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Digital Tools: StoryMapJS

A guide for some common DH Tools


What are Maps?

Maps are data visualizations that deal with relationships in space. We are taking pieces of data (dates, times, images, text) and presenting them in an interesting way to tell a story or make an argument. Digital maps have the advantage of being interactive, so you can embed interactive media, link to other materials (such as your longer essays that are part of this assignment), and edit them to add new locations, or correct errors.

When should you use mapping tools?

Location is important, as well as the relationships between those locations

When should you not use mapping tools?

  • Location is irrelevant, or change in location is very limited and doesn’t support an argument
  • There’s no need to contextualize an event spatially


StoryMapJS login page

Works best in Firefox or Chrome, requires a Google login. You can either use a Gmail account, or create a Google account associated with any email address (including your email). If you are using a non-Gmail account, click Use my current email address instead when signing up.

StoryMapJS was created by the Knight Lab, part of Northwestern University, as a way to provide journalists a quick and easy way to build an interactive map that could be included with online news stories. It requires no programming or coding knowledge, although if you know HTML and CSS you can use those languages to add additional features to your map, such as links and different styles. StoryMapJS uses a web authoring interface to create it. Since each map is tied to a Google Account, it makes it difficult to work collaboratively on a single map – one of its drawbacks.

StoryMapJS Help

StoryMapJS Examples



In order for large images to be prepared for use with the Gigapixel option, you must use Zoomify to convert the images into tiles, as well as have a place on the Internet for the tiles to go. Zoomify has a free option that you can download to your computer and use. You can use the public_html folder of your student H drive to store the folder of images created by Zoomify.