ArcGIS Living Atlas

Introducing Named Landforms of the World, version 2

We are pleased to announce the availability of Named Landforms of the World (NLW), version 2 in the Living Atlas. Included are four global sublayers representing landforms, provinces, divisions, and their respective cartographic boundaries. There are three ways to get started with this new layer:

  1. Explore the layers in the viewer app.
  2. Add the layers to your own web map
  3. Download a map package for ArcGIS Pro.

We defined landforms based on topography, underlying rock structure and age, and erosional and depositional characteristics. This definition comes from Richard E. Murphy’s Landforms of the World map, published in 1968 by the AAG. Names of the provinces, divisions, and sections came from E.M. Bridges’ World Geomorphology, published in 1990 by Cambridge University Press. To better represent the tectonic processes that produced each landform, this summer we added attributes for each landform area to describe the tectonic setting and processes. The pop-up for the landforms sublayer conveys the above information.

The story of how the NLW came into being is perhaps best told by acknowledging those who made essential contributions:

For more details, please refer to our paper, Named Landforms of the World: A Geomorphological and Physiographic Compilation, in Annals of the American Assocation of Geographers.

Please contact me with any questions.


About the author

I am Chief Cartographer at Esri, and manage the Cartographic Projects Group on the Content Team. I have been with Esri in Software Products since 1994. I am currently the author of Esri's Ecological Land Unit services, global ecological content, and the World Population Estimate Services. Contact me at with questions or feedback.

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