Category: Community Maps

Integrating Large-er scale maps with ArcGIS Online Services


Integrating Larger Scale maps in ArcGIS Viewer for Flex


While conducting Community Maps client workshops over the past year I’ve had one particular reoccurring question from clients which seemed like a good topic to bring up in a Blog.

 ”How can we build and consume larger scale basemaps than the ArcGIS Online World Topographic Service in our Web-Applications (larger than 1:1,000)?”

First a brief review on the current ArcGIS Online (cached map) scales.  The current World Topographic map service for ArcGIS Online follows an industry standard tiling scheme (Google Maps and Bing) which dictates the zoom levels and coordinate system used for the cache tiles.  The tiling scheme used for ArcGIS Online and Google Maps/Bing ranges from zoom levels (0-19) or map scales 1:591 Million to 1:1,000.  See the illustration below for more detail or visit the Planning Map Cache online help here.

ArcGIS Online levels and scales

This means that the largest scale that can be cached in the World Topographic Service is 1:1,000.  However, this does not necessarily mean that a web application couldn’t consume other map services hosted by a client with larger scales cached in a similar tiling scheme!

I recently met with Derek Law, the Esri Product Manager of the ArcGIS Viewer for Flex to discuss this very matter.  He was intrigued to hear this user request and stepped in to provide the following instructions for integrating multiple map services in the ArcGIS Viewer for Flex.

Instructions for implementing two (2) map services with different cache scales in the ArcGIS Viewer for Flex

The ArcGIS Viewer for Flex is a released ready-to-deploy viewer application. It is configurable, so you can easily add tools and data content without programming. You can also extend its functionality with custom widgets available from the Esri community, or create custom widgets yourself with the ArcGIS API for Flex.  To get started, the viewer can be downloaded at this link.

The Viewer’s map scale level is determined by the first basemap layer that is loaded into it; this is the first layer that is specified in the application configuration file (e.g., config.xml) with a <layer> tag. Subsequent layers that are added to the viewer will confirm to the map scale level set by the first basemap layer.

In some instances, you may want to include more levels of detail (LOD), for additional map services that contain more detailed information than the first basemap loaded into the Viewer. These LODs would be at a finer (i.e., greater) resolution than the highest map scale set by the first basemap. This capability can be enabled by editing the Viewer’s application configuration file.

map service 1 (Hosted on ArcGIS Online) – City level data, cached map service (1:1,000 to 1:9,000 scale levels)
map service 2 (Hosted by Client) – City Block level data, cached map service (1:500 to 1:250 scale levels)

By default, the Viewer’s application configuration file (config.xml) would look something like this:

<map initialextent=”-14083000 3139000 -10879000 5458000″ top=”40″>


            <layer label=”Streets” type=”tiled” visible=”true”                       url=” service 1″/>



In which case, the Viewer’s map scale level would be set from 1:1000 to 1:9000 scale levels. Now, if you wanted to include more LODs by adding map service 2, you would use the <lods> tag, like so:

<map initialextent “-20037507.067168 -20037507.0671618 20037507.0671618  20037507.0671619″ top=”40″>


            <layer label=”Streets” type=”tiled” visible=”true”                        url=”” displaylevels=”8,9,10″ />



<lods><!– show levels that you want to see on Navigation Slider–>

        <lod resolution=0.0439453125" scale="18468599.9106772"/>

        <lod resolution=”0.02197265625″ scale=”9234299.95533859″/>

      <lod resolution=”0.010986328125″ scale=”4617149.97766929″/>



The resolution and scale attributes of the <lods> tag can be determined from the REST Endpoint:

Open this link in browser:

Copy paste levels of display from:

  • Levels of Detail: (# Levels: 9)

Resolution: 156543.033928
Scale: 591657527.591555

Resolution: 78271.5169639999
Scale: 295828763.795777

Resolution: 39135.7584820001
Scale: 147914381.897889

Resolution: 611.49622628138
Scale: 2311162.217155


View from REST Endpoint for Levels of Detail

These instructions are specific for the ArcGIS Viewer of Flex, however if you need assistance with a similar situation for another ArcGIS API such as JavaScript or Silverlight send an email to and I can direct you to the appropriate product specialist.

