Tag: basemaps

ArcGIS Online World Imagery map updated

06/23/10–The World Imagery (World_Imagery) map was updated with more recent and detailed imagery for the United States and additional high-resolution imagery for several countries in Europe, including Belgium, Czech Republic, France (Region Nord-Pas-de-Calais only), Germany, Luxembourg, Portugal, and The Netherlands.

The map was updated on the standard and subscription servers (services.arcgisonline.com, server.arcgisonline.com, and premium.arcgisonline.com). If you have previously used this service, you may need to clear your cache in order to see the updates.

If you have feedback or comments about the updates, please post them to our forum.

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ArcGIS Online World Topographic Map updated with U.S. and local data

04/30/10–The World Topographic Map (World_Topo_Map) was updated to
include large-scale data for Arkansas and additional detailed local data for
Washington, D.C.

The new data for Arkansas includes coverage from a scale
of 575,000 down to 9,000 for the state and down to 4,000 for Washington County.
The data was provided by the State of
through the ESRI
Community Maps Program
. See the recent post about Community Basemaps and the Community Maps Program for information on how the program has made the World Topographic Map a Community Basemap.

The detailed city map for Washington, D.C., was updated with
additional detail including more detailed street/curb lines, driveways, and
sidewalks. This large-scale map was updated with data
provided by the District of
Columbia Geographic Information System (DCGIS)

For details on the new and updated coverage, view the list of Current World Topographic Map

If you have previously used this service, you may need to clear your cache in
order to see the updates.

If you have feedback or comments about the updates, please post them to our

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ArcGIS Online World Topographic Map updated with international and local data

03/19/10–The World
Topographic Map
(World_Topo_Map) was updated to include large-scale
international data for Canada and detailed local data for San Francisco.

The new data for Canada includes coverage from a scale of
~1:72,000 down to ~1:18,000. The data was provided by the Department of Natural Resources Canada
(NRCAN), Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and Tele Atlas (TANA).

A detailed city map for San Francisco, California, was added
to supplement the local data already available. This large-scale map was created
with data provided by the City of San Francisco from the San Francisco
Enterprise GIS Program.

For details on the new international and local coverage, view the list of Current World Topographic Map Contributors.

If you have previously used this service, you may need to clear your cache in
order to see the updates.

If you have feedback or comments about the updates, please post them to our
forum at http://forums.esri.com/forums.asp?c=188.

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ArcGIS Online Earthquake response for Chile

03/04/10–ESRI recently published an Earthquake Response for Chile group on ArcGIS Online to assist in providing data and other resouces related to the recent earthquake. The content is being published by ESRI and other organizations in support of relief activities.

At the site, a variety of resources can be found, including applications that combine ESRI maps with other types of information, links to services with relevant information, and links to downloadable data and maps.

From the group landing page, click the Contents tab to view shared content. Click on a thumbnail to open the item, or click the title for more information.

Here we opened the detailed description for one of the shared items, a Web map that combines USGS earthquake data with ArcGIS Online basemaps.


Click to open the Web map. Here we used Identify to view additional information from the USGS about each earthquake in the area. The red dots represent quakes greater than 2.5 in magnitude.

By clicking Add More Layers:


We can find additional services to mashup in our application, enabling us to build upon existing maps.

Here we found another service published by the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) and created a mashup of our original map with the PDC service, selected a new basemap, and reordered the layers in our contents.

For more information visit the ESRI Chile Earthquake Support site.

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ArcGIS Online at the Federal User Conference

02/18/10–Some of the evolving ArcGIS Online features, and a peek at forthcoming changes and enhancements, were highlighted at yesterday’s FedUC plenary session and demonstrated in the ESRI showcase and conference workshops.

The recently announced and newly updated World Imagery, World Streets, and World Topographic basemaps were featured throughout. The World Topographic map includes detailed content, such as, building footprints (in diverse worldwide locations from Geneva to Manhattan), elevation data, and even vegetation, providing coverage to 1:1,000 scale in major U.S. cities, such as, New York, Philadelphia, Portland, Pasadena, Washington, D.C., and a growing list of others.

This basemap represents a true “community basemap” built with contributions from throughout the GIS user community. Here’s an example from Washington, D.C., near the Library of Congress.

Also highlighted was the upcoming evolution of arcgisonline.com – maps.arcgis.com – which focuses on ways to provide ready-to-use maps and apps, and easy ways to share and create communities. Here’s the current map gallery – choose one and begin making your own map, or switch to the app gallery to see more examples.


A new Web mapping application is an integral part of the site, and allows users to browse ArcGIS Online, the Web, or specific ArcGIS Servers for content to mashup and share with others. New maps can also be shared via links. Here the streets basemap was chosen and mashed up with demographic data (daytime population) found on ArcGIS Online and live weather radar data discovered on the Web. Users can also connect directly to an ArcGIS Server.


Also shown was a preview of ArcGIS Explorer Online, a Silverlight-based rich internet client for working directly with ArcGIS Online content, and other resources found on the Web or at specific ArcGIS Servers.

ArcGIS Online is “built-in” to the ArcGIS user experience, and it’s inherently integrated into ArcGIS 10. Demonstrations showed how ArcMap users can find basemaps, discover additional layers to add to their maps, and modify and share data directly via ArcGIS Online. It’s a seamless and transparent part of the user experience.

More in upcoming posts, but the FedUC has provided the first glimpse at what’s ahead for ArcGIS Online and online GIS.

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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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Choosing Basemaps – Part 2

9/29/09–In Choosing Basemaps – Part 1, we took a look at some of the basemap services that ArcGIS Online offers and described how these basemaps may be used. Now, it is time to check out a few more. We will also explore some specialty services and layer packages that have the makings for a good basemap.

