Making a Map in MapStory

MapStory is a great website to use to create a map presentation accompanied with a timeline. The basics are easy to understand and it is an easy tool to get started with. I worked with MapStory a bit to figure out how it works and what the advantages of it are. Here are my pros and cons and my experience working with MapStory.


  • One of the best parts of this tool, especially for group projects, is that it is collaborative. Not only can users collaborate with those they are working with, but also all with users who use the site.
Display of different projects created with MapStory
  • MapStory is a timeline tool which means that times, dates, locations, and media, such as pictures, videos, and links, are easily lined up to create a smooth presentation that incorporates all of these aspects.


  • Users must create an account. Users must create an account in order to make and publish a map on MapStory. Although this might seem like an unnecessary task, the account allows for collaboration and keeps all of a user’s stories in an organized place.

When creating a MapStory, users can create chapters and within these chapters input StoryLayers as mentioned before, add StoryBoxes (set frames for the map during a specific date), and StoryPins (visual pinpoint of a specific location). Every time one of these things is added and saved, it appears on the map when the timeline crosses that time period.

Because MapStory is also a timeline tool, every point entered on the map must have a date and time. Along with a date and a time, a point can be selected by dragging the mouse over the map until the coordinates on the bottom match the desired location. When adding a StoryPin, users can embed videos, pictures, and other forms of video by copying and pasting a URL into the “StoryPin Media” section. After doing this and selecting “show content” at bottom, when the timeline scrolls over the date, the pinpoint will show up along with the video or picture embedded.

Entering a data point into MapStory.

If users have many locations and dates they want to enter at one time, they can select bulk upload, download the excel spreadsheet, enter the data points, and reupload it to the website. After saving, all the points will show up at once on the map.

Overall, MapStory is a great tool for students because it is collaborative and easy to experiment with. It is especially great for presentations in which time, dates, and locations are all crucial to the point or argument being made.



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