For more information on the ArcGIS Viewer for Flex or other web API’s be sure to check out the Web Resource Center at the following link for further information.

Written by:  Seth Sarakaitis



Posted in Community Maps | 1 Comment

January 2011 Community Map Contributors

We are starting off 2011 with a great batch of new participants! Congratulations to all.

City of Arlington, Texas

Arlington Community Map

 City of Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Chapel Hill Community Map 

City of Fredericton, New Brunswick

Fredericton Community Map

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Sequoia-Kings Canyon Community Map

Sudan (73M – 144K)

Sudan Community Map 


City of St. Albert, Alberta

Williamson County, Texas

City of Greenville, South Carolina

Langley-Surrey, British Columbia

City of Oak Bay, British Columbia

City of San Antonio, Texas

Don’t feel left out! Join us by sharing your little corner of the world through our Community Map program. Complete the participation form and you could be one of the next contributors listed here!

Posted in Community Maps | Leave a comment

Creating stadium seating in a Community Maps area of interest

Often the AOI (area of interest) in a Community Map consists of a university or a park that includes a sports stadium. You can use the following process to create details for your stadium feature:

Create a polygon based on the inside stadium extent and copy it to its own separate feature class.

inside stadium extent

Edit corners to eliminate extra jags.

Eliminate jags

Open ArcToolbox and select Analysis Tools -> Proximity -> Multiple Ring Buffer

Add 2, 4, 6, 8 and so on until you reach the number 40 (this may need to be adjusted based on the size of your stadium)

Dissolve Option (optional): NONE

Outside Polygons Only (optional): Check on

 Multiple Ring Buffer dialog box


Compare new multipleringbuffer layer to your original stadium polygon and make sure your multiple ring buffer completely covers the stadium seating area.

 Multiple Ring Buffer


Clip the multipleringbuffer to the original stadium polygon

Use the Polygon to Line tool to make your clipped multipleringbuffer into a line coverage

Using airphoto imagery, add section lines, walkways and exits tunnels

Symbolize with these suggested values:

a.       Seating lines

                                                               i.      9K to 1K: RGB: 204,204,204; Outline Width: 0.40

b.      Sections lines

                                                               i.      9K to 1K: RGB: 204,204,204; Outline Width: 1.00

c.       Walkways lines (should draw on top of Seating and Section lines)

                                                               i.      9K: does not display

                                                             ii.      4.5K:  RGB: 255,255,255; Outline Width: 1.50

                                                            iii.      2K:  RGB: 255,255,255; Outline Width: 2.50

                                                           iv.      1K: first dashed line RGB: 189,189,197; Outline Width: 1.00

                                                             v.      1K: second solid line RGB: 255,255,255; Outline Width: 3.00

d.      Stadium Tunnel polygons

                                                               i.      9K: does not display

                                                             ii.      4.5K: inner rectangle RGB: 204,204,204

                                                            iii.      4.5K: outer rectangle RGB: 255,255,255

                                                           iv.      2K: inner rectangle RGB: 178,178,178

                                                             v.      2K: outer rectangle RGB: 255,255,255; Outline Width: 0.50; Outline RGB: 225,225,225

                                                           vi.      1K: inner rectangle RGB: 178,178,178

1K: outer rectangle RGB: 255,255,255; Outline Width: 0.50; Outline RGB: 225,225,225

Stadium example at 4.5K:


Stadium example at 1K:

1K example

Close-up of Stadium Tunnels, walkways, sections and seating at 1K:

Close up stadium tunnels, walkways and seating

Posted in Community Maps | Leave a comment

Momentum Patterns for Contributors


Community Maps Program Momentum

The expanding global community of content providers is fueling momentum in the Community Maps Program. With over 250 authoritative content providers joining the program over the past 12 months participants range from college campuses to municipalities to state/province and entire countries.  In addition to the overall rate of growth in the program, we have identified some interesting participation patterns.

