StoryMapJS is a visual timeline tool made available through Northwestern University’s Knightlab. This program is an open-source tool that helps you create and tell stories through maps and images. StoryMapJS is great for projects where you need to tell a story or talk about issues that are centered around a certain location or area over time.

Quick Facts #

  • Price: Free
  • Platforms: Web
  • Open Source
  • Recommended For: Beginners
  • Where to Access: You will be asked to sign in with your Google account.

Things to Know #

Make sure the story you are telling centers around a certain location. Don’t try to create a story that jumps around the map from country to country. It will not work as well. For example, India or Japan could be one area you could tell a story around. You would not however go from India to Japan to the United States.

To publish your StoryMap on a WordPress website, go to the “Share” button on the top far right corner of the StoryMap creation page. From there you will copy the Embed Code and paste it into the code/text editor on the page or post you want to embed the map on. In WordPress you can use Embed block.

Knightlab recommends not going over 20 slides per StoryMap. More slides can be overwhelming or confusing for your audience.

Keep in mind that this is a tool that will help you tell stories of past events, so try to pick a major event or issue to address, then create your slides based on occurrences or smaller events that lead up to or happened during that event.

For example,

Major Event: Freedom Rides

Occurrences: Stops on the Freedom Rides

Getting Started Guides #

StoryMap Guide – Knightlab’s guide on how to create StoryMaps; including tips, tricks, examples, and more.

Video: Introduction to StoryMapJS

Additional Resources #

How to embed StoryMap onto WordPress – Video that shows you exactly how to embed a StoryMap onto WordPress.

Want More Help? #

Reviewed by Anastasia Zanyuk 08/05/22