Exciting changes planned for the Ocean Basemap

Over the last couple of years the Ocean Basemap team has concentrated on creating a consistent and easy to use basemap that contains significant bathymetric detail. We have had many compliments on the map (thank you all) and we believe that it is a cartographically pleasing product that is a good basis for mapping content in the oceans. However, we do not plan to rest on our laurels.

Since the first release of the Ocean Basemap each update has concentrated mainly on the map content and not on the cartography.  For the upcoming release, however, we have decided to make some changes to the map itself.

Firstly, in response to user comments, we have developed a version of the map that contains a separate operational layer with the following layer types:

All hydrographic features, including:

  • Ocean and Sea names
  • Subsurface features
  • Soundings

Place names and boundaries, including names of:

  • Cities
  • States
  • Countries

We currently have a version of this in testing and are planning to release that this fall. The current version of the basemap will remain available for approximately 1 year before being deprecated.

The second planned change is the development of a version of the basemap in a polar projection to help with maps of the Arctic. As sea-ice continues to recede, maps of the Arctic Ocean are of increasing importance. As a result we are currently researching how best to generate a map in a polar projection with the same look and feel as the existing basemap and with sufficient detail to make the map useful. We currently do not have a release date scheduled for this new basemap but will announce it when we do.

Once again, thank you for your feedback on the Ocean Basemap.  We hope that these planned updates make it an even better product for your needs.  If you have further ideas to improve the Ocean Basemap, please contact the Ocean Basemap team.

This entry was posted in ArcGIS Online, Community Maps, Mapping, Oceans & Maritime and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply


  1. rdunfey says:

    Very interesting. Any chance the operational layer will include contours? Even better would be an image service.

    With regards the Arctic map, also great to learn of this. We are also trying to figure this out with our implementation of Portal for ArcGIS. Essentially we need base maps for the Arctic, and probably need three of them?! It all gets a bit messy…would be good if you could post updates as you make progress on this, and particularly keen to know how this could fit into the AGOL Basemap picker.

  2. aleason says:

    Thanks for your comments on the upcoming enhancements to the Ocean Basemap.

    The current plan for the Ocean Basemap does not include adding contours based on the bathymetry, but we are interested to know if this is a feature our users would find valuable. You also mention the need for multiple Arctic basemaps, which is intriguing. Further details on this need would be necessary to comment more specifically.

    With regard to image services the Ocean Basemap is a cartographic product with some data which we are only licensed to serve in specific representations. However, there are the new World Elevation services and some of these include bathymetric services of elevation, hillshade, slope and aspect. Those may meet your needs.

    At the moment we are still investigating how polar projection variants of standard basemaps might fit into the basemap picker; more information should be available as we get closer to release. There are other basemaps that we are also looking to release in a polar projection, so careful thought is going into the user experience.

    We are glad that our proposed enhancements to the Ocean Basemap might make your work easier. Any ideas for further enhancements to the basemap can be sent directly to the Ocean Basemap team or submitted to ideas.esri.com.