ArcGIS Online

New Map Viewer: year in review

The new Map Viewer is the next generation map making tool for ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise.  First announced in October 2019, Map Viewer Beta was introduced a month later in ArcGIS Online and in July 2020 for ArcGIS EnterpriseWith a new look and layout, the initial release immediately provided new ways to visualize data and build compelling web maps. 

A lot has changed since then. For the Map Viewer specifically, the team has maintained an aggressive update schedule by adding new features and enhancements every month. In April 2021, the new Map Viewer was released in general availability. Here is a recap of the many great features included with the new Map Viewer. 

Dot Density mapping style

The dot density drawing style is ideal for representing the count of something or someone with an individual dot. The dot density style works well in any situation where multiple counts or totals are in your data and when they share a common unit such as people, houses, incident reports, arrests, total dollars, etc. 

Dot value slider

Improved color ramps

The new Map Viewer provides hundreds of color ramps. Categorized by use-case, you can select ramps that have sequential color themes, ramps that best match light or dark basemaps, as well as colorblind-friendly ramps.  

Color ramp categories
Map Viewer Beta contains over 300 color ramps.


Clustering offers an efficient way to visualize overlapping features by aggregating individual features into data-driven clusters that represent the feature count and the drawing style selected for the layer. 

Check out Clustering is available in Map Viewer and Styling cluster labels and pop-ups for more details. 

Mapping above and below

Highlight trends using divergent color ramps and symbol pairs designed to represent above and below values. Use both size and color to tell a powerful story with your data.

This shows the Percent Change in Owner-Occupied Housing from 2000 to 2010, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. The Above and below theme helps to clearly show areas which gained or lost owner-occupied housing in those ten years, and the size helps communicate the quantity gained or lost.

Auto size by scale

Point symbols, line widths, and polygon outlines automatically adjust when the scale changes. Optimal sizes are used as you zoom in and out, which helps maintain a consistent experience across all scales.

Blend modes

Blending takes two or more layers and “blends” the rendering for each layer, producing a new visualization for the layers depending on which mode is selected. 

 The blog articles Blend modes are here and they’re pretty awesome and Blend modes for thematic maps provide a great overview and excellent examples for using blend modes. 

Example of layer blending
Blend modes offer many interesting visualizations. For instance, enhance any map using the multiply method to blend layers with the map's basemap.


Use multiple label classes, scale dependency, new fonts, and more to create labels that integrate seamlessly with your map. 

Label polygons, points, and lines
Congressional District representatives, oldest restaurants in Southern California, and streams in Los Angeles.


A dynamic filtering experience makes data exploration and configuring filters a simple and intuitive experience.  Learn more about working with filters in Understand and explore your data in Map Viewer.

Fast filtering

Pop-ups and field management

Show attachments in pop-ups. Build and rearrange pop-up content including images, attribute data, custom text, and charts to provide an engaging and informative experience with your map. 

diagram showing how pop-up elements relate to the pop-up

Check out the blog articles below for a dive into key pop-up features.

Working with layers

One of the big enhancements in the new Map Viewer is the ability to group layers. The layers in your map can be grouped together into a single layer where you can set transparency, define a visible range, and apply blend modes to the entire group of layers. 

Also learn about adding layers and tables to your map, as well as accessing the attribute table for feature layers. 

Enhanced bookmarks

Enhance bookmarks by adding a thumbnail generated from the map or by uploading your own custom image. If your map is rotated when creating a bookmark, the bookmark will use the rotation!

webmap with bookmarks

Basemap playground

Browse for basemaps from the ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World or use background color, blending and rotation to create your own customized basemap! Learn more with Basemaps in Map Viewer Beta: a new playground.

Preserve map scale

Map Viewer Beta includes the option to preserve the scale at which the map is saved. When map scale is preserved, you are ensuring the map is opened at the center point and scale for the map as when it was saved. If the map should instead open at the full extent, simply leave the Preserve map scale option disabled. For more information on preserving scale vs extent, check out Start Oriented: Setting your map view and rotation in Map Viewer Beta.

Note: the features mentioned are only a highlight of what the new Map Viewer offers. Explore all the blog articles on Map Viewer for a deeper dive into all the functionality offered.  Each image in this article is excerpted from the corresponding blog articles linked for each topic.

More resources


About the author

Chris is a product engineer for ArcGIS Online.

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