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Frequently asked questions

Listed below are common questions about ArcGIS Online. If you encounter an issue when working with ArcGIS Online, see Troubleshoot for recommended solutions.





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What is ArcGIS Online?

ArcGIS Online is an online, collaborative web GIS that allows you to use, create, and share maps, scenes, apps, layers, analytics, and data. You get access to Living Atlas of the World, apps, and the Esri secure cloud, where you can add items and publish web layers. Because ArcGIS Online is an integral part of the ArcGIS system, you can use it to extend the capabilities of ArcGIS Desktop, ArcGIS Enterprise, ArcGIS Web APIs, and ArcGIS Runtime SDKs.

Does ArcGIS Online require a subscription?

Yes. In order to access all the capabilities of ArcGIS Online, your organization needs to purchase an annual subscription. Free trials are also available.

Can I transfer my data directly from one organization to another?

No. If you added data to a trial organizational account, you cannot transfer that data directly to a different organizational account. If, at the end of your trial period, you choose to convert your trial subscription into a public account, you could invite the public account to join your new organization. In this case, the data associated with your public account would transfer to the organization. Any hosted feature or tile layers you published during the trial are lost when you convert to a public account.

Can I transfer a map from my public account to my organizational account?

Yes. There are two ways to transfer a map from your public account to your organizational account. The first option is to make a copy of your map. Sign in with your public account and share your map with everyone. Then sign out and sign in with your organizational account, open your map, and click the Save As option. This makes a copy of your map in your organizational account. Any comments or rating from the original map are not transferred to the copy. The second option is to add your public account as a user in your organization. The original map is now part of the organization because the public account is now part of the organization. In addition, every item and group owned by that public account is part of the organization as well, and the user counts toward the total number of users allowed in the organization. While you can later remove the account from the organization, you first have to remove all items and groups from the account before you can remove it. This may not be the best option if you want to maintain your public account.

How much does it cost to use ArcGIS Online?

ArcGIS Online is based on an annual subscription that offers a set of plans from which you can choose. Each plan includes a number of named users and service credits. Service credits are used in exchange for premium hosted services such as storage of hosted web layers, performing analytics, and using demographic maps.

Can I use ArcGIS Online free?

Yes. With a free public account, you can create, store, and manage maps, scenes, layers, and apps, and share them with others. You also get access to content shared by Esri and GIS users around the world. Public accounts are for noncommercial use only.

What is an ArcGIS account and how is it different from an Esri Account?

An ArcGIS account gives you access to ArcGIS. It can be a public account or an organizational account. An Esri Account gives you access to Esri web resources, such as My Esri and GeoNet, and allows you to manage email communications from Esri. It is also a public account. You can sign in to ArcGIS with your Esri Account and access the public components of ArcGIS. If your ArcGIS account is a public account, you automatically have access to Esri web resources. If your ArcGIS account is an organizational account, your administrator can give you access to Esri web resources by enabling Esri access for your account.

How secure is ArcGIS Online?

ArcGIS Online secures all access to your information. Information is accessible to only those users with whom it has been shared. User identity is established through a login process that always takes place over HTTPS. Subsequent access to information requires authentication tokens acquired at sign in. Organizations can select an all-HTTPS solution that supports maximum security and ensures that all data (for example, features and tiles) as well as authentication tokens are encrypted during transport over the Internet.

Why should my organization use HTTPS only?

Encrypting sensitive information is the primary reason to use HTTPS. HTTPS uses Transport Layer Security (TLS) or Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption protocols that provide secure communication across networks. The ArcGIS platform uses TLS, which is a more recent and secure encryption protocol than SSL. ArcGIS Online still supports SSL, and you will often see SSL and TLS used interchangeably in documentation. When you send information over the Internet using HTTPS in your URL address, only the intended recipient can understand the information. This encryption is important because the information you send on the Internet is usually passed between many computers before it gets to the destination server. Any computer between you and the server can see sensitive information such as passwords if the information is not encrypted with a valid TLS or SSL certificate. When a valid TLS or SSL certificate is used, the information becomes unreadable to everyone except for the server where you are sending the information. This protects it from malicious activity such as identity theft.

