The New Ocean Basemap

The Ocean Basemap team is thrilled to announce the latest release of the World Ocean Basemap!  This new release reflects an exciting and major change to the structure of the basemap.  The World Ocean Basemap now consists of two layers:  the base layer with the hydrographic and terrestrial cartography and a separate reference layer that contains the reference information and labels, such as soundings, subsurface feature names, and administrative boundaries.  This change will better serve the World Ocean Basemap community in their maps and applications.

Let’s talk about what this change means for you.  First, if you already have a map or application that uses the World Ocean Basemap, thank you!  As of now, the older version of the basemap will go into mature support.  The Ocean Basemap team won’t be including new data or improvements to the older version of the basemap.  The older version of the basemap will be retired a year from now.  Even though you have some time to switch your maps and applications to the updated version of the World Ocean Basemap, we encourage you to take advantage of the new basemap today.

Accessing the World Ocean Basemap will be very familiar.  When accessing the World Ocean Basemap from the Basemap Gallery in the viewer or ArcGIS for Desktop, you will still automatically get the latest version.  Both the base layer and the reference layer will be added and active. You’ll be able to interact with the reference layer like you would with any other operational layer, giving you the choice on whether or not to use the reference layer.

In addition to dealing with the two feature services bundled from the Basemap Matrix, you’ll be able to interact with the map layers as individual feature services.  There are two very easy ways to add the individual layers to your project.  You can either search the ArcGIS Online Data Catalog or add them directly through their REST endpoints.

If you are a developer, you can access the two REST endpoints directly.

Base layer

Reference layer

Once again, the Ocean Basemap team would like to thank all of our users for their feedback and compliments on the Ocean Basemap.  The Ocean Basemap grows and develops through user suggestions and compliments! Feel free to send us your comments and opinions by either posting on this blog or contacting us directly at .

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  1. cburt says:

    This change breaks the javascript api (up to and including 3.9). I have my own basemap selector implementation that calls Map.setBasemap(‘oceans’). The map then still uses the old service at, which now appears distorted and stretched at higher zoom levels.

  2. wmcclin says:

    I will confirm what Chad points out. Here is a bookmark to the ocean basemap in SeaSketch, which uses the Javascript API. As you can see, at this zoom level, the basemap is distorted.

    Otherwise, things are looking good!