines that connect your Pins.
    1. Lines that should be included are: route taken by vessel across the Atlantic, journey between training camps, journey made to Europe or Dardanelles in Turkey, location of trenches on the battlefields.

  1. Finally you will create a web app to share with your teacher and your fellow classmates.

Your assignment is due: _____________________
Good luck!!

Part A: Getting Started

To begin the tutorial, start by setting up your Web map and saving it. It is important to save your work throughout this tutorial.

  1. Open a Web browser and sign in to ArcGIS Online at using the login your teacher has given you.

    Note: If you have not been given an account, speak with your teacher. Teachers - you may request accounts for yourself and your students here: For additional information on joining the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Education ArcGIS Online Organization, please see the Lesson Plan document.

  1. Click on the Map button located at the top of the Web page to open the ArcGIS Online Map Viewer.

  2. Use the search box in the upper-right corner of the Map Viewer to focus your map on your soldier’s hometown in Newfoundland or Labrador. The search box can also be used to search for countries, cities, specific addresses and even certain monuments. In this case, just type in the name of the town the soldier was born in.

  1. Zoom in to increase the level of detail displayed on the map around the hometown location. You can zoom in several ways. For example,
    1. Zoom using the scroll wheel on your mouse, the + button that appears on the left side of the map, or hold down the Shift key and at the same time using your mouse draw a rectangle around your area of interest.

    2. If you need to reposition the map to see beyond its current visible edges there are two ways you can do this. Either left-click on the mouse and hold and the drag the map, or use the arrow keys on your keyboard.

  1. Select a suitable background Basemap by using the menu

  2. In this case try the National Geographic thumbnail. This will change your view from the Topographic basemap to the National Geographic basemap. You can experiment by selecting others before you settle on the one you want to view. The National Geographic basemap is useful if you require country borders to be clearly identified. You can change your basemap at any time while creating your Web map.

  3. Click the Save button and choose Save As.

  4. Create a good title for your map. Add some meaningful Tags that will allow others to find your map, and write a short summary of the map under Summary and click the SAVE MAP button.

    Note: Tags are keywords that other people can use to search for and find content in ArcGIS Online.

Part B: Adding Locations Visited by the Soldier

Now that your map is set up, you can create your own locations for each place on the map visited by your soldier.
  1. Click the Add button. From the dropdown list, select Map Notes.

  2. In the Map Notes window, ensure that the Template is Map Notes, and click Create.

  3. A list of features (Add Features window) will appear to the left of your screen.

  4. A new Edit button has also appeared at the top of the page. When this button is selected, the Add Features window will be displayed on the left side of the page.

The Map Notes template allows you to add your own content in the form of notes to the map. A note can be a point, line or area displayed on the map that you can add information including text, images or links to specific Web sites. You can also add text directly to your map.

  1. Select the Stickpin icon from the Add Features options. Single click with the left mouse button anywhere on the map to add a push pin at the point you click on.

    1. Points that should be added to your map include the location of the soldiers hometown, the location of the place where the soldier enlisted, where he shipped out from in Newfoundland (typically from St. John’s), the location of the place where he first arrived in the United Kingdom, the location of the place where he was sent to for his basic training, the battlefields where the soldier fought and, if he did not survive the war, where he died. Your number of locations will coincide with your soldiers tour of duty.

You can also add line and area features to your map using the appropriate symbols in the Add Features window if you feel that these will add useful information to your map.

Part C: Adding Attribute Data

In order to give additional meaning to the feature(s) you have created, you will now add information by writing about your soldier’s journey. Additional information for map notes are displayed in the form of popups that appear when a person reading your Map Journal clicks on a feature that you have symbolized with a push pin point, line or area that you have drawn on your map.

  1. When you have finished adding a feature, you will be presented with the window shown to the right. Use this window to add relevant information, such as a title, a short written description, an image and a URL to a Web site, such as a site with information on a battlefield during the First World War.

  2. You can also customize the way the popup displays on the map by formatting the text or altering the colours that you use.

  3. If you are not satisfied with the feature that you added, you can remove it using the Delete button and repeat the process to improve the look and feel of the content you have created.

Note: If you accidently close this window, you can get back to it at any time by clicking on your feature while the Edit button is highlighted.
  1. To add an image (for example a scanned photograph), it must be hosted somewhere on a Web site on the Internet. Use a search engine to search for an appropriate image, or visit a Web site such as to find an image that is relevant to your soldier, a place, or a battle in the First World War. Right click on the image and select copy image URL/copy image location. Paste this URL into the Image URL space. Ensure that the URL ends in a photo format such as .jpg or .png. To hyperlink your image back to its source, or a relevant Web site, add the Web site URL to the Image Link URL space.

  2. Close the add information window when you are finished adding information to each of your map features.

  3. Select the Line icon from the Add Features window. Add line features to your map.

  1. Examples of line features that can be added include the route taken by the soldier’s vessel across the Atlantic, the journey he would have made between training camps, the journey he made to Europe or the Dardanelles in Turkey, the location of trenches on the battlefields, etc.

  1. Add information to each line feature in the same way you did for the point features on the map. Click Close when you are finished.

Part D: Symbolizing your Features

You can alter the way your features are displayed by changing the symbol, using colour, using outlines or setting transparency levels. These tools can also be used to show similarities or differences between features on your map.

  1. With the Edit button highlighted, select a point feature from your map and open the Change Symbol window.

  2. Chose an option that fits your point feature. For instance, you may represent a training camp by using a tent symbol, while a port will be represented by a ship. When you are finished, click Apply and Done. Click Close in the attribute window to return to your map.
  3. Select a line feature from your map and open the Change Symbol window.