World Physical Map

This basemap employs a hypsometric tint in combination with a hillshade. This natural looking map is ideal as a small scale basemap or as a general small scale inset map. The hypsometric coloring makes this basemap particularly useful for data that is physical in nature. For example, this basemap would work well with physiographic data, especially if there is a general relationship between the data and elevation.

World Physical Map with volcano point data

USA Topographic Maps

Often, there is a need to refer to one or more traditional topographic map sheets for a specific project. USA Topographic Maps is a great basemap since it provides a complete mosaic of scanned topographic maps of the United States at varying scales. This basemap can be used for general reconnaissance, outdoor activity planning, resource management, surveying, and more. USA Topographic Maps includes a hillshade in conjunction with the traditional labeled elevation contours. This added feature makes the basemap very useful for tasks which require specific knowledge of the local relief of an area.

USA Topographic Maps with watershed overlay

DeLorme World Basemap

This specialty basemap is a cross between a street map and a topographic map. The cartography is clean and straightforward. Therefore, this map is useful as a general location map. Additionally, due to its clean design, this map is great when including large amounts of supplementary GIS data.

DeLorme World Basemap with flow arrow overlay

In addition to the general online basemap services, the ESRI Maps and Data group provides pre-symbolized, packaged data layers that can be downloaded and used for the creation of a basemap. When the objective of the map is clear, all you need to do is search for keywords to find data that will suit the map’s purpose.

Let’s say that you only have a simple polygon feature class layer of crime statistics for a state’s municipalities. Your goal is to cross-reference this data with census information to create a correlation between rates of crime and numerous census attributes for a particular county. In order to provide context and visual appeal to your finished map, you would like to add a few more base layers, as well as an inset map for reference. Here are some of the layers that you could download from ArcGIS Online in order to generate your basemap.

USA Census Tract Boundaries: This layer package provides the attribute data for comparison as well as the boundaries for symbolization.

USA Counties: This layer package helps to contain and emphasize the area of interest. It also brings context to the map.

USA Major Cities: By adding this layer package, the map user becomes acquainted with the area and is able to determine the affected communities.

USA Freeway System: This layer package provides even more context. It helps orient the map user within the area of interest.

USA States:  Along with the county layer, this layer package provides the basis for the inset map. By incorporating the states layer, the user will get an overall impression for the location and relationship of the county of interest and the other counties within the state.

Layer packages come pre-symbolized and pre-labeled. However, to suit the purpose of your map, a few adjustments can always be made. The example below is an illustration of a hypothetical crime map with the addition of the layer packages mentioned above. Very little manipulation of the symbology was necessary in producing the finished map.

Customized map using layer packages

These are just some of the basemap services and layer packages that the ESRI Maps and Data group provide. There is an extensive amount of useful data in many different formats. By accessing this online service, your ability to create both practical and comprehensible maps becomes even easier. Data is always being added and is ready to be downloaded and used in whichever creative, exciting, and constructive manner you may imagine.

Contributed by Cindy Prostak of the ArcGIS Content team

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Choosing Basemaps – Part 1

9/4/09–The Internet has made it increasingly simpler to create maps or mashups that we can upload and share out on the Web, use personally, or apply at our place of work. Typically, when we want to create a map, we are attempting to communicate something to people. We want our map to get our point across. In order to do that, we need to make sure that we are using the appropriate components to create the right type of map.

Maps are usually comprised of many different elements, such as points, lines, areas, text, and so on. Some of the map elements are the main feature, while others provide the background and are considered the basemap. A basemap provides the foundation for all of the other components of a map. So, picking the appropriate basemap will ensure that what you want to express will be apparent.

Often, we only have access to the data that we want to highlight in a map, and we have to search around for other data to create a basemap. Rather than expending valuable time and resources, the ArcGIS Online Resource Center and new ArcGIS Online Sharing Application offer a selection of maps, layers, and services that can be used as a base. However, there are several to choose from. So, how do we pick a basemap? The following is a quick overview of some of ArcGIS Online’s basemaps and a description of the type of data that would work well with each one.

World Street Map

This basemap is especially useful when applying transportation-related data or when performing routing or geocoding tasks. In addition, many business-related data can overlay this type of basemap. For example, a real estate company can apply their data with street map basemaps in order to create mashups. Potential buyers can then use the Web map to find the location of homes that are for sale.

World Street Map with point data

World Shaded Relief

This basemap is great for a number of applications. It can be used in conjunction with data that relates to terrain, such as, watershed, trail, and outdoor activity mapping. Or it may be used as an underlay to bring life to flat “basic-looking” maps. It is great for augmenting traditional topographic maps.

World Shaded Relief with polygon overlay


Satellite imagery can be used for specific applications for weather related and natural disaster mapping. Imagery is also useful as a basemap when highlighting land use and property data. Often imagery will be combined with other basemaps, such as, street maps, so that comparisons can be made between the imagery and the more traditional reference map.

World Imagery with a land use overlay

World Topographic Map

This new map is great for both reference and topographic purposes. It uses best available sources and can be used for general way-finding, planning, site location, and many other purposes that traditional topographic maps are intended for. This map contains bathymetry, shaded relief, and elevation point data. In addition, the map highlights many physiographic landforms.

World Topographic Map with a recreational trail overlay

World Terrain Base

This map is designed for use as a basemap to overlay other thematic layers such as demographics or land cover. Like the World Topographic Map, it contains shaded relief and bathymetry. The map’s coloring is a light neutral tone, which makes it ideal for large area data overlays.

World Terrain Base with point, line and area overlay

Stay tuned for more descriptions of maps, layers and services in Choosing Basemaps – Part 2.

Contributed by Cindy Prostak of the ArcGIS Content team

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