ArcGIS Blog

Dark Gray Canvas expands coverage

Our most recent map update greatly expands the large scale coverage of the Dark Gray Canvas Base and Reference layers. Europe, including Russia, was added at scales ~1:288k down to ~1:9k (levels 11 to 16). This is the first basemap with this updated Europe data. Updates to Light Gray Canvas are due online by the end of January, followed by Street, Topo, and the Reference services. Content for this Dark Gray Canvas map was produced from both commercial data as well as community contributions. Contributions from communities were made through the Community Maps Program. Community content in Europe appears in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Denmark, Finland, Great Britain, Greece, Romania, Spain, select areas in Russia, and two universities in Poland. Another unique feature of this basemap is the addition of dual language labels. The map shows local language labels in addition to its English translation/transliteration. This applies to feature labels for cities, roads, facility sites, water bodies, and more. Here are a few screen captures of this the latest Europe update.

Helsinki, Finland (National Land Survey of Finland), ~1:18k
Helsinki, Finland

Athens, Greece (Terra Mapping the Globe, Ltd), ~1:9k, Note the dual language labels
Athens, Greece

Moscow, Russia (HERE data), ~1:72k, Note the dual language labels
Moscow, Russia

Designing on Dark Gray Canvas

With a dark basemap, lighter and brighter things draw attention. As you define your map symbols that go on top of the Dark Gray Canvas basemap, use darker symbols for less important things. The darker symbols recede into the basemap, making room for the more important things to stand out. Use lighter and brighter symbols on things you want to stand out. This can add some real power to the data and message you are presenting.

Three previous blog posts (Dark Gray Canvas basemap now available for your use, A Dark Canvas for Bright People and Update) showcased the beta service. In these posts, you will find examples of how to design for and use this dark background map. Those principles still apply as seen in these two web maps built upon the new large scale Europe data.

Madrid Population Density (~1:36k)
Madrid Population Density

Paris, France, Traffic Report (~1:9k)
Paris, France, Traffic Report

This map displays the latest coverage areas added to the Dark Gray Canvas maps (Base and Reference). Dark Gray Canvas was already published to global coverage at small scales (~1:591M to ~1:577k).
Dark Gray Canvas coverage map

New basemap available for selection

As announced in the previous Dark Gray Canvas blog post, we did add the Dark Gray Canvas basemap to our basemap gallery matrix. Selecting this as your basemap provides you with a “map sandwich” web map. The Base and Reference services are fused together into one ArcGIS Online map layer. The addition of user generated cached features will display in between the base and the reference layers.
Dark Gray Canvas Gallery Matrix

You can continue to add the individual layers (Dark Gray Base and Reference) into your web map and arrange the layers accordingly. These are available in our production environment along with our other core basemaps.

Bye-bye Beta

Now is a great time to update your maps or applications that are currently connected to the beta services. Here’s motivation: the beta services for Dark Gray Canvas will be removed from our system at the end of March 2015. As noted in the beta web map item, the beta web map and beta services were designed for evaluation purposes and were limited in both the available data and the URL path to the services.

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