Communicating your river restoration project using StoryMaps

Esri StoryMaps have grown greatly in popularity over the last few years. They offer an engaging way to present a “spatial story” – one where geographic relationships or distribution are key to the narrative. To produce one you only need a free Esri account and some basic IT skills as they are very easy to produce. As well as looking professional and being an effective form of communication they also have a “Wow” factor with functionality such as the swipe animation where two maps are placed over each other and users can swipe between the two maps. Despite being easy to produce technically there is a lot to learn in order to make great story maps.

What they can be used for: 

  • Telling a story where one or several maps are key to the narrative. For example, explaining the intermittent nature of a river by use of maps showing where it flowed on different dates.
  • Explaining how to use a complex, multi-layered map to understand a concept.
  • Telling the story of a journey or route, for example explaining features of a path along a river.

Example of a StoryMap: How healthy are our rivers (Rivers Trust)

This 1-day course will be presented using river restoration subject matter, and will cover river restoration specific design ideas such as how to:

  • Visualise rivers, weirs and catchments on maps
  • The use of photos of river restoration environments
  • Sources of hydrological GIS data

Find out more about StoryMaps.

The course is open to all practitioners with an interest in river restoration and mapping. The course is suitable for consultants, contractors, academics, catchment partners, and representatives from local authorities, local government and statutory agencies.

Find out more and register interest in this course:

NEW – RHS Toolbox 1.5 with RHAT WFD assessment and import from RAPID database

The RHS Toolbox 1.5 features new functionality to perform a RHAT assessment and to import data from the RAPID database.

The software is on a free trial for 30 days and it is available for 32 and 64 bit version of Office.

New features:

River Hydromorphology Assessment Technique (RHAT) scoring form

The River Hydromorphology Assessment Technique (RHAT) was developed in Northern Ireland by the Department of Environment to assess the hydromorphological condition of rivers for the Water Framework Directive (WFD). The field survey methodology was based on RHS and contains the same amount of information as a standard survey. The main differences are the width of spot-checks, which in RHAT are 50 m wide. The RHAT survey methodology also allows for partial surveys of the stream as the final scoring system does not rely on recorded data for its implementation.

The field assessment of morphological condition as part of RHAT is carried out in the field using expert opinion. Eight attributes representing bank and channel features and geomorphological functions are assessed on the scale of 0 (bad) to 4 (high) for their condition. Guidance on assessing condition is provided in the RHAT manual.

As the RHAT condition assessment is not calculated directly from survey data, it is possible to derive the score for a standard RHS. The RHAT condition assessment sheet was therefore added to the RHS toolbox as an additional option whilst doing surveys

RHAT assessment form in the RHS Toolbox

RAPID data import

RAPID is an application developed by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in the United Kingdom to input and process RHS data.

You can now import data from the RAPID database version 2 and 3 using the import button.

RAPID import menu in the RHS Toolbox

For more information about the software, you can go to the software page or read the manual online.

Instructions to download and install the RHS Toolbox:
1- Download the zip file for the relevant version of the RHS Toolbox: 

2- Create a RHS folder somewhere on your computer (e.g. C drive) and extract the content of the zip file into that folder.
3- If you do not have Access 2010 or later already installed on your PC, you can download and install the free Access 2016 runtime here
4- Double-click the file RHSDataInput.accdr.

The RHS Toolbox development requires investment in time and resources so it is unfortunately not possible to deliver it free of charge. You have access to a trial version for 30 days after which you will have to register and purchase a license. During the trial period, every time you log in, you will be asked whether you wish to purchase a license and register. Information on pricing can be found here

Potential issues: the RHS Toolbox was tested on UK (English) Windows Operating Systems. Due to different ways of representing decimal points, some of its functionality may not work on French and other Operating Systems that use commas (,) instead of points (.) to represent the decimal fraction of real numbers. Please let us know if you come across such problems.