Author: Olivia Kariunas
Geovisualization Project Assignment @RyersonGeo, SA8905, Fall 2021
Project Link: https://arcg.is/1Xr9i52
The inspiration behind creating this geovisualization project stems from my own curiosity about Toronto’s tourism industry and love of the hometown hockey team. There have been numerous instances where I found myself stressed and anxious about planning a stay within Toronto due to the overwhelming number of options for every element of my stay. I wanted to create content in an interactive manner that would reduce the scope of options in terms of accommodations, restaurants, and other attractions in a user-friendly way. With a focus on attending a Toronto Maple Leafs game, I have created an interactive map that presents readers with hotels, restaurants and other attractions that are highly reviewed, along with additional descriptions that may provide useful to those going to these places for the first time. Each of these locations are located under 1 kilometer from the Scotiabank Arena to ensure that patrons will not require extensive transportation and can walk from venue to venue. Also, the intent behind the interactive map is to increase fan engagement by helping fans find a sense of community within the selected places and ease potential stressors of planning their stay. For a Toronto Maple Leafs fan, the fan experience starts before the game even begins.
Why Story Map?
Esri’s Story Map was chosen to conduct this project because it is a free user-friendly method that allows anyone with an Esri Online account to create beautiful stories to share with the world. By creating a free platform, any individual or business can harness the benefits of content creation for their own personal pleasure or for their small business. Furthermore, the Shortlist layout was chosen to include images and descriptions about multiple locations for the Story Map to give readers visual cues of the locations being suggested. The major goal behind using this technology is to ensure that individuals in any capacity can access and utilize this platform by making it accessible and easy to understand.
To obtain the data for the specific locations of the hotels, restaurants, and other attractions, I inspected various travel websites for their top 10 recommendations. From these recommendations, I selected commonalities among the sites and included other highly recommended venues to incorporate diversity among the selection. For the selected hotels, I attempted to include various category levels to accommodate different budgets of those attending the Leafs game. Additionally, all attractions chosen do require an additional purchase of tickets or admission, but vary in price point as well.
Creating Your Story Map
Start the Story Map Shortlist Builder using a free ArcGIS public account on ArcGIS Online.
Create a title for your interactive map under the “What do you want to call your Shortlist?”. Try to be as creative, but concise, as possible!
The main screen will now appear. You can now see your title on the top left, as well as a subtitle and tabs below. To the right, there is a map that you can alter as you like. To add a place, click the “Add” button within the tab frame. This will allow you to create new places that you want to further describe.
A panel will appear where you can enter the name of the chosen destination, provide a picture, include text, and specify its location. You can include multiple images per tab using the “Import” feature. Once the location has been specified using the venue’s address, a marker will appear on the map. You are able to click and drag this marker to any destination that you choose. The colour of the marker correlates to the colour of the tab. Additionally, you can include links within the description area to redirect readers to the respective venue’s website.
Click the “+” button on the top right hand corner of the left side panel to add more destinations. The places that you add will show as thumbnails on the left side of the screen. Click the “Organize” button underneath the tab to reorder the places. You can order these in any way that seems logical for your project. Click “Done” when satisfied.
To create multiple tabs, click the “Add Tab” button. To edit a tab, click the “Edit Tab” button. This will allow you to change the colour of the tab and its title.
To save your work, press the “Save” button occasionally, so all of your hard work is preserved.
There are also optional elements that you can include as well. You can change the behaviour and appearance of your Shortlist by clicking the “Settings” button. You are able to change the various functions people can utilize on the map. This includes implementing a “Location Button” and “Feature Finder” where readers can see their own location on the map and find specific locations on the map, respectively. You are also able change the colour scheme and header information by clicking on their tab options. Hit “Apply” when satisfied.
To share your Shortlist click the “Save” button and then click the “Share” button. You can share publicly or just within your organization. Additionally, you can share using a url link or even embed the Story Map within a website.
Limitations & Future Work
The main limitation of this project was selecting what venues to include. Toronto is a lively city with an overwhelming amount of options for visitors to choose from, resulting in many places being overlooked or unaccounted for. Overall, the businesses chosen represent a standard set of places for those who are unfamiliar with the city. To include a more diverse set of offerings, an addition to the current project, or an entirely new project, can be created to include places that provide more niche products/services. Furthermore, a large portion of the venues chosen were selected from travel/tourism advisory websites where the businesses on the sites may pay a fee to be included, thus limiting the amount of exposure other businesses may have.
Story Map was simple to understand and the platform was aesthetically pleasing. My only reservations about this program is the limited amount of stylization control in terms of the text and other design elements. I would most likely use this platform again, but may attempt to find a technology that allows for more control over the overall appearance and settings of the geovisualization.
Thank you for reading my post. Have fun creating!