Displaying Your Trips in a Story Map - A Tutorial

GeoD-JoelsAdventures_Lg.png

I have been fortunate enough to travel quite a bit in my career with GeoDecisions. During my free time on these trips, I like to explore the surrounding regions as much as possible. To document where I have traveled during these off-road adventures, I bring along my trusty Garmin Montana 600 GPS receiver as described in my previous post: Planning and Navigating Your Hike Using GIS Mapping and Open Data

In the following tutorial, I will outline the steps needed to convert your collected GPS position points into a showcase piece using Esri Story Maps.

Mount San Jacinto State Park overlooking Palm Springs.

Mount San Jacinto State Park overlooking Palm Springs.

GPS Data Collection

The weekend after the 2018 Esri Developer’s Summit in Palm Springs, CA, I explored two locations that offered excellent views and hiking experiences. The first was only a fifteen-minute drive from the conference center. From there you can take a tram that lifts you thousands of feet above the valley floor to Mount San Jacinto State Park. To keep track of my walk along the ridgeline, I turned on the GPS and set the device to record my location every few seconds. The device records these “tracks” along with the corresponding date and time.

Hike in Mount San Jacinto State Park.

Hike in Mount San Jacinto State Park.

My next excursion was to visit Joshua Tree National Park. During a seven-mile hike in the park, I used the same technique with the GPS to track my location and record it on the device. I continued to record all my other trips throughout the year in the same manner. You can see all my trips collected here.

Data Processing

The next step is to download all the data from the GPS device. The tracks come in the form of a GPX file that contains all the points and associated attributes. My data was collected using the latitude and longitude coordinates. However, ArcGIS Online (AGOL) requires a feature service. To convert the files, I used ArcGIS Pro and the “GPX to Features” tool in the Conversion Toolbox to create a file geodatabase. I then converted the points to lines by using the “Points to Line” tool in the Data Management Toolbox.

The GPX to Features tool in ArcGIS Pro.

The GPX to Features tool in ArcGIS Pro.

Publishing to ArcGIS Online

Now that the data are in the correct format, it’s time to publish it as a Hosted Feature Service in AGOL to add it to your maps and 3D scenes in a Story Map Cascade. Some symbology adjustments may be required to ensure that the lines stand out and are displayed on top of the elevation basemaps within the scenes. These adjustments are all done in the web scenes on ArcGIS Online in the web interface.

Hike in Joshua Tree National Park. Palm Springs is in the background.

Hike in Joshua Tree National Park. Palm Springs is in the background.

Mapping Your Tracks

With the feature services created from the tracks in AGOL, it’s time to make the maps! I created several maps to highlight specific elements of each segment. I first created 2D maps to orient the reader to the location and then created 3D scenes allowing the user to pan around the area. You can view my final product here.

For more information about how to build your story map, visit: https://storymaps.arcgis.com/en/.