Total Participation Chart

Contributor momentum is occurring in both vertical and horizontal patterns.  Vertical momentum is occurring when municipalities are joining with their respective counties or state governments.  The vertical data integration pattern shows national and state organizations producing maps for the medium scales while contained within the larger boundary, counties/cities/universities are developing the large-scale map layers.  City government organizations are working with their county to partner in the program and build up content for their areas.  These nested organizations are recognizing the benefits of the organized consistency for maps at different scales for organizations which need basemaps which extend outside of their boundaries. For example the State of North Carolina content is being used for medium scales of the map and Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte fill in the large scales. 



Vertical Data Integration

This vertical data integration is apparent for the international community as well.  Nation-wide maps at small and medium scales are being developed with content from National Mapping Organizations while cities are supplying content for the larger scales.  For example the Canadian medium scale basemap includes data provided by Natural Resources Canada while City of Toronto content makes up the larger scales in the World Topographic Map service.

Participation to the program is also growing in a horizontal pattern.  Neighboring city and county government organizations are expanding the map coverage for their areas.  City GIS departments are reaching out to their neighbors to join the program and build seamless large-scale basemaps.  The City of Boston Massachusetts encouraged neighboring City of Cambridge, MA to join and create a smooth, consistent map across their boundary.  This momentum was observed by the Waltham, MA GIS coordinator and was the trigger for his organization to join.  Waltham, located in eastern Massachusetts, is a western suburb of Boston. Eric Rizzo, the Waltham GIS Coordinator saw this as a great opportunity to be a part of a bigger effort and showcase his city’s data along with the surrounding larger municipalities in the Boston metro area.

This participation has encouraged regional agencies to join up on the program.  The Metro Area Planning Agency (MAPA) of eastern Nebraska and western Iowa see tremendous benefit to having a metro-wide basemap.  MAPA is a five-county Council of Governments (COG) with two Iowa Counties (Pottawattamie and Mills) and three Nebraska Counties (Washington, Douglas, and Sarpy).  As a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) they are focused at looking at the metro area as a whole and work to address cross-jurisdictional concerns.  MAPA contributes to the regional GIS effort regularly through support for various GIS positions and projects and acting as a “funding umbrella” of sorts when aerial photography acquisition is needed and regional jurisdictions (many outside of the MAPA COG) join together and pool money for these costly products.

Paul Hunt, the MAPA Assistant Transportation Planner states, “The Esri Community Maps Program was brought to our attention by one of our County GIS departments.  We immediately recognized the benefits of a seamless MAPA basemap and met with all our county jurisdictions and gathered their participation in the program.  We feel there will be many benefits of having the seamless basemap coverage at large-scales for our area for daily (ArcMap desktop) GIS activities as well as providing a basemap for our Web-applications.
“Our biggest jurisdiction, Douglas County NE (City of Omaha), has engaged in Web-mapping application projects where the coverage expands outside their jurisdiction.  We feel that contributing our trusted content to the ArcGIS Online World Topographic Map Service will provide the seamless basemap to aid in the success of these applications. “

Metropolitan Area Planning Agency Coverage Map

“We are very gratified and encouraged by the growth of this community map in the past year” states Esri’s ArcGIS Online manager Deane Kensok.  “We are finding new publishing opportunities for the user community with this basemap.  As for the growth among these neighboring communities, we know that these agencies communicate with their neighbors on a regular basis about GIS activities and see that word-of-mouth can be a great driver for broader collaboration and participation in these community maps.”


Written by:  Seth Sarakaitis

Posted in Community Maps | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

September 2010 Community Map Contributors

A big welcome to our newest Topographic Basemap contributors!

Outagamie County, Wisconsin

Example of Outagamie County, VA 

Henrico County, Virginia

Kamloops, British Columbia

Example of Kamloops, BC 

Nanaimo, British Columbia

Toronto, Ontario (update)


Their maps and many others can be viewed at

Share your community with the world! Complete the participation form and join the Community Basemap program.


