Copying an ArcGIS StoryMap item to another organization


Esri provides two models for telling stories with maps: The Classic Story Map and the newer ArcGIS StoryMap. Each offers the infrastructure to utilize ArcGIS Platform items such as Web Maps combined with supporting resources like images, text and videos for impactful storytelling. To answer your next question, please see What's the Difference?.

The platform stores each model differently, which leads to this sample document. The ArcGIS API for Python clone_items() function equips you with all you need to effectively transfer many Item types between organizations, regardless of the organization's deployment. The ArcGIS StoryMap item is an exception to that currently. While there are plans to update clone_items() to handle the modern architecture behind ArcGIS StoryMaps, the sample below details a procedure to use immediately to transfer these items between organizations.

Let's proceed.

Import Libraries

import os
import uuid
import json
import shutil
import tempfile

from arcgis.gis import GIS
from arcgis import __version__

Assign a variable to store appropriate version values to differentiate beween each story model.

_version = [int(i) for i in __version__.split('.')]

Define function to export all the Story Map's resources to a zip file

Given its novel architecture and resource storage, we'll define a function to return the supporting resources for the ArcGIS StoryMap model.

def export_resources(item, save_path=None, file_name=None):
    """Export's the data's resources as a zip file"""
    url = \
    if save_path is None:
        save_path = tempfile.gettempdir()
    if file_name is None:
        file_name = f"{uuid.uuid4().hex[:6]}.zip"
    params = {'f' : 'zip'}
    con = item._gis._portal.con
    resources = con.get(url, params=params,
    return resources

Connect to the source and destination GIS organizations

gis = GIS(profile='your_online_profile', verify_cert=False)
dest_gis = GIS(profile="your_online_admin_profile", verify_cert=False)

Step 1. Get the ArcGIS StoryMap and export its resources

Once we have the item, we can use the _version variable we created earlier to run the export_resources() function we wrote earlier for ArcGIS StoryMaps, or the item's resources instance to export the supporting resources for Classic Story Maps. In this instance, we'll run export_resources() since we're copying an ArcGIS Story Map.

story_map_id = "358b83b5f776402fa726cfa316aa197c"

story_map = gis.content.get(story_map_id)
if _version <= [1,8,2]:
    resource = export_resources(item=story_map)
    resource = story_map.resources.export()
# Visualize the Story Map item details
The Surprising State of Africa’s Giraffes
Scientists believed there to be just one species of giraffe. But a recent genetic study suggests giraffes belong to four distinct species.StoryMap by StoryMaps
Last Modified: August 29, 2019
0 comments, 233,260 views

Examine the resources used by the Story Map


We can see the resource variable stores a path to a zip file containing all the supporting resources needed to reconstruct our original ArcGIS StoryMap.

Step 2. Get the StoryMap Item's data to extract maps

ArcGIS StoryMaps utilize Web Maps and/or Express Maps to contextualize the story's geography and allow direct interation with its mapped data. We can use the get_data() method to extract each from the StoryMap.

# Collect the Web Maps and Express Maps using the StoryMap's data. Use the set 
# operator each item is collected only once for cloning.
story_map_json = story_map.get_data(try_json=True)

web_maps = set([v['data']['itemId'] for k, v in story_map_json['resources'].items() \
                if v['type'].lower().find('webmap')>-1])
express_maps = set([v['data']['itemId'] for k, v in story_map_json['resources'].items() \
                    if v['type'].lower().find('expressmap')>-1])

Clone each Web Map from the StoryMap and assign a dictionary with the source Web Map id as the key, and the cloned Web Map id as the value. We'll use this dictionary to replace the source Web Map id with the cloned Web Map id in the new item we create in the destination GIS.

Let's examine the Web Map(s) from the set we created above.

webmap_mapper = {}
for wm in web_maps:
    webmap_to_copy = gis.content.get(wm)
    cloned_webmaps = dest_gis.content.clone_items([webmap_to_copy]) # Clones the WebMap
    webmap_mapper[] = [i for i in cloned_webmaps if i.type == 'Web Map'][0].id

The clone_items() function used above duplicates not only the Web Map, but also any Layers contained in it. Depending upon the type of layer in the Web Map, cloning will create corresponding items in the destination.

