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The Environmental Justice and Sustainability Research Toolbox

Module 9: Visual Communication of Findings

Key Topics to Engage in Module:

  1. Designing tables and figures
  2. Map design
  3. Poster design

Module Learning Outcome:

By the end of this module, you will:

  • Design figures and graphics that are accessible to difference audiences.
  • Create online StoryMaps using ESRI tools.
  • Effectively communicate scientific research by integrating text and visuals in a poster.

Module Details

Visual Design of Figures and Graphics

Online Mapping
  • ArcGIS StoryMaps: Resources
    • Think about: Your target audience? Key takeaways? What content do you have and need?
  • ArcGIS StoryMaps: Gallery
    • Think about: How are these StoryMap creators connecting spatial and narrative content? What maps are most effective and why?
  • ArcGIS StoryMaps: Getting started with ArcGIS StoryMaps
    • Think about: What are the main steps when creating a StoryMap?
  • Google Earth Tools
  • SCU Native History Tour
    • Learn about the Indigenous heritage of the lands occupied by Santa Clara University. The SCU Native History Tour, developed in collaboration between members of San Francisco Bay Area Ohlone communities and SCU faculty, showcases the Indigenous history of the Santa Clara University campus. Clicking on the link above will bring you to Google Earth, where you can take the tour using the arrow icons in the bottom left of the window to navigate. At most stops, you can click on the images above the text for a slideshow and/or further information from Ohlone representatives.

Communicating Research Through a Poster

Applications, Activities, Assignments, and/or Online Discussion Prompts


  • Have students choose a figure or interactive map from a site known for its information design, such as The New York Times. Ask the students to share it with the class and evaluate it based on several criteria form the readings above.
  • Give you students a sample dataset -- or several datasets from which to choose -- and ask them to summarize the data in a table and a figure. Ask them to evaluate their table and figure based on the criteria in the "Inclusive Design Toolkit" and the "Ten Simple Rules" reading.
  • Have students create a StoryMap Tour of their hometown, the area around SCU, or related to something that they're researching.
  • Students (individually or in teams) create a culminating poster to communicate their final project for the course. The class poster session includes short presentations by each student or team.