Posted in Community Maps | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Creating the Citation Layer

The Citation Layer is one of the most important elements of the Community Map project and must be delivered to the Community Map team by the time the final cache is to be sent for upload. Your final cache will not be uploaded without its corresponding Citation layer. It is fairly simple to create and is usually comprised of existing boundary layers that have been generalized.

The Citation Layer’s purpose is to acknowledge sources used within your project extent. This is where your organization’s participation is mentioned as the data layer sources are broken down by source provider.

 Citation Example

Using a county extent as an example Community Map project, here is how a Citation Layer is created:

1. Under the CM_GDBTemplate.gdb, locate the WorldTopMapSources feature class. This is where you will add your citation information. Also located in the same geodatabase is the WorldTopMapSources_Example feature class which illustrates an example Citation Layer.
WorldTopMapSources Location
2. In ArcMap, copy the county boundary polygon into the WorldTopMapSources feature class.
3. GENERALIZE the layer if it contains a large amount of vertices. This layer will not display so don’t worry if the end result appears jagged.

Before generalization 

After generalization
4. Edit the added polygon for the following fields:

  • OrgFullName: Full name of the organization
  • OrgHomePage: Web address of the organization’s home page
  • DataDnldDate: Date on which the data was downloaded, if applicable
  • DataDnldURL: Web address of the data download page, if applicable
  • OrgAbbrName: Abbreviation of the organization name, if applicable
  • OrgIsAuthority: Organization has legal authority on the data; 1 for YES and 0 for NO
  • DataMetaDataURL: Web address of the metadata, if applicable
  • DataSvcURL: Web address of the data service, if applicable
  • DataSetFullName: Full name of the dataset (you can list all datasets from this organization here)
  • DataSetShortName: Short name of the dataset, if applicable
  • ESRINotes: Any notes for Esri
  • MinMapLevel: 16 (if using Large Scale template only)
  • MaxMapLevel: 19 (if using Large Scale template only)

5. If you obtained source data from another organization, for example hydrology from the United States Geological Survey, copy the county boundary you generalized above and edit the necessary fields to credit the United States Geological Survey (USGS) for this data source.

6. If you obtained source for a subset area within your project extent, for example University data for an Area of Interest, copy the University polygon to the WorldTopMapSources. If the polygon does not exist, create a simplified one covering the University location. Edit the necessary fields to credit the University for this source.

7. Your final Citation Layer will probably have several copies of the same generalized boundary referencing several different data source organizations. It may also contain subset boundaries referencing data source organizations for specific areas.

Example Citation Layer 

8. Once your Citation Layer is complete, deliver it to the Community Map team. They will send it along with your final cache to the ArcGIS On-Line team for upload.

Posted in Community Maps | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Supervised Classification to Create Vegetation Layer

The Vegetation Layer indicates tree canopy and represents one of the recommended base layers within the Community Basemap: providing depth and realism to the map.













A recommended vegetation development workflow that leverages the ArcGIS10.0 Image Analysis Window and NDVI function is available here on the Community Basemaps Resource Center. Optimal output requires 4-band imagery (Infrared band). Where 4-band imagery is not available, we suggest using the new Image Classification Tool Bar to create a classified image from 3-band imagery. This reclassification process is dramatically simplified with the newly available tools in ArcGIS10.0. 3-band and 4-band imagery can be found at the USDA’s Geospatial Gateway for most of the United States.  