Let's examine the cloned output and quickly compare the item details to the original Web Map.

[<Item title:"Giraffe Species Ranges (IUCN)" type:Feature Layer Collection owner:webgis_user>,
 <Item title:"Giraffe Parks" type:Feature Layer Collection owner:webgis_user>,
 <Item title:"Giraffes" type:Web Map owner:webgis_user>]
Giraffe ranges, by speciesWeb Map by webgis_user
Last Modified: September 23, 2020
0 comments, 0 views

Let's also look at our dictionary and then use it to remap the original Web Map id to the cloned Web Map id in the json structure resulting from the get_data() function run earlier.

{'4a3c199b5375423e8a9b5c5e41dd709c': 'fcfee48147ae484080790eb5838c7253'}

Remap the OLD ItemId to the New Item ID

story_map_text = json.dumps(story_map_json)

for k, v in webmap_mapper.items():
    story_map_text = story_map_text.replace(k, v) # replace the IDs

Step 3. Create a new StoryMap item in the Destination GIS

We'll use the original story_map variable properties to create a new item in our destination GIS. We'll eventually add the resource zip file we created earlier to the item to essetially duplicate the original StoryMap.

new_item = dest_gis.content.add({'type' : story_map.type,
                                 'tags' : story_map.tags,
                                 'title' : story_map.title,
                                 'description' : story_map.description,
                                 'typeKeywords' : story_map.typeKeywords,
                                 'extent' : story_map.extent,
                                 'text' :story_map_text}
The Surprising State of Africa’s Giraffes
StoryMap by webgis_user
Last Modified: September 23, 2020
0 comments, 0 views

Let's also download the original item thumbnail to use to update our new `item'.

# orig_thumbnail = story_map.download_thumbnail(r"your/file/path")
orig_thumbnail = story_map.download_thumbnail(r"C:/Job/sftriage/thumbnails/")
The Surprising State of Africa’s Giraffes
StoryMap by webgis_user
Last Modified: September 23, 2020
0 comments, 0 views

Step 4. Add the StoryMap resources

We exported the images, expressmaps, text or other resources associated with the StoryMap earlier in this sample. Let's add those using the resource variable where we stored that output.

{'success': True,
 'itemId': 'f17d68a0442f4657b2620d9f17d6542b',
 'owner': 'webgis_user',
 'folder': None}

Step 5. Update the original StoryMap url

Set the id component of the new_item's url to the new item id property.

new_item.update({'url': story_map.url.replace(,})

Step 6. Transfer Draft Resources

ArcGIS StoryMaps support a workflow that enables you to make changes to a published story, preview those changes, and then republish to make those changes to the existing story. Such updates to published stories are stored as unpublished drafts and are not visible to the audience until you are ready to republish the story.

The following code creates the supporting file to store draft resources and adds it as a supporting file to the destination StoryMap.

with tempfile.NamedTemporaryFile(mode='w', suffix='.json', 
                                 delete=False) as jsonfile:
    type_keywords = [tk for tk in new_item.typeKeywords if 'smdraftresourceid:' not in tk]
    new_item.update({'typeKeywords' : type_keywords})

Draft express map resources are handled separately and added as a resource.

if len(express_maps) > 0:
    with tempfile.TemporaryDirectory() as d:
        shutil.unpack_archive(filename=resource, extract_dir=d)
        for expmap in express_maps:
            express_draft = os.path.join(d, "draft_"+ expmap)
            express_pub = os.path.join(d, "pub_" + expmap)
            if os.path.isfile(express_pub):
                shutil.copy(express_pub, express_draft)

Use the new StoryMap!

print("your new item can be found here: " + new_item.homepage)
your new item can be found here:
The Surprising State of Africa’s Giraffes
StoryMap by webgis_user
Last Modified: September 23, 2020
0 comments, 0 views

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