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Edmonton Public School Board: Promoting school safety with story maps

Story maps are a great way to present important information to a wide audience. It can be used to highlight the findings of a study or to present a class project. Find out how and why the Edmonton Public School Board decided to use story maps to promote the importance of school safety for some of their new schools.

Story maps provide a creative way to present information to a large audience. They can include text, images, videos and interactive content such as websites and web maps. Depending on the “story” you are telling, you can choose from various story map templates that allow you to display your information in the manner that best suits your needs. These interactive web applications can be shared easily, allowing others to discover the important story you must share.

School boards are responsible for several areas, including managing school facilities, school planning, student safety and transportation. With an increased awareness of traffic issues around schools, and the opening of three new schools last September and another 11 new schools this fall, Scott Humphrey and Jennifer Thompson from the Infrastructure Planning Department at the Edmonton Public School Board (EPSB) decided to use story maps to promote student and transportation safety at these new schools. Parents and students used the EPSB story maps to plan for the first day of school.

The story maps created for each new school outline locations of crosswalks, bike racks, zones for student drop off and pick up along with main entrances.

Inspired by a school board example my colleague Ashleigh Harris shared with them, the EPSB staff created story maps for 11 new schools that include maps displaying the zones where parents can park and stop for drop offs along with the locations of entrances and exits. In addition, maps displaying the location of crosswalks and bike racks are included to encourage walking and biking as an alternative to driving. These story maps will be promoted to parents in the community on the schools’ websites, Facebook pages and Twitter feeds.

To learn more about how school board administrators can use ArcGIS Online and story maps, explore the resources below:

Resources for school board administrators

  1. ArcGIS Online demo subscription provides examples of how GIS can be used to support management of school facilities, school planning, student safety and transportation.
  2. Create your own story maps and explore the gallery to view different story map templates
  3. School Board Administration: Story Maps for School Safety video on how to use ArcGIS Online and story maps to communicate student and transportation safety on school property. The video features the Edmonton Public School Board and the story maps they created to help communicate to parents, students and the community how to drive, park and drop-off students safely at some of the new schools. The video will be available soon on the Esri Canada Education and Research YouTube Gallery.

If you have any questions about the use of ArcGIS Online for school board administration, feel free to contact us at

About the Author

Angela Alexander is a K-12 Education Resource Developer on the Esri Canada Education and Research team. She has over six years of experience working with educators across Canada. Angela is responsible for producing geographic information system (GIS) and curriculum specific resources, conducting and creating custom workshops for educators and judging and developing the question for the annual GIS Skills Ontario competition in Waterloo, Ontario. Angela has a Bachelor’s degree in Geography and Sociology from the University of Western Ontario and completed the Applied Digital Geography and GIS certificate program at Ryerson University.

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