ArcNews Online

Spring 2010
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Ready-to-Use Basemaps and New Map and Application Galleries Allow Users to Easily Share GIS Work

Improvements in ArcGIS Online Make Maps and Apps Sharing Easy


  • Premium imagery is now available as a no-cost service.
  • Updated map services provide more details.
  • Improved sharing tools make it easier to discover useful geographic content.

ArcGIS Online has been built to enable ArcGIS users and developers to easily access tools and content that allow them to quickly build Web mapping applications that can be accessed by other users, including the broad public. It also supports collaboration among GIS users who need to find useful and authoritative content that makes their GIS work easier and facilitates the sharing of information with others who have a common interest.

New ArcGIS Basemaps

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Users can add comments and rate featured Web mapping applications built by other ArcGIS users and developers.

ArcGIS Online imagery, street, and topographic map services have been enhanced with the latest data, and coverage has been expanded to ensure that users have access to the most efficient and consistent data they need for their critical projects. These three map services are designed to deliver cartographic basemaps that can be quickly integrated with a user's local data or services to provide context for operational GIS overlays.

Esri's imagery offerings have been combined into one new service—World Imagery. All previously available imagery offerings—World IKONOS Cities Imagery, World Imagery, and USA Prime Imagery—have been merged and blended with new, high-resolution imagery for the United Kingdom and other countries to create this new offering. The best data from each service was used to provide the optimal vintage, resolution, and coverage.

Enhancements have also been made to the World Street Map. These include feature enhancements to cartography at all scale levels and updates to the latest Tele Atlas/TomTom street data and AND global road data at large scales. This visually rich and attractive basemap now also includes building footprints where available. In addition, the World Street Map has been expanded to include large-scale coverage for Colombia, Hong Kong, Japan, South Africa, and Thailand.

The World Topographic Map now includes more detailed global data and additional detailed maps for various U.S. cities. The map, a compilation of public domain, user-contributed, and commercial datasets, now provides coverage for the world using data from DeLorme, the U.S. Geological Survey, and other sources. The coverage for this basemap is worldwide down to approximately 1:150,000 meters; for the United States, down to approximately 1:20,000 meters; and for select U.S. cities, such as Portland, Oregon, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, down to approximately 1:1,000 meters. Detailed maps for Pasadena and Redlands, California, were recently added. Like the World Street Map, the World Topographic Map now includes building footprints where available.

All ArcGIS Online map services have been migrated to the Web Mercator auxiliary sphere projection (WKID 102100): 256 x 256 pixel tiles with refined scales. This is the same tiling scheme used by Bing Maps and Google Maps, allowing users to more easily create mashups with other popular Web maps. All Esri maps are now in this same projection, simplifying caching decisions for users.

This migration is in response to feedback from many ArcGIS users who requested that Esri use a common map tiling scheme matching other popular online map providers. Users who have been accessing the map services in the previous tiling scheme will continue to be able to do so for a few more months. However, the content for these services will no longer be updated.

Share Maps and Apps Through ArcGIS Online

In ArcGIS Online, users can publish and share maps that they have created and have them featured alongside maps created and published by Esri. These maps can then be used by others to create mashups that include various operational layers or thematic maps overlaid on basemaps. Some examples of user-generated maps that provide useful information include maps displaying current precipitation, wind potential, parcel boundaries, or recent events such as fires or earthquakes.

ArcGIS Online's built-in Web map application has been expanded to easily leverage these featured maps and other maps that users have published and shared. With one click, users can open any public map in ArcGIS Online inside the Web map application and add layers to create mashups. Through the improved search function, users can add any content that is publicly available in ArcGIS Online, as well as content from the broad Web or other GIS servers. Once the Web map has been created, it can be saved and shared with others who then may use it to add their own layers and, in turn, save it and share it again.

ArcGIS Online also features Web mapping applications that include both maps and tools. These mapping applications provide a specific workflow or allow interaction, such as drawing or selecting items on the map, and have been built by the user community or Esri using one of the ArcGIS Web Mapping APIs—Flex, JavaScript, or Silverlight/WPF. Examples include mapping applications from local governments to search for property information or public service facilities, track recovery spending by state, enhance emergency response mitigation and response services, and find suitable retail properties or locations to attract new businesses. All content in ArcGIS Online can be found through a simple keyword search that draws from the tags that users add to their items.

Users can share their maps and Web mapping applications publicly with the broad ArcGIS Online community or within specific groups. Groups allow users to collaborate privately on various projects and share content that is of common interest.

Users will have the opportunity to rate the content on ArcGIS Online and contribute comments. These peer-based ratings and comments can help improve the maps and Web mapping applications. Rating helps users who browse for maps quickly determine useful and high-quality maps, while comments can include feedback regarding how to enhance the usability of a Web mapping application. All this can benefit not only the online community of ArcGIS users but also the general public that in many cases consumes and interacts with these maps.

More Information

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