1.      Add 3-band imagery to ArcMap and make sure the Spatial Analyst Extension is on

2.      Open the Image Classification Toolbar



3.      Select your image in the pull down Training Sample Manager button

4.      Zoom into an area with forests and use the Draw Training Sample with Polygon button to draw an area that has just forests in it or just around trees




5.      Add more training areas, include many polygons of open spaces and areas that do not have trees

6.      Open the Training Sample Manager while collecting these by clicking on the Sample Manager Button highlighted below on the Image Classification Toolbar (tip: pause your computer screen for this)



7. Rename the Class Name for vegetation Trees and select the rest to merge together using the Merge button on the Training Sample Manager 




8.      In the Image Classification Toolbar, select Interactive Supervised Classification


9. Open the properties for the new Classification image

10. Go to the Symbology tab, open the colors for the
Class 1 (trees).  Click on more colors
and set the color to HSV to H: 80, S: 39 and V: 89 and make the other class No


11. End result should look like this with imagery behind it

12.      Double click on Layers in the Table of Contents

13.      Click on the coordinates tab

14.      Change the projection to Web Mercator (Auxiliary Sphere)

15.      Right click on the classification image, go to Data, Data Export


16.      Export the image:                 

                  a.       Clipped to the county or city boundary (you must add that layer before hand, convert it to a graphic and select that graphic)                 

                  b.      Using the data frame spatial reference system

c.       Set the Format to an ERDAS Imagine or TIFF image

 17. Click Save


18. You may have to promote the pixel depth to store no data values on the next dialog (if you clipped the raster to a non-rectangular extent).

19. Click Yes to add the exported raster as a layer

20. Open the properties for the exported raster21.  Set the colors as in Step 10



If you need additional help with these procedures, please email



Posted in Community Maps | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Tips for a Successful Cache

Once you’ve completed the data migration and map authoring stages of your Community Basemap project, you are ready to start caching! Here is a list of common caching issues you can reference in order to produce a successful cache.


Review your map document for completeness:

1. Map document data frame projection is correct for your version of ArcMap. An incorrect projection results in extra cache time as a re-project step is added.

  • Arc9.3.1: WGS_1984_Web_Mercator
  • Arc10: WGS_1984_Web_Mercator_Auxiliary_Sphere

projection image

2. Cache extent layer:

  • Is in the top-most position of your TOC
  • Is NOT symbolized
  • Is split into more than one polygon

3. Cache Mask layer is present in the top-most position of each scale.

toc image

4. All layers are properly sourced and set to display at each scale.

5. The following Representation symbology is correctly set at each scale:

  • BuildingFootprintDropShadow
  • Administrative Boundary Line
  • National Park
  • State Park

6. Any airphoto imagery is removed from your map document.

7. No feature is selected within your project extent or it will display selected in your cache.


Caching Set-Up

1. Have all fonts (including Cambria) properly installed on your caching server. Please see this blog if you have trouble installing them.

2. Under your Map Service Properties on the Caching tab, ensure the Image Settings are correctly adjusted:

  • Tile Format: JPEG
  • Compression: 90
  • Click ON: Smooth line and label edges (anti-aliasing)
  • Load the Tiling Scheme from ArcGIS Online / Bing Maps / Google Maps (for ArcGIS 10) or Microsoft Virtual Earth / Google Maps (for ArcGIS 9.3)
  • Do not adjust the Scale levels, leave all 20 scales in the Service Properties.  Then specify which scales to cache when you go to the next step in the Manage Map Server Cache Tiles dialog.

caching image


Cache Delivery Options

1. If there are no firewall issues, email the link of your map cache URL to

2. If #1 is not an option, mail a hard copy (DVD or hard drive) of your map cache including your Cache Extent layer to:


Attention: Colin Stokes – Community Maps Program

380 New York Street

Redlands, CA  92373-8100


Posting Cache on ArcGIS Online

There are three important elements that need to be delivered for posting your cache on ArcGIS Online:

  1. An approved cache
  2. A Citation Layer
  3. A signed Legal Agreement
Posted in Community Maps | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

August 2010 Community Map Contributors

Congratulations to our most recent Topographic Basemap contributors!

City of Greenwood Village, Colorado

Iredell County, North Carolina

Lincoln County, North Carolina

City of Tulsa, Oklahoma

City of Virginia Beach, Virginia

Thank you for sharing your data and maps with the community. You can view their contributions at

If you would like to become an integral part of this innovative worldwide data sharing program, please complete the participation form and tell us how you would like to contribute.



Posted in Community Maps | Tagged , | Leave a comment