ArcGIS Hub

3D Web Scenes, Vector Tile Basemaps, and more coming to ArcGIS Hub

Maps help people plan, envision, and connect to the places around them. With ArcGIS Hub, you can share maps using sites and initiatives to show your team or community where park improvements are needed, how many grocery stores are within a ten minute walk, or where a proposed school or housing development is planned. Whether you want your map to take center stage or supplement a project outline, ArcGIS Hub sites and initiatives enable you to connect people with the content they need to stay informed and provide feedback.

Now, it’s easier for you and your team to build engaging websites and pages using 3D maps and other spatial content.

Map card, now in 3D

You can now add 3D web scenes to your sites and pages using the map card. Scenes create an interactive 3D model for showcasing a variety of scenarios, like proposed development, underground utilities, and more.

To add one to your site, drag-and-drop a map card onto your site’s layout and select a map that’s your own or one that’s been shared with your team or organization. You can also choose from publicly shared scenes. 

Don’t have a scene, yet? Learn how to create one.

Adding map card to a site's layout.
Adding a 3d scene is as simple as 1,2,3. Open a site, drag-and-drop a map card, then choose the scene you want to add!
If you’ve already embedded a web scene on your site using an iframe card, switch over to the map card. It’s easier to configure and is more performant.

 

Support for vector tile base maps

Vector tiles provide a better user experience with faster performance, style, and are mobile-friendly, meaning people won’t experience a change in a map’s quality just because they’re using a phone or tablet. ArcGIS Hub now supports vector tile basemaps so that anyone viewing spatial data on a search result’s dataset preview page can explore a map of the data displayed over vector tiles.
Basemap configuration.
Configuring a site's basemaps in edit mode.

To configure this for your site, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure that the vector tile basemap you want to use belongs to your ArcGIS Online organization’s Basemap Gallery.
  2. Open your site in edit mode.
  3. Click Settings on the Customize panel.
  4. Click Configure Map.
  5. Click the dropdown menu to choose your basemap.
  6. Click Save.

Boundaries in search results

When you search for data by location, we now show the boundary of public feature layers to offer a more accurate representation of the layer’s spatial footprint compared to its extent. This helps people differentiate between multiple layers that share a jurisdictional extent. Try it out by entering near before a query in the search bar at hub.arcgis.com. Here’s an example.

Public feature layer on the dataset preveiw page.
A public feature layering showing multiple boundaries on the preview page.

Showing features when it makes sense

We’ve also improved how we handle layers with a large number of features. Whenever possible, we want to show a layer’s features because they offer the most interactive user experience including hover labels, popups, and smart mapping renderers. For layers with a large number of features, factors such as a layer’s geometry type and number of attributes, the user’s device and network connection, and the server’s capabilities can influence when it makes sense to show the features themselves versus using an alternate visualization of the layer (e.g. geohash, heatmap, clusters, etc.). We took advantage of the feature rendering performance boosts in the latest version of the ArcGIS API for Javascript to improve how we consider those factors and determine at what scales to show a layer’s features. People will now notice that we show features at more scales for more layers.
Census block layers.
This example shows the census blocks layers at all scales, allowing people to apply any of its fields' smart mapping renderers, even when zoomed out to its full extent.

This means that we’re retiring the Hub’s geohash visualization capability in preparation for new visualization techniques for layers with very large numbers of features. In the meantime, we’ll show either the layer’s boundary (public layers only) or its extent until zoomed in. Don’t worry, you won’t have to click zoom-in over and over again. You’ll start to see features in as few clicks as possible even for statewide, nationwide, or global layers.

Comparison of boundary versus extent layers.
The image on the left shows a feature layer's extent, whereas the improved image on the right is more meaningful because it focuses exactly where the boundary is, rather than its extent.

An upgraded mapping API

We’re making the switch from version 3 to version 4 of the ArcGIS API Javascript so that our team can deliver mapping features and performance improvements. This transition won’t affect your content, sites, or events. However, if you notice that older versions of your web map don’t work, follow the ArcGIS Online viewer link provided in the warning message to open your map. Just save the map again, and we’ll take care of updating it to the latest version. 

Warning message for outdated map.
This warning message provides a link for you to follow so you can save your map to the most recent version.

What’s next

Stay tuned for more good things to come. Updating the ArcGIS Hub to version 4 of the ArcGIS API for JavaScript has already unlocked the exciting new features we just talked about. It also laid the foundation for more new mapping features coming next year. 

If you’d like to receive updates like this one, sign up for our e-newsletter. We also invite you to get involved with the Hub User Lab, a place to learn more, provide feedback, and take a sneak-peek at what’s coming.

About the author

Katie is a documentation writer working on ArcGIS Hub and Enterprise Sites in the R&D Center in Washington, D.C.

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