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Join the Community Maps Program

Building basemaps from the best data

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The organizations worldwide that are contributing to the Community Maps Program are shown in the program's online dashboard.

In the Community Maps Program, Esri and the ArcGIS user community have joined forces to build multiscale basemaps of the world using the best data available from GIS professionals who work in all kinds of organizations: cities, counties, countries, and companies. This data will be made available through fast, authoritative Web maps authored at scales as large as 1:1,000.

These high-quality, accurate, and up-to-date maps can benefit organizations by reducing the cost of making data widely available. The Community Maps Program provides a foundation for thematic mapping and is a framework for delivering more effective applications.

Jeffrey Stoval, chief information officer of the City of Charlotte, North Carolina, sees the program as a way to deliver services without having to make large initial investments. "We do have investment limitations. We can't afford to always put these capabilites on premises. So the community basemap allows us to move some of those assets to the cloud to not have to have them on premises and yet provide a level of transparency to our citizens and our businesses to meet their needs."

The primary goal of the Community Maps Program is providing additional detail and coverage to existing basemaps:

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From a global scale to the level of single buildings, these online basemaps provide a reliable way for the GIS community to deliver a variety of applications through a hosted environment.

Each basemap is built with data from multiple governmental and commercial data providers. Accepted data contributed by program participants will be integrated into an existing map. The map will be processed into a map cache format (i.e., JPEG or PNG tiles) for display at multiple scales in 2D or 3D and may be included in Esri's ArcGIS Data Appliance, which is used to support the ArcGIS Online infrastructure. Esri and its data integration partner will publish updates to existing basemaps at least twice per year. Content that is accepted will be scheduled for publishing in one of these updates.

Esri supports the program through the Community Basemap Resource Center as a one-stop shop for current and future participants. For program participants, the site has map templates, geodatabase designs, and other helpful resources that include instructional videos, tips and tricks, and a forum. On the site, participants can also sign up to attend free workshops that teach suggested workflows for preparing data, authoring map documents, and caching data. The Community Maps Program team is also working on instructions, tools, and templates for participants who are migrating from ArcGIS 9.3.1 to ArcGIS 10. Those contemplating joining the program can visit the site to view a video introducing the program or sign up.

This program draws on the powerful data resources of the GIS community combined with a program that rigorously curates that data to ensure high quality. From a global scale to the level of single buildings, these online basemaps provide a reliable way for the GIS community to deliver a variety of applications through a hosted environment.

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