ArcGIS Blog

What's New in ArcGIS Online (December 2016)

ArcGIS Online has just been updated with the following new features and enhancements. This release includes updates and new capabilities for hosted web layers, configurable apps, apps for field and office, administration, accounts, and much more. For additional details see the What’s new help topic.

View all related posts for this release.

Map viewer

The map viewer is the built-in app that enables you to view and author maps, navigate, see map details, edit, perform analysis, and more. Updates for this release include the following.

Introducing Arcade

Arcade is a new lightweight expression language introduced at this release. You can author, edit, or apply custom expressions written in Arcade when styling and labeling feature layers in the map viewer. For example, an Arcade expression might be created to find the average traffic counts over a five-year period at traffic monitoring locations. Counts can then be represented using a graduated-size symbol on the map.

See the Arcade help for more information.

Other map viewer enhancements

Attribute tables
Additional capabilities have been added to feature layer attribute tables. Now you can edit or delete attributes directly in the table, and view and edit related records, photos, and files.

When you save a web map with a time-enabled layer, you can start the time animation from the time position saved with the map, instead of at the beginning of the time span of the layer.

Dynamic layer labeling
The map viewer now supports labeling in ArcGIS Server map image layers that support dynamic layers.

Route start times
You can now generate routes using a specified start time, and obtain directions based on your chosen time. The directions also include the arrival and departure time at stops, and typical traffic conditions.

WMTS enhancements
When adding a WMTS layer to a map, if the layer does not support a coordinate system and tiling scheme that aligns with the current map, you now have the option of adding the layer as a basemap and choosing a tiling scheme.

Scene Viewer

The scene viewer is the built-in app for creating and interacting with 3D scenes. Updates for this release are listed below.

Point cloud data can now be visualized on the web using a new layer type, point cloud scene layers, optimized for fast display of many kinds of 3D sensor data, including LiDAR. You can display large amounts of surveyed point cloud data of buildings and the surrounding terrain, including trees, bridges, and parks.

Vector tile layers can now be used in 3D, offering much faster loading. They can be brought into your scenes as operational layers or as basemaps.

A new gallery has been added with 2D marker and 3D object symbols enabling you to create captivating scenes. The symbols include street furniture, transportation, trees, and thematic icons.

New drawing styles use attributes to drive the visualization of point layers. For instance, if you have population as a numeric attribute, you can easily visualize your data with proportional symbols for color and size based on the population value. Additionally, with the new style slider in the scene viewer you can adjust the size and color interactively.

The camera animation for point-to-point flights has been enhanced to provide a smoother user experience.


ArcGIS Online offers hosted analysis tools that you can apply to your data (depending on your privileges) and are available via the Analysis button.

A new Join Features tool allows you to transfer attributes from one layer or table to another based on spatial or attribute relationships.

Examples of how this tool can be applied are:

A new Find Outliers tool creates a map showing any statistically significant clusters and spatial outliers present in your data.

Use this tool to identify features that have values that are significantly different from their neighbors. Ask questions such as the following:

  • Where are anomalous spending patterns?
  • Where are the sharpest boundaries between affluence and poverty in the study area?
  • Do we have stores that are struggling with low sales despite being surrounded by high performing stores?
  • Are there counties in the United States with unusually low life expectancy compared to their neighbors?

Plan Routes, Find Nearest, and Connect Origins to Destinations now have the ability to save the results as route layers. This enables you to share the individual routes with other members in your organization, or further modify the routes using the Directions button in the map viewer.

Hosted web layers

When you publish data using ArcGIS Online, the hosting is provisioned for you. Web, desktop, and mobile apps can access your ArcGIS Online hosted layers from anywhere on the Internet, with you controlling access and sharing. Hosted web layers can be published directly from your desktop without installing your own server, leveraging ArcGIS Online’s publishing capabilities. The following are new features and capabilities for this release.

Multiple views on hosted feature layers

You can now create multiple views of hosted feature layers. This allows you to publish your data once, then create tailored views for different audiences. Views reference the same underlying data (the source, or primary data) but can offer different capabilities, cartography, and filtering.

For example, you can share your hosted feature layer for public view-only access while allowing certain members of your organization to edit the data. Since they share the same source, as edits are made view-only users will see changes. Or, you can publish multiple renderings of the same data highlighting different attributes.

Other hosted web layer enhancements

Configurable Apps

Configurable apps provide an easy and fast way to go from a web map to an application, with no coding required. The following is a list of updates and enhancements for this release.

The configuration pane in several of the configurable apps has been redesigned. The configurable options now appear as tabs across the top, and the pane includes your map, scene, or group.

New themes have been added to Basic Viewer, Elevation Profile, and Map Tools supporting different layouts.

Crowdsource Polling now supports using a URL parameter to open the app to a specific feature, as well as sorting items by the values in any field. Comments on features can now include attachments such as images and documents.

New configuration parameters have been added to Crowdsource Reporter providing more control over the text and appearance of the app. Configuration parameters have also been added to restrict where reports can be submitted, and to allow reporters to update and delete their submissions. Comments on reports can now include attachments such as images and documents.

