Category: ArcGIS Online

Maintenance to ArcGIS online systems tonight, Sept. 23

Some ArcGIS servers will undergo systems maintenance during a one hour window tonight, September 23, 2010, at 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. PST. No downtime is anticipated; however, during this maintenance window, users may experience temporary issues with sign in, use of Subscription services, or ArcLogistics online. 

If you have questions, please post them in the ArcGIS Online forums.

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CNN: Social media, situational awareness, and ArcGIS Online

A recently published CNN article talks about the importance of social media, with a focus onTwitter, for obtaining rapid situational awareness about events. The article includes a link to an Esri application for first responders which uses ArcGIS Online basemaps as the foundation for placing tweets and other social media sources in context.

Russ Johnson, Esri’s emergency response industry manager notes in the article: “The data is really unstructured — when you wrap it around a map suddenly you have a micro and a macro view. All of a sudden social media is a really relevant piece of data that can increase situational awareness.”

The app is written using the ArcGIS API for JavaScript and leverages the ArcGIS Online world topographic, world streets, and world imagery basemaps. We agree that these basemaps provide an excellent substrate to provide greater context for social media sources. Shown below is a photo from Flickr that’s been placed on the map via a live feed, and also locations of YouTube videos and tweets.

You can read more about how this application was created and how the various components were brought together by viewing the detailed description.

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Add data from a CSV file to any ArcGIS Online map

In an earlier post we covered how you can choose from a variety of JavaScript sample applications to create custom web apps using any ArcGIS Online map. In this post we’ll take a closer look at one of those samples, one that enables you to add data from any CSV file to any ArcGIS Online map.  

First we’ll need to download the sample. Navigate to the ArcGIS JavaScript API resource center and click the samples tab:

Scroll down along the folders on the left, open the folder, and look for the “Map with csv data” sample:

On the sample page you’ll find a link to open a live app, additional information on how to customize the sample, and a link to download the source.

Below we’ve downloaded the source files, copied them to our website, and opened the application. The sample opens a CSV file of parks in Redlands, California, and uses the lat/long location in the CSV file to place points on the ArcGIS Online map. Click on a park in the contents or on the map to view more details in a popup window. The locations, names, and other information have come from the CSV file.

We’ll use this sample and modify it to use our own map and CSV file.

First we authored a new ArcGIS Online map by opening the viewer and added the USA Social Vulnerability Index map service. We switched basemaps to the Shaded Relief basemap (found on the basemap gallery) and adjusted the transparency of the social vulnerability layer to about 50% so we could see the terrain. We then saved our map, and shared it publicly.

Note that when you save a map it is assigned a unique map ID, and every map has one. You’ll see the map ID in the URL when you open a map, as shown below:

We’ll use this map ID when we edit the sample code. 

Next we’ll need a CSV file. We visited the USGS earthquake site and downloaded a CSV file of magnitude 1+ earthquakes in the past hour. Here’s the CSV file, and note that the field names are in the first line of the file. We’ll use the file and field names when we edit the sample code.

ak,10082028,1,”Tuesday, September 21, 2010 22:39:21 UTC”,61.1078,-150.2322,1.6,47.10,10,”Southern Alaska”
nn,00316975,7,”Tuesday, September 21, 2010 22:24:49 UTC”,36.9602,-116.1745,1.5,8.30,10,”Nevada”
ak,10082020,1,”Tuesday, September 21, 2010 22:21:19 UTC”,61.1159,-150.2703,1.1,38.90, 8,”Southern Alaska”
ak,10082008,1,”Tuesday, September 21, 2010 22:07:32 UTC”,60.1867,-152.5540,2.2,103.00,22,”Southern Alaska”
ci,14845636,2,”Tuesday, September 21, 2010 22:00:03 UTC”,33.4480,-116.5805,1.2,13.40,38,”Southern California”

We copied the CSV file to the same location as the rest of the source files we downloaded, and here’s the contents of the folder now:

We’ll edit the ags_MapWithTable.html file (highlighted in blue above). The eqs1hour-M1.csv file found below it is the file we downloaded from the USGS site with earthquake information.

We made the changes below highlighted in bold text. All of these edits are made to the init() function found in the html file:

//The ID for the Map from
 agoId = “d5e02a0c1f2b4ec399823fdd3c2fdebd“;
//Path to the CSV file
dataUrl = “eqs1hour-M1.csv“;
//List of fields that includes the label field, latitude field and longitude field.
defaultFields = ["Region", "Lat", "Lon"];
//The default look of the info template. In this snippet the location field will be used
//for the title and the details field will populate the info window.
defaultInfoTemplate = “${Magnitude}<br /><hr>${Region}<br />${Datetime}”;
//The title, if not specified the webmap’s title is used
title = “Recent M1+ Earthquakes“; 
//The subtitle, if blank the description of the first layer in the webmap is used.
subtitle = “USGS Earthquake Data“;
//If the webmap uses Bing Maps data, you will need to provide your bing maps key
bingMapsKey = “”; 
//The size of the popup window
popupSize = “175,175″
//The default location of the popup
//Uncomment this line if the proxy file is not on the same domain as the application
//proxyUrl = “/proxy/proxy.ashx”;
//Default colors for the symbols
defaultSymbols = “rgba(255,0,0,0.75);rgba(0,0,255,0.75)”;

Here’s a summary of the changes to make: insert a new map ID, change the name of the CSV file, change the field names used in the defaultFields and defaultInfoTemplate (popup window) lists, and change the title and subtitle - all very easy and straightforward edits. Now we’re ready to open our custom application.

Here’s our custom app, showing recent earthquakes from the CSV file with our social vulnerability map:


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Making a "map sandwich" on

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

Last year we wrote about the concept of a map sandwich. A map sandwich is a basic formula for a legible map mash-up. This blog post explains how you make your own map sandwich on the Web site in 10 easy steps. Continue reading

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Displaying the scalebar and position

A question about how to display the ArcGIS Explorer scalebar came up the other day in one of our forums, and we thought we’d share the answer here. 

ArcGIS Explorer Online

Hover over the navigation control in the lower left of the map to display it, then click the Show Coordinates button (labeled XY):

This button toggles the coordinate readout and scalebar, and you’ll see both display along the bottom of your map.

For more information see Using the Navigation Control in the ArcGIS Explorer Online help.

ArcGIS Explorer Desktop

Open the Display tab:

and check Scalebar on:

You’ll see the scalebar displayed in the lower right of the map.

The position information can also be toggled from the Display tab.

For more info see the Display a Scalebar help topic in the ArcGIS Explorer desktop help.

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Mapping Hurricane Igor and Hurricane Julia

According to the National Hurricane Center, as of this morning Hurricane Igor was located approximately 430 miles east northeast of the Leeward Islands and approximately 910 miles south southeast of Bermuda. Maximum sustained winds had increased overnight and were measured at 140 miles per hour - a very strong storm indeed, with a weakening Hurricane Julia just a little further east.

The Pacific Disaster Center has published a variety of layers in their active hazards map service, including earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, and more. To view the latest hurricane data, go to and choose Make a Map. This will open the viewer with the World Topographic basemap. In Find enter ”PDC” or “hazards” then click Go to locate the PDC Active Hazards map service, as shown below:

After adding the service you’ll see something like the map below. That’s Hurricane Karl across Mexico,and Igor and Julia in the Atlantic.

Click Details, then Show Contents, and you’ll see the PDC Active Hazards layer in your map. Click the layer name and you can view its sublayers, and toggle the ones you want to display.

The Pacific Disaster Center has its own group which contains other maps and apps they’ve shared.

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ArcGIS Online basemaps and the GEO Viewer

At the Gov 2.0 Summit last week we demonstrated how ArcGIS Online basemaps are being leveraged in the new GEO Viewer. We’ve had a few questions about the Viewer, so here’s how to find and use it, along with a few details about how it works. Esri’s Marten Hogeweg also covered the GEO Viewer in a post on his blog., according to Wikipedia, is a U.S. government website launched in late May 2009 by the Federal Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the United States. The site states the purpose of is to increase public access to high value, machine readable datasets generated by the Executive Branch of the Federal Government.

The GEO Viewer is a fairly recent addition, and is detailed in What’s New at the site. What’s interesting about the GEO Viewer is that it leverages ArcGIS Online basemaps (of which the world topographic basemap is composed chiefly of government-provided data from federal, state, and local government organizations) and it access the data on-the-fly from it’s URL source as catalogued at The GEO Viewer supports ArcGIS services, WMS, GeoRSS feeds, KML/Z files, as well as shapefiles.

You’ll find more information about the app at the GEO Viewer information page where you’ll also find some example data sets you can view. Click one of the preview links to use the GEO Viewer - we’ve chosen the EPA Region 1 regulated facilities in the following example:

The data will be retrieved, and you’ll have an opportunity to select colors to view the facilities:

The GEO Viewer lets you choose from the ArcGIS Online World Topographic, World Imagery, or World Streets basemaps, with the default the topographic basemap.


We’ve zoomed in to an area in downtown Boston, and you can see the detailed content that’s been recently contributed by the City of Boston via the community maps program. This provides detailed context for the locations of the facilities, which can be clicked to retrieve additional information.

Going back to the main site we’ve entered the seach keyword “copper”

Finding a match for world copper smelters and following the link to its data summary page, you’ll find preview buttons which will open the data in the GEO Viewer.

And here’s the world copper smelter data viewed overlain on the world topographic basemap.

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ArcGIS Online services in general availability, extended support, and mature support

Since Last December, two sets of map services have been hosted on ArcGIS Online. The newer set of services is in the Web Mercator Auxiliary Sphere projection. These services are actively updated, typically twice per year. The older set of services is in the original ArcGIS Online tiling scheme in GCS WGS84. These services, while still available, are no longer updated. At the end of this year, some of these older services will be retired. The other services will remain online but will no longer be updated. In the future, some of these services may be retired as well as more users migrate off them to the newer services.

The four categories of services are defined as follows:

 General availability

  • Services are actively updated and maintained
  • Before services are moved to extended support, at least six months notice will be given

 Extended support

  • Services continue to be hosted by ArcGIS Online
  • Services are no longer updated
  • Esri reserves the right to change the URL to these services with at least six months notice
  • Users are encouraged to update applications to using active services
  • Before services are moved to mature support, at least six months notice will be given

Mature support

  • Services will be removed from ArcGIS Online servers and no longer available by a specified date


  • Services have been removed from ArcGIS Online, and the services are no longer available

The following table lists services in general availability, extended support as of December 31, 2009, and mature support/scheduled for retirement December 31, 2010.

General availability

Extended support as of December 31, 2009

Mature support/scheduled for retirement December 31, 2010


USA Topographic Maps

World Imagery

World Physical Map

World Street Map

World Shaded Relief

World Terrain Base

World Topographic Map



































Reference Maps:

World Boundaries and Places

World Boundaries and Places Alternate

World Reference Overlay

World Transportation

Reference Maps:






Reference Maps:






Specialty Maps:

DeLorme World Base Map

World Navigation Charts













Specialty Maps:















Demographic Maps:

USA 1990-2000 Population Change

USA Average Household Size

USA Daytime Population

USA Diversity Index

USA Labor Force Participation Rate

USA Median Age

USA Median Home Value

USA Median Household Income

USA Median Net Worth

USA Owner Occupied Housing

USA Percent Male

USA Percent Over 64 Years Old

USA Percent Under 18 Years Old

USA Population Density

USA Projected Population Change

USA Recent Population Change

USA Retail Spending Potential

USA Tapestry Segmentation

USA Unemployment Rate


Demographic Maps:
































European Address Locator

North American Address Locator

United States Street Locator

World Places Locator



European Routing

North American Routing


 If you have questions, please post them in the ArcGIS Online forums.

