Introduction to ArcGIS

ArcGIS is an online geographic information system (GIS) services developed and maintained by Esri (Environmental Systems Research Institute).

ArcGIS has a number of products such as:

  • ArcGIS Online

  • Arcmap

  • Arc Pro

  • ArcGIS StoryMaps

  • Dashboards

  • Experience builder

  • QuickCapture

  • Survey123

  • Hub

It is free to sign up to ArcGIS, however, it does come with limited access.

Full vs restricted access to ArcGIS Online

The pricing of ArcGIS is fairly affordable, ArcGIS for Personal Use is available for £116/year.

Introduction to ArcGIS Online

ArcGIS Online is a cloud-based mapping and analysis solution. ArcGIS Online holds a collection of geographic information, and can be used to make maps and 3D scenes.

You can access ArcGIS Online here.

Upon entering the site with full access, a number of tabs will appear on the top and on the right-hand side. Click on each and see what they do.

ArcGIS Online

You can also access the different products:

ArcGIS Online products

Map Viewer Classic

Find Map Viewer Classic and click on it.

Map Viewer Classic

A new tab should open. First let’s look changing the basemap and adding data to the map.

Map Viewer Classic

Change the basemap to Light Gray Canvas.

Map Viewer Classic

Click on Add then Browse Living Atlas Layers.

Map Viewer Classic

Then choose ArcGIS Online. This will access to all publicly shared data layers.

Map Viewer Classic

Search for the thameseels then click Add.

Map Viewer Classic

Add the tribs data as well.

Map Viewer Classic

Rearrange the layers.

Map Viewer Classic

Click on the three dots next to the tribs layer, click Rename and rename it to Rivers. Click ok.

Map Viewer Classic

Rename the thameseels_barriers to Barriers.

Hover over the Barriers layer and click on Change style.

Map Viewer Classic

Choose the attribute Surveyed.

Map Viewer Classic

Also change the style of the Rivers layer.

Map Viewer Classic

Click on Symbols then choose a blueish colour and make the line slightly thicker.

Map Viewer Classic

Using the three dots next to the Barriers layer, click on Configure Pop-up.

Map Viewer Classic

Change the Pop-up title, then configure the attributes displayed by ticking or unticking them.

Map Viewer Classic

Click on a barrier location and the pop will show with the details.

Map Viewer Classic

Save the map under Save as.

Map Viewer

Let’s now look at Map Viewer.

In Contents, open the map you have just made in Map Viewer by clicking on the three dots next to it.

Map Viewer

You should see the map you made appear.

Map Viewer

Click Layers then Add Layers.

From ArcGIS Online search for thameseels and find the layer called RT. Add to the map. The layer showing the River Thames should appear.

Map Viewer

Click on Edit layer style -> Style options -> Symbol style and change the colour of the fill and outline. Click Done.

Map Viewer

Drag the RT layer to the bottom and rename it to River Thames.

Map Viewer

Go to Basemap and remove the World Light Gray Reference layer.

Map Viewer

If you click on the World Light Gray Canvas Base, you can play around with its properties.

Map Viewer

Go back to Layers then click Labels and format the label field and style. The labels for each river should appear.

Map Viewer

Save the map.

Map Viewer

Web Mapping Application

Let’s create a web mapping application using the map created above.

Click on the map under the Content tab and click Create web app then WebApp Builder.

Web Mapping Application

Give your app a title then click OK. Your map should appear.

Web Mapping Application

Under the Theme tab you can pick a theme, change the style and layout of the app. Pick your prefered theme and colour.

Web Mapping Application

Under the Map tab you can change the map extent, scale and so on.

Web Mapping Application

Under the Widget tab you can add widgets to access the layers, legend, basemaps etc.

Web Mapping Application

Let’s add the Basemap Gallery widget.

Web Mapping Application

With a click and hold you can change the order of the widgets.

Web Mapping Application

Let’s now add the Filter widget to be able to filter the barrier data.

Web Mapping Application

Add the first expression for Feature. This will allow you to filter the data based on barrier type.

Web Mapping Application

Add another expression for Pass, and choose Values filtered by all other expressions for both. This will allow the data to be filtered based Feature and then Pass, or Pass and then Feature. Also tick the box next to Zoom to the remaining features when the layer’s filter is applied and Zoom to the initial map extent when layer’s filters are all off.

Web Mapping Application

Let’s try out the filter. Choose Eel pass.

Web Mapping Application

The app will then filter the data in the background and will only give the option to look at those barriers that have eel pass.

Web Mapping Application

The filter will work the other way around as well.

Depending on your data need, you can add more widgets. You can also edit the info under the Attribute tab.

Once you are happy, Click Save and then Launch.

Web Mapping Application

Your app should appear in a new tab.

Web Mapping Application

Introduction to ArcGIS StoryMaps

ArcGIS StoryMaps can help you tell a story combining maps, multimedia content and text on a single page.

Watch the short video below:

ArcGIS StoryMaps are available both through ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS StoryMaps.

If you have an ArcGIS subscription you will get full access to StoryMaps.

Restricted vs full access to ArcGIS StoryMaps

Using the full access to ArcGIS StoryMaps, let’s now explore it:

After logging in, you will land on the main StoryMap page. Here you can access your existing Stories, Collections and Themes. Using the Quick links you can also access tutorials and webinars among others.

ArcGIS StoryMaps landing page

To create a new story, click New story on the top right hand side then Start from scratch.

Create a ArcGIS StoryMap

A new page will appear. On top you will see the various tabs for Design, Preview and Publish. You can also add cover image or video, add the title and subtitle, and add text to the main body.

Clicking on the Design tab will bring up a side panel that you can use to design your page.


Clicking on the Preview tab will allow you to preview your story in desktop, tab and mobile view.


Clicking on the Publish tab you can choose to publish your story.


Clicking on the three dots next to Publish, you also have access to more setting options.

Now, clicking on the + sign next to Tell your story… will bring up the options to add basic elements like texts, media like maps and images, and immersive blocks.

StoryMap elements

For example:

Text and image

You can also add maps from your ArcGIS Online content or you can also create an Express map and add points, lines, polygons and text using the tools on the top.

Express map

With the immersive blocks, you can create slideshow, or add panels with text (sidecar) or create a map tour.

Immersive blocks

Immersive blocks - Slideshow

Immersive blocks - Sidecar

Immersive blocks - Map tour

To finish your story, you can add credits and content contribution.

Finishing the story

To learn more about ArcGIS StoryMaps check out the ArcGIS StoryMaps YouTube playlist below:

Introduction to ArcMap