ArcGIS Living Atlas

Use Living Atlas subscriber content in public maps and apps

The Living Atlas of the World is a collection of authoritative maps, data, imagery, tools, and apps authored and published by Esri and partners. It also includes contributions from ArcGIS users worldwide. It is a curated subset of ArcGIS Online items Esri, and the ArcGIS community.


Types of Living Atlas content

Much of the content found in the Living Atlas is available publicly, with no restrictions. Other content is not publicly available by default, and falls into two categories:

Subscriber content is the collection of layers published by Esri that requires an organizational subscription account to access. These are layers such as Landsat 8 imagery, NAIP imagery, landscape analysis layers, and historical maps. Subscriber content is provided as part of your organizational subscription and does not consume any credits.

Premium content is a type of subscriber content. It’s the collection of layers published by Esri that requires an organizational account to access, and also consumes credits. These are layers such as demographic and lifestyle layers.


Identifying subscriber content

When you author a map, one of the places you can search for layers is the Living Atlas. Click Add, then choose Browse Living Atlas Layers.

Subscriber content is indicated by the shield icon.

A shield with a coin indicates premium subscriber content.

If you are searching ArcGIS Online, you can identify Living Atlas subscriber content from the badges on the item. This badge indicates subscriber content.

This badge indicates premium subscriber content.


Using subscriber content for public maps and apps

After authoring your map you’ll want to share it with others, or use it in apps or story maps. When you share a web map using subscription content, you’ll be notified that others may not be able to view the map.

If you are sharing your map within your organization, using subscription content is transparent since you are sharing it with others that are signed in. If you share the web map outside your organization, viewers will experience an error.

By default, you cannot use the Map Viewer to share public maps that contain subscription content, but you can easily use apps. Follow the steps outlined below to share your map in different ways.


Using subscriber content in public apps

One of the best ways to share subscriber content with a public audience, is to share it within a configurable app. Not only do you get a better viewer experience, but built-in options let you authorize subscriber content on behalf of public, anonymous viewers. Story Maps and Web AppBuilder also provide the ability to proxy for public use of subscriber content. See the sections below for more information.


Use subscriber content in configurable apps

In the example below, a map that includes subscriber content is being publicly shared using the Basic Viewer configurable app template. The configuration panel provides notification that the map uses subscriber content, and provides an opportunity for the app author to authorize access on behalf of public (anonymous) users.

Check the box for the layers you want to authorize, typically that will be all of the subscription layers in your map. While the exact appearance and location of this setting may differ from app to app, most, but not all, of the configurable apps support this capability.


Use subscriber content in Story Maps

When you use subscriber content in a Story Map, when in builder mode the subscriber content will be detected, and you will be prompted to resolve the issue. Below an issue with subscriber content has been identified. Click Fix to authorize subscription content for public viewers.

When using My Stories and checking your Story Maps for errors, those with unresolved subscriber content will be identified. Shown below is what appears when a map using subscription content is used in the Story Map. Note that subscriber vs. premium subscriber content is listed separately.

Click Confirm to authorize the subscriber content for public viewers.


Use subscriber content in Web AppBuilder

Web AppBuilder will also identify subscriber content, and provide a way to authorize their public use. In Web AppBuilder, click Attribute and then click the arrow next to Premium content access, as shown below.

Subscriber content will be listed, check the box for Use proxy for each layer you want to authorize for public use.


Use subscriber content in embedded web maps

When using subscriber content in a map you want to embed, you are warned that the map may have subscriber content not viewable by others.

However you cannot authorize subscriber content in the HTML generated for embedding the web map. To work around this limitation, embed the map using the Minimalist configurable app (or another configurable app) by following the steps detailed in Use subscriber content in configurable app templates above, or provide authentication at the service level as described below.


Authorize the layer

You can also authorize subscriber content at the layer source; its REST service endpoint. It’s much easier and better to enable public access when the map is used in a configurable app, Story Map, or Web AppBuilder as described above, but there may be use cases where you want to pre-authorize layers for public use. For example when you want to embed a map in your website or blog or when you want to use the Map Viewer.

In this example, we will use the USA Wildland Fire Potential layer subscription service. Follow the steps below to authorize it for public use.

Step 1 – In the item details overview, look on the right hand side for the URL of the service, and click Copy.

Step 2 – In My Contents, click Add Item, then choose From the web.

Step 3 – The default option is ArcGIS Server web service.

a – Paste the URL obtained in Step 1 above in the URL input. The secure service will be detected, and you will see additional inputs to authenticate for the service.

b – Enter the user name and password to provide authentication for subscription content access.

c – Choose whether you want to store the credentials with the service, or not. If you choose Do not store credentials with service item, then anonymous (public) users will be prompted to sign in. If your goal is to deliver subscription content in public maps and apps, you will want to choose Store credentials with service item to eliminate the need for the viewer to sign in to use the map or app.

d – Enter a title for the item.

e – Choose tags. Since the item is being added from its service endpoint, tags will automatically be added from the service description if they are present. Edit the tags, and/or add your own.

f – Click Add Item when done.

Note: When you add subscription services in this way you will have to enable and configure the pop-ups, then save your layer configuration. To preserve rendering properties that are stored with the subscription layer, you can consider an alternate method. You may also want to limit usage for premium subscription services.

To limit usage, in the item details go to Settings.

Then click Limit Usage to view options.


More information

For more information see:


This post was originally published on January 13, 2018, and has been updated.

About the author

Tech evangelist and product strategist at Esri, focusing on ways to broaden access to geographic information and helping users succeed with the ArcGIS Platform. On a good day I'm making a map, on a great day I'm on one. Follow @bernszukalski or email


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