Introducing GIS StoryMaps

Lauren Katz News and Events, Research

The state of Utah with Spring City, located in Sanpete County, highlighted.

What is GIS?

A geographic information system (GIS) is a way to aggregate and analyze data related to physical places on earth. By using a tool such as ArcGIS StoryMaps and electronic geospatial records that have been transferred to the Archives, we are able to share content of all types in a visual way. The Utah Division of Archives and Records Service has records in its collection dating back to the earliest territorial days. As many of these records relate to places on a map, it is fitting to offer up stories about Utah history in the context of maps. 

Historical Boundaries Over Time

We have created a story that uses maps to demonstrate how the boundaries of Utah have changed over time. This is a pertinent topic as we celebrate the 125th anniversary of Utah officially becoming a state!

As you scroll through the story, you’ll see various maps with captions that describe what is happening at any given time, and links to see some original records representing that moment in time and place. If you’re looking for records of a particular area, it is important to know how and when boundaries changed in order to know where to look, because the Archives organizes its records by the name of the creating entity, and that entity sometimes represents different physical areas over the course of time.

GIS StoryMaps That We Love

There are many other groups who are utilizing GIS StoryMaps that we wanted to highlight:

In celebration of Utah’s quasquicentennial, or 125th anniversary of statehood, the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) brings you a sample of significant historical buildings constructed in 1896. As Utah’s home to historical building information, the SHPO identified buildings scattered throughout the Beehive State to highlight, but these buildings represent only a sample of what they have in their databases. 

A partnership between Tooele County Emergency Management, Utah Division of Emergency Management and FEMA created this Mapping Flood Risk in Eastern Tooele County project. Because floods are the most destructive natural disaster in Utah, and the flood risk in Tooele County is increasing, this site was created to inform residents about floods.

The Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative and the Basin and Range Dark Sky Cooperative created Stewards of the Night: Sharing the Dark Sky Narrative. These cooperatives work together to build a common sense of pride in and stewardship of the dark and starry skies. This project includes maps, videos, and articles. 

The Utah Community Development Office created the State of Rural Utah 2019 report using GIS software. Scroll through to see updated information on rural Utah’s opportunities and challenges by examining capacity, planning, infrastructure, and economic development. There are also stories, in their own words, of rural citizens and leaders who are delivering fruitful results for their communities and Utah as a whole.