ArcGIS Online

Introducing Catalog Layers in ArcGIS Online

With the June 2024 update of ArcGIS Online, we’re bringing catalog layers to the web, a dynamic new layer type for browsing and exploring data. In this article, we’ll look at some new tools to help you get started with catalog layers in Map Viewer. Some key features include dynamic filtering, layer limits, and convenient options to add a layer from the catalog to your map. Let’s take a look.

Catalog Layers

Catalog layers are a collection of layers that have been published to ArcGIS Online. These layers can be visualized, filtered, and queried in maps and scenes, and shared across organizations.

Catalog layers provide a way to browse layers by regions or topics, preview data, and even add layers to a map. Its important to note that Catalog layers reference the layers in the catalog. This means that the layers are not actually in the map. They allow you to explore data before you bringing layers into the map. Neat trick, huh?

Catalog layers can be created using ArcGIS Pro. To learn more about creating catalog datasets, visit the ArcGIS Pro help site. You can also check out our previous article on building catalog layers.


Catalog layers have a unique architecture. Each one contains 2 sublayers, the Footprints layer and Layers In View:

Each Catalog layer contains 2 main components: Footprints and Layers in View.
The Catalog layer, Footprints layer, and Layers In View create the catalog experience.

Working with Catalog Layers

Let’s look at some new features to help you get started working with catalog layers in Map Viewer.

Dynamic Filtering

The catalog automatically filters the layers as you pan and zoom the map, so the list in Layers In View only shows the layers that are visible in the map extent.

The Layers pane dynamically updates as you pan the map.
The Layers listed reflect the layers in the current map extent.

Layer Limit

The layer limit is the max number of layers drawn on the map at any given time. By default it is set to 10. This can help optimize performance, particularly for very large catalogs. To adjust the layer limit, follow these steps:

  1. Select Layers In View
  2. Open the Properties pane
  3. Set the desired number in the Layer limit input box
The maximum number of layers drawn on the map at one time is 50.
Adjust the layer limit on the Properties pane.

Layer Visibility

You can adjust visibility ranges for the Catalog layer, Footprints layer, and Layers In View in one central location on the Properties pane.

  1. Select the Catalog layer
  2. Open the Properties pane
  3. Use the sliders to set the Visibility range for each layer
Visibility can be adjusted on the Properties pane.
View and adjust the visibility for each layer.

Add a Layer to the Map

When you find a layer in the Catalog that you want to add to the map,

  1. Expand Layers In View
  2. Select the layer that you want to add
  3. Open the Options menu ( … )
  4. Select Add to map
We've added a button so you can add a layer directly from the catalog to your map.
Easily add a layer from the catalog to your map.

The layer appears on the map and at the top of the layers pane. ProTip: The Add to map button also appears in the Properties pane.


Now that you’ve seen how you can explore catalog layers in Map Viewer, let’s check out some examples.

Focused data

Catalog layers can be used as a central repository to easily share layers that center around a particular topic. For example, check out this catalog layer containing climate data from various sources across the United Kingdom.

Regional data

Catalog layers can be used for regional projects. They can also be a visualization tool, allowing others to gather information at a glance. In this example, we’ve styled the Footprints layer to reflect the project status for each Forest in the Region.

Best Practices

In Map Viewer, users will be able to explore the catalog using the tools we’ve covered in this article. Likewise, the Catalog layer experience is supported in Scene Viewer and ArcGIS Pro. However, support for working with Catalog layers is limited in other apps at this time.


Overall, catalog layers provide a dynamic and collaborative approach to data exploration in ArcGIS Online. With new features like dynamic filtering, setting layer limits, and adding a layer to a map, its easy to browse catalog layers in Map Viewer. Catalog layers can be used as a central data repository to facilitate collaboration across regions, topics, or organizations, and as a data visualization tool. Start exploring the possibilities with catalog layers and be sure to share your thoughts and ideas on Esri Community.

About the author

Emily is a senior product engineer on the ArcGIS Online team. She joined Esri in 2022, bringing expertise in mapping, app creation, and data management. Emily is passionate about the outdoors, nature, and hiking. She often seeks refuge in wild areas and acoustic guitars.


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