Finder and Find, Edit, Filter are now in mature support.

Story Maps

Story Maps let you combine authoritative maps with narrative text, images, and multimedia content, making it easy to harness the power of maps and geography to tell your story. The following are enhancements for this release.

Story Map Journal and Story Map Series now support dragging and dropping local images from your computer directly into your stories as you author them. This is the recommended and easiest way to add images.

Uploaded images are automatically optimized to give the best performance and are stored within your story (not as unique items). Sharing is governed by your story, so you don’t need to have publicly stored images when your story is only intended for internal use. You can also upload the image used for your logo in the story header.

Story Map Journal text sizes, styles, and spacing have been updated to improve readability and the appearance of your stories. New and existing stories will reflect these changes.

Story Map Cascade (beta) builder now reports issues with your story such as images and maps that are missing or not shared properly. Errors and warnings appear inline in your story, along with suggested fixes.

Story Map Shortlist (beta) has quality improvements, better integration with My Stories, and better looking thumbnails. 

Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS

Web AppBuilder provides a way to easily create HTML/JavaScript apps that run on any device, using a gallery of ready-to-use-widgets. You can customize the look of your apps with configurable themes, and can host your apps online or on your own server. With this release, the following widgets have been added or enhanced.

For more information, see the Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS help.

Apps for the field

ArcGIS apps for the field help you use the power of location to improve coordination and achieve operational efficiency in field workforce activities. Field apps have had numerous enhancements since the previous ArcGIS Online update. These enhancements include the following:

Collector for ArcGIS 10.4, with support for high-accuracy GPS receivers, is now available on iOS, Windows, and Android devices. For more information, see the Collector for ArcGIS help.

Explorer for ArcGIS 10.2.10 was released on iOS in December, and included fixes. For more information, see the Explorer for ArcGIS help.

Navigator for ArcGIS is now available on Android devices. For more information, see the Navigator for ArcGIS help.

Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS 10.3.4 includes updates for both browser and Windows apps. For browsers, support for two new languages, Indonesian and Bosnian, has been added. For more information, see the Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS help.

Survey123 for ArcGIS 1.9 released in November. With this release, you can now share your surveys publicly, allowing field workers to capture data without signing in to an organization. Authoring smart forms from your web browser includes new types of input options, such as email. Minor enhancements have been added to the Survey123 web and native apps. For more information, see the Survey123 for ArcGIS help.

Workforce for ArcGIS, updated in October, included an improved search, the ability for dispatchers to create multiple assignments, support for users from other organizations, and new languages. For more information, see the Workforce for ArcGIS help.

Apps for the office

Apps for the office have made numerous enhancements since the previous ArcGIS Online update, including the following:

Esri Maps for IBM Cognos 6.1.1 offers significant updates and enhancements, including new interactive behaviors to update the map, automatic clustering of point layers, and the ability to create and use labels. The user experience for several other features has been improved. Esri Maps for IBM Cognos 6.1.1 was released in September 2016. For more information, see the Esri Maps for IBM Cognos help.

Esri Maps for MicroStrategy 3.0 features a streamlined app that contains many user experience improvements, including the ability to customize map tools and settings, apply predefined or custom themes to a map, and create and use labels. For more information, see the Esri Maps for MicroStrategy help.

Esri Business Analyst 5.4 enables you to create visually appealing infographics in a few clicks to quickly gain demographic insights for any location.

Other features and enhancements include:

For more information, see the Esri Business Analyst Web App help.

AppStudio for ArcGIS

AppStudio for ArcGIS is a tool that converts your maps into native mobile apps for Mac, iOS, Android, Windows, and Linux.

For more information, see the AppStudio for ArcGIS help.

ArcGIS content

For the latest, see posts appearing in the ArcGIS Online blog.

Organization administration

Administrators can leverage two levels of membership when assigning roles and privileges to members. Levels allow organizations to control the scope of privileges that can be assigned to members through roles.

Level 1 members can view content shared with them, but cannot create, own, or share content. Level 2 members can view, create, and share content, depending on the privileges assigned by the organization administrator. See Levels, roles, and privileges for more information.

Administrators can now change the short name of the organization through the general settings tab. This is a permanent change that cannot be undone. Some URLs will need to be manually updated, for example, apps created with Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS that are hosted in the organization.

Organizations have an additional security setting to allow portal access. By configuring a list of redirect URIs, the organization gives members who use enterprise logins access to secured content in web apps hosted on other portals.


Organizations can now configure social logins, which allows members to join the organization using their Facebook or Google credentials. Once members have created their account, they can sign in to the organization and their apps using their social login. In addition, administrators can enable Esri access on social logins so members have access to Esri web resources such as GeoNet.

For more information

For more information about this release, see the Whats New help topic or ArcGIS Blog posts specific to this release.

About the author

Corporate technology evangelist and advocate at Esri, focusing on ways to broaden access to geographic information and helping customers succeed with the ArcGIS system. On a good day I'm making a map, on a great day I'm on one. Email or connect on LinkedIn (

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