ArcGIS Living Atlas

What’s New in Esri Vector Basemaps (December 2016)

Updated December 8, 2017:  The Esri Vector Basemaps were recently updated to a new version (v2). The best way to access them in ArcGIS Online is through the Esri owned Vector Basemaps group, which contains the latest set of web maps and tile layers. See What’s New in Esri Vector Basemaps (December 2017) for information related to this update.

The Esri vector tile basemaps were updated again this month with new data and map style refinements. Together with other enhancements to ArcGIS Online this week, these updates address the key remaining issues identified during the beta period for these basemaps. The Esri Vector Basemaps are no longer in beta release and are now available to use in production web maps and apps.

As we’ve described previously, there are 9 Esri Vector Basemap styles that are available for you to use in your maps and apps. The best way to access them in ArcGIS Online is through the Esri owned Vector Basemaps group, which contains the latest set of web maps and tile layers. With the end of the beta release, we have published a new set of vector tile layers (v1) that reference the latest vector tiles and should be used for any production maps. If you’ve previously created your own web maps referencing our vector tile layers, you’ll want to update them now to use the latest version. The earlier beta versions are now in “mature support” and will be retired in a few months.

Use Vector Basemaps in ArcGIS Online

You can now begin to use the Esri Vector Basemaps in your public facing maps and apps, if your app supports vector tile layers. In ArcGIS Online, you can use the vector basemaps in both the Map viewer and the Scene viewer, which now supports vector tile layers for 3D display, as well as several configurable apps. To get started, you can use one of the web maps or tile layers in the Vector Basemaps group. To make this easier for you and others in your organization, your org administrator has the option to configure a custom basemap gallery to include one or more of the web maps from this group. The basemap gallery could be configured to use all 9 of the vector basemap styles by referencing the 9 web maps from this group, as shown below on the left. Alternatively, it could be configured to mix and match both vector and raster tile basemaps, as shown below on the right.

Custom Basemap Galleries

Important note: vector tile layers are currently supported in ArcGIS Online web applications and ArcGIS Pro. Org administrators should consider which apps are being used most commonly by the org members when deciding whether to use vector basemaps, raster basemaps, or a mix of both in their basemap gallery.

Looking forward, Esri will be making the vector basemaps available as part of the default basemap galleries for various apps that support vector tile layers as part of updates in 2017, beginning with the next ArcGIS Online update planned for early March. For Enterprise users with on-premises portals, the vector basemaps will be available by default beginning with the 10.5.1 release to follow.

Future Updates to Vector Basemaps

Esri will continue to actively maintain the vector basemaps going forward. We intend to update the vector basemaps about twice per month, refreshing the vector tiles with the latest available commercial and community data, as well as refining and expanding the available map styles. In 2017, Esri intends to release localized versions of the vector basemaps in several languages supported by ArcGIS Online. As updates are made, we will update the web maps and tile layers in the Vector Basemaps group so that it always includes the latest and share info about what’s new on the ArcGIS blog.


Deane Kensok has been with Esri since 1990 and is currently the ArcGIS Content CTO and a member of the Living Atlas team. For the past twenty years, Deane has worked on a variety of Internet mapping and data publishing products and projects, which have led to his current work with ArcGIS Online and the Living Atlas.


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What’s New in Scene Viewer (December 2016)

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