  4. With line features, you can choose from a number of predefined templates, alter the width of a line and its colour.

  5. If you added area features to the map, follow the same procedure as for points and lines.

Part E: Creating the Map Journal

The creation of a Map Journal after you have created your Web map uses a guided process through the steps required to complete the journal. This process features a “Main Stage” which is the main area where you will display your own Web map or some other Web map, images, videos, or a Web site. It also uses a Side Panel that is used for entering the text that you write in the journal part of the Map Journal. In this part of the tutorial, you use the map you created in the previous sections to publish, create and edit the text and supporting content that completes your Map Journal of the soldier’s story.

  1. Publish your Web map before you start to add content to your Map Journal.

    1. Click the Share button.

    2. Share your map with the group created by your teacher (Collingwood) by clicking the box next to your selection.

    3. Click the Create a Web App button.

    4. Look for the template titled Story Map Journal and select it by clicking on the thumbnail and then click the Create Web App button.

    5. Enter a descriptive Title for the Map Journal and then add Tags and a Summary as you have done earlier in this tutorial. Click the Done button. Your Web App is now saved in your My Contents area.
    6. In the Welcome to Map Journal Builder window, ensure that Side Panel has a checkmark beside it and click the Start button.

  2. Start to Create your Map Journal.

    1. Enter the soldier’s name in the title box for your Map Journal and click the arrow to move to the next section (it may already be there).

    The Home Section dialog will appear and this is where you add content to the first page of your journal. Here you can choose the type of content you want displayed, such as a map, an image, a video or a Web page.

    1. When the Add Home Section dialog appears, decide which type of content you want to display in the Main Stage of the Map Journal and select the button next to it. If you choose an image, it must be hosted online either through Flickr, Facebook, Picasa or a URL. A video must be hosted on YouTube or Vimeo. If you do not have an account with Flikr, Facebook or Picasa you will first have to create an account and add your images/photographs to it if they cannot be added from a URL following the instructions below.

Note: To find an image URL, right click on an image on a Web page and select copy image location / copy image URL. This will vary depending on the Web browser you are using. You will then paste this link into the URL field. Remember to reference the source of your picture or video.
    1. If you chose to show your Web map created in Sections A through D of this tutorial in the Main Stage of your Map Journal, you can select the specific map location you want to show and zoom level (Location) by clicking the Custom configuration button. You can then pan and zoom on the Web map until you find the location you want to display on the main stage for this page. If desired, select which layers you want to have displayed on the map (Content), and if you want to display popups (Popup) for features shown on the Web map that you created earlier. You can also decide if you want an overview map to be displayed in the map or the map legend by checking the corresponding boxes in the Extras section.

    2. Once you have configured the Main Stage Content, click the Next button.

    3. Now you will configure the Side Panel Content. Type content for an introduction about the soldier you have chosen to work with into the text box. You can also embed multi-media including URLs, images and videos in with the text. When you have completed adding URLs, text and multi-media if desired, click the Add button.

    4. To add a new section (effectively a new page) in your Map Journal, click the Add Section button at the bottom of the Side Panel. Each section that you add will correspond to an event in your soldier’s story and will allow you to write about it as part of the narrative of the soldier’s journey.

    5. Add the required information for the Main Stage: Title, select the type of Content, and relevant options corresponding to the type of content chosen.

    6. Click Next to move to the Side Panel and enter the relevant description.

    7. Continue adding sections, one for each event or group of events in your soldier’s story.

    8. Click on the Organize button to delete or change the order of your sections so that they correspond with the timing of events during the war.

    9. Click Save in the top right hand side of the screen.

  1. Editing your Map Journal.
    1. To make any changes to content in your Map Journal, click on the relevant section in the Side Panel and then select the Edit icon.

    2. You can also make changes to the Main Stage and Side Panel by choosing the appropriate tab.

  2. Changing your application settings.

    1. Click on Settings at the top of your Map Journal to make changes to the application settings.

    2. Click the Header tab and under the Customize the header link, type Mapping a Soldier’s Story in the Text box.

    3. In the Link box, enter the URL for The Newfoundland Regiment and The Great War Database, or for any other more relevant Web resource that you may have used and click Apply.

  3. Sharing your Map Journal.

    1. When you are ready to share your Map Journal, click Share and the Share Your Application dialog will open.

    2. Click the Copy button and send the link through email, or post on social media.

Note: By default, your Map Journal is shared to the same groups as your Web map.

Many stories can be told through different types of story maps. In this tutorial, you have created a Map Journal story map of a soldier who served with the Royal Newfoundland Regiment during the First World War. Visit the story maps gallery from Esri Inc. at to explore the world of story maps. Explore World War I story maps created by Esri Canada, Canada’s Participation During World War I: The Battlefields and World War I: The Role of Canadian Women.

Future Considerations

Creating and Saving Features in ArcGIS Online Video Tutorial
Want to learn how to measure distance and area in ArcGIS Online? Check out the Measuring Features in ArcGIS Online tutorial:

If you want to learn more about how to make customized story maps and collecting your own data, check out the Introduction to Story Maps tutorial:

To learn more about how to create a Map Tour story map of a Newfoundland World War I soldier, check out the Mapping a Soldier’s Story: Map Tour tutorial:

© 2016 Esri Canada. All rights reserved. Trademarks provided under license from Environmental Systems Research Institute Inc. Other product and company names mentioned herein may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. Errors and omissions excepted. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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