Esri recommends that you enable your ArcGIS Online organization to only allow access to the organization through HTTPS and that you also enable TLS on all your on-premises services. When you add layers to maps or add layers as items, Esri recommends that you use HTTPS URLs. HTTPS helps protect your data and also mitigates mixed content issues with browsers. Many websites today can only be accessed through HTTPS. HTTPS ensures that your data and all other communication between your browser and ArcGIS Online are encrypted.

For more information on TLS, SSL, HTTPS, and Internet security, visit Trust ArcGIS. Esri created Trust ArcGIS as your resource for security, privacy, and compliance information about the ArcGIS platform. Trust ArcGIS provides information about product security, security alerts, security compliance, best security practices for your organization, and more.

Can I back up my organization?

You can save local copies of data files you've added to your organization. From My Content, open the item page for the data file you want to save and click Download. Browse to a location on your computer where you want to store the file.

If your hosted feature layer is updated frequently, you may want to periodically export the data as a shapefile or CSV file. From My Content, open the item page of the hosted feature layer whose data you want to export. Click Export Data and choose to export as a shapefile or a CSV file.

How do I report data problems?

You can add notes about specific issues or errors you see through the following ArcGIS Online feedback maps: Imagery Map Feedback, Street Map Feedback, and Topographic Map Feedback. Your feedback will be reviewed by the ArcGIS Online team and considered for a future update. Data problems with other ArcGIS Online resources can be reported to Esri Support or on GeoNet.

I see inappropriate content on the website. What can I do?

To send a message to the website team about something you think is inappropriate, use the Report Abuse link at the bottom of the site. If that link is not available on your organization site, send an email to and include the URL to the item you think is inappropriate and explain your concern.

What are the terms of use for maps, apps, layers, and tools I find on the website?

The specific terms of use for items are provided in the access and use constraints field on the item page for each item. There are also terms of use for the site.

How can I make my profile private?

If you do not want others to search for your user name, click your name on the top banner to open your profile and choose the No One (Private) option.

What does beta mean?

Beta components may have incomplete functionality or documentation and may undergo some minor, unannounced changes. Beta components are usually available in English only. If you have issues or are experiencing problems with any of the beta functionality, contact Esri Support or visit the Esri Community.

What does it mean when a configurable app has been retired?

A configurable app is retired when an improved comparable app replaces it. The new app includes some different default behavior and, as a way to preserve the original behavior in apps that have been created with the original version, the older app is retired. Existing apps will continue to work and can be reconfigured and updated as needed. To take advantage of the new functionality in the newer version of the app, you will need to re-create your app.

When do I get email notifications related to ArcGIS Online?

  • Members of an organization—You make changes to your profile; you request a password reset or user name reminder; your administrator invites you to join the organization; your administrator disables your multifactor authentication; your administrator resets your password; you have used 100 percent of your credit allocation limit; someone leaves a comment about an item you own or replies to one of your comments.
  • Administrator-specific emails—Immediately after the subscription request is processed; the subscription is renewed or upgraded; right before and 1 day after the subscription expires; the organization has used 75 percent and 100 percent of credits; a member has used 100 percent of their credit allocation limit; members need their multifactor authentication disabled.
  • Public account users—You make changes to your profile; you request a password reset or user name reminder; someone leaves a comment about an item you own or replies to one of your comments.
  • Trial-specific emails—Immediately after you request to start a trial; during a trial with information on ArcGIS apps and notices if you have used 75 percent and 100 percent of service credits; 10, 5, and 1 day before the trial ends; and 1 day after the trial ends.

When do members see contact information for the administrator of their organization?

The name and email address of the administrator is included in the invitation to join the organization; the notification that the profile changed; requests to reset password, retrieve forgotten user