Category: ArcGIS Online

Content for Haiti on ArcGIS Online and disaster assistance

01/13/10–The recent devastating earthquake centered near Port-au-Prince in Haiti has lots of GIS responders scrambling for data and other information. As a quick start, the Bing Maps aerials provide a pre-quake substrate for other data and analysis.

We also found this recently posted Web app by searching for “haiti.”

The application shows the locations of the earthquake and related aftershocks.

Visit ESRI’s disaster response and assistance site to request help and locate other resources or to contact the ESRI Disaster Coordination team.

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ArcGIS Online as a substrate for GeoDesign (and more)

01/11/10–Last week’s GeoDesign Summit was a landmark gathering of professionals and academics involved in applying technology, engineering, and planning in a rapidly changing world. One of the fundamental themes of the meeting was the pairing of GIS and design, and how the design process could be enhanced by GIS. Several of the demonstrations utilized ArcGIS Online content and tools to underscore those themes, and showed how ArcGIS Online could be used as a substrate for GeoDesign.

ArcGIS Online can play a key role in providing an excellent substrate upon which to work, whether you’re a GeoDesigner, GIS user, or Web mapper looking for great content to build upon. A recent post highlighted some of the content additions and updates, and we received some additional questions about those after the GeoDesign Summit. Here’s a quick review of some of the latest content updates and some highlights of things that were shown last week.

The updated World Imagery map now compiles the best available imagery for the United States plus high-resolution imagery around the world. At the GeoDesign Summit we took a closer look at some of those cities, including London and Geneva, which is shown below. High resolution imagery is included for thousands of cities outside the United States.

Bing Maps for Enterprise aerial, hybrid, and roads add yet another dimension to worldwide high resolution imagery and street data available via ArcGIS Online. Shown below is a section of London:

The new World Street map includes building footprints for major cities worldwide with contributions from a variety of sources including ESRI users. Shown below is a section of Rome:

And here’s an even more detailed (1:1K) section of Philadelphia:

The World Topographic map was highlighted, with a new cartographic presentation of data from the best available sources, such as the USGS, EPA, TeleAtlas, and local sources. Shown here is a section of Pennsylvania:

And here’s a very detailed section of Pasadena, California, with highly detailed buildings and terrain from LIDAR data.

These new basemaps (and others we’ve not mentioned in this post) provide great maps you can use as-is or to represent a great canvas for your design or GIS work. The best way to experience these is to try them for yourself – just follow the links to preview them or add them directly to your ArcGIS desktop.

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Creating direct links to items in ArcGIS Online

01/05/10–Once you upload something to ArcGIS Online, how you can create a direct link to the item that opens it? For example, suppose you upload a layer package and want to send someone an email that will let them open the layer package in ArcGIS. You don’t want the link to display the item description; you want the layer package in ArcGIS Online to open directly in ArcMap or ArcGIS Explorer. Here’s how to do it.

Navigate to your item in ArcGIS Online. For this blog, we’ll use a layer package that’s published by ESRI:

Notice that the URL to the item contains an ID (e.g., 84dbc97915244e35808e87a881133d09).

To create a direct link to the item, substitute this ID in the URL below:<insert ID here>/data

So in the example above, the URL for the direct link would be:

One very important note: In order for this direct link to work, your item must be shared with everyone.

You can email this link or embed it in a Web page like this:

<a href=”
84dbc97915244e35808e87a881133d09/data”>ESRI World Regions Layer Package</a>

If you have questions, please post them to our forum at

Contributed by Mike Minami of the ArcGIS Online development team

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USGS and ArcGIS Online map natural hazard events

12/30/09–Earlier this morning several of us sitting in our offices felt the roll of an earthquake – where could it be? Visiting the USGS Natural Hazards Support System site we quickly learned that the quake we felt was located in Baja California, measuring in at hefty 5.8 with a number of aftershocks, one measuring 4.9.

The USGS Rocky Mountain Geographic Science Center, based in Denver, recently released the Natural Hazards Support system application which is built using ArcGIS Online’s JavaScript API (one of several ArcGIS Web mapping APIs available via ArcGIS Online), several ArcGIS Online basemaps, and additional services powered by ArcGIS Server.

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ArcGIS Online maps updated and migrated to Google Maps/Bing Maps tiling scheme

12/22/09–As announced in November, the ArcGIS Online servers were updated late last week (,,, and the hosted ArcGIS Online map services were migrated to the Google Maps/Bing Maps tiling scheme in Web Mercator Auxiliary Sphere (WKID 102100). These map services may be used for both 2D and 3D display.

New (updated) maps

The following new maps were published in Web Mercator Auxiliary Sphere (WKID 102100) using the ArcGIS Google Maps/Bing Maps tiling scheme. The new maps are listed in the table below along with the existing maps and globes using the ArcGIS Online tiling scheme that are updated with these new maps.

New maps in Google Maps/Bing Maps tiling scheme Existing maps in ArcGIS Online tiling scheme being updated



















Summary of updates to these maps

The new World_Imagery map consolidates the best of the USA Prime Imagery map and earlier World Imagery map, including the best available imagery for the United States plus high-resolution imagery around the world. The map includes more recent and detailed imagery for the United States, including i-cubed Nationwide Prime 1m or better resolution imagery featuring Aerials Express 0.3 to 0.6m resolution imagery for metropolitan areas, and Getmapping 1m imagery for Great Britain.