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ArcGIS Online at the Gov 2.0 Summit

Yesterday at the Gov 2.0 Summit in Washington, D.C., ArcGIS Online was showcased in the context of several different applications, and with a focus towards government organizations. The demonstration showed how the World Topographic Basemap and other maps you find on ArcGIS Online can be used in many ways, and also highlighted some of the new JavaScript application templates that will be delivered soon (we covered some of the ones already available in a previous post).

The entire presentation is about 11 minutes, and can be viewed on YouTube. We’ve also included the time stamps for each demo if you want to fast forward to those.

[3:26] The demonstration started off with a brief tour of the World Topographic Basemap, highlighting content from various government sources that make it a “government community basemap.” Contributions from the USGS, EPA, Arkansas, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., New York, and Boston were showcased using a presentation authored with ArcGIS Explorer Online.

[5:05] The Geo Viewer also uses the World Topographic basemap (and other ArcGIS Online basemaps). Below are the EPA Region 1 regulated facilities shown overlain on the topographic basemap in the Boston area. The very detailed basemap contributions from the City of Boston provide great context for the location of each facility, which you can click to view more detailed information.

[5:45] was also visited, with a quick tour of the map and app galleries. Using’s search, the thousands of contributions from Esri and the user community can be discovered and viewed. During the demonstration a map showing areas that are within a one-mile walking distance to healthy supermarkets was found and viewed using the viewer.

[6:48] One of the powerful features of a map shared on ArcGIS Online is that it can be used in many ways. Here’s an example website where the same map shown above was embedded into the page using the copy and paste HTML provided when you click Share:

This makes it very easy to use any map in your own site. Here’s the same map from above in our DC Healthy Food Access website – it’s not a static image but rather an embedded live map.


In an earlier blog post we showed how easy it is to use these maps in any of the sample application templates found in the section of the JavaScript samples on the ArcGIS Resource Center. All you need to do is copy and paste the map ID into the app template and you’re well on your way to a completely custom application that requires no further editing. The source code is freely downloadable, and can be used as-is or modified to suit your needs.

[6:58] Shown below is the same food access map in a new application template (not yet available, but coming soon). The template automatically picks up the title, short description, and detailed description from the information shared with the ArcGIS Online map.

[7:13] Another template that was used (again, not yet available for download, but coming very soon) was this very useful one shown below that lets you look at three maps side-by-side.

Shown here are diabetes, obesity, and povery rates by state and county. The maps can be linked to the same scale and zoom, so when you pan or zoom one of the maps, the rest follow to the same view and scale. This makes for an intuitive and visually compelling way to compare different maps and gain a common picture of several themes, or understand relationships between them. 

[8:01] Finally, the soon-to-be-released Community Analyst was shown. It’s an application that makes it easy to visualize and use GIS analysis against a variety of demographic and thematic data (and also uses ArcGIS Online basemaps).

Below we’re using slider bars to adjust our desired data ranges for the layers we’ve chosen for our analysis; obesity rates, diabetes rates, poverty rates, and proximity to supermarkets. Using these layers and our ranges we can perform a cluster analysis, leveraging real GIS capabilities in an easy-to-use framework.

The results can be viewed on the map or in a table view (that’s also linked to the map), and can be exported to an Excel spreadsheet. Stay tuned for announcements about the availability of the Community Analyst.

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Telling stories with ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Explorer Online

ArcGIS Explorer Online is one of many ways that you can leverage ArcGIS Online basemaps and more. One of Explorer Online’s compelling features is presentations – think of them as live “map PowerPoints” that work with online data and can be easily shared. Presentations are a great way to support a briefing, make your point, or tell a story via maps. Here’s some interesting examples: San Diego Tour This one was a User Conference favorite, authored by Esri’s Rupert Essinger. It provides a tour of places to go and things to do in downtown San Diego.


Disc Golf in San Diego

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