The new World_Street_Map includes enhancements to cartography at all scale levels, and updates to the latest AND global road data and Tele Atlas street data at large scales. It also includes additional coverage for large scale maps for other countries and regions such as South Africa, Japan, Thailand, Colombia, and Hong Kong.

The new World_Transportation, World_Boundaries_and_Places, and World_Boundaries_and_Places_Alternate maps include updates to the latest AND global road data at large scales.

New demographic maps introduced

Seven new demographic services featuring 2009 data from ESRI’s demographic data team were also published in Web Mercator Auxiliary Sphere (WKID 102100):

Maps updated to Web Mercator Auxiliary Sphere

The following maps previously published in Web Mercator (WKID 102113) were updated to Web Mercator Auxiliary Sphere (WKID 102100):

3D globes removed from the Premium environment

The following 3D globe services were removed from the Premium environment ( Subscription users who want to use these 3D globe services in a production environment can access them on the freely available servers ( and

Note about maps and globes in the current ArcGIS Online tiling scheme

The existing map and globe services in the ArcGIS Online tiling scheme will remain available for at least six months on the ArcGIS Online servers and, depending on need, may remain available longer. Although the map and globe services will remain available, the content in these services will no longer be updated.

Additional information

For details about the migration, see Migrating map tiling schemes in ArcGIS Online Help.

Note for ArcGIS Desktop 9.2 users: The Web Mercator Auxiliary Sphere coordinate system is not supported in 9.2. ArcGIS Desktop 9.3 or more recent is required to use these new services.

If you have questions, please post them to our forum at

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British Geological Survey uses ArcGIS Online as part of OpenGeoscience

12/14/09–Last week the British Geological Survey (BGS) launched a new web site – OpenGeoscience – a service where users can view maps and access a wide variety of other information. According to a recent GeoConnexion article the site provides the world’s first open-access application providing street-level geological mapping for an entire country, with on-the-fly viewing of bedrock and superficial geology overlaid on street maps and aerials.

The Geology of Britain viewer uses ArcGIS Online basemaps and JavaScript API to deliver access to detailed geologic information to anyone via the Web. The app features a toggle for streets or aerials, a transparency slider, and popup information with links to detailed descriptions of bedrock and superficial geology.

The viewer, along with a wide variety of other resources, has made the site extremely popular. According to GeoConnexion it was the most popular story on BBC News Online, with over 70,000 visitors to the BGS web site from the time it appeared at 10.30 a.m. That’s the number of visitors BGS normally gets in an average month. There were more than 10 million image hits (1000 a second!) and 300,000 page views.

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Mapping climate change with ArcGIS Online

12/11/09–A collection of interactive maps from The Nature Conservancy, ESRI, and many other contributors, showing various aspects of global climate change are featured at the ESRI Climate Change Web site, which links to a variety of other interesting and useful resources. These applications use ArcGIS Online basemaps and JavaScript API.

The Climate Wizard, shown below, has been developed through collaboration between The Nature Conservancy, The University of Washington, and The University of Southern Mississippi. The Climate Wizard enables technical and non-technical audiences alike to easily and intuitively access leading climate change information and visualize the impacts anywhere on Earth.

Another climate change demonstration allows you to interactively investigate and compare various future climate models and scenarios.


And another application shows future projected change in mean temperature from the 1961 to 1990 baseline average using the Average Ensemble climate model and includes an animation capability to look at change over time.

All are good examples of how ArcGIS Online can be leveraged along with other data to create a complete application.

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Geography Network to be retired

12/09/09–The Geography Network was first launched in 2000, a milestone in the history of online geographic information. The Geography Network has served many users and organizations with many maps and a wide variety of geographic content over the years.

With lots of changes over time to online GIS and geographic information and the technologies used to serve them, the Geography Network has been replaced by better alternatives to publish and find data (like ArcGIS Online). Much of the same exact content, and much more content that has been updated, can now be found and used in easier and better ways. So ESRI is planning to retire the Geography Network in late December 2009.

Here’s a look at population diversity with the old (ArcExplorer Web on the left connected to ArcIMS services) and the new (ArcGIS Online on the right connected to new content served as ArcGIS Server cached services). The snapshots alone don’t do justice to the fact that the user experience is now far better, easier, and much faster using ArcGIS Online.

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ESRI Data & Maps 2009 Update now available

12/08/09–ESRI Data & Maps is a collection of preconfigured data and maps for ArcGIS. It is freely available for all ArcGIS customers as a set of DVDs or layer packages you can download from ArcGIS Online.

An update to the 2009 version is now available. For details about what’s new, see the ArcGIS Data blog.

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World topographic map updates

The ESRI World Topographic Map has been updated to include more detailed global data and additional detailed city maps in the United States (for more information you can view the ArcGIS Online blog post).

For Explorer users in the U.S. this provides an alternative to the standard USGS topographic map services. The USGS topos were designed for printed map use, the cartography in the world topographic map is designed for use as an online basemap. Here’s a comparison of the USGS topo map service and the new world topographic map using swipe.


As you zoom in you’ll find additional detail where available. For example, here we’ve zoomed to Portland, Oregon to view building footprints and more.

And here we’re looking at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena (USGS topo shown at top in the first image).

Regardless of whether you’re looking for basemaps or a detailed reference layer, the world topographic map will surely prove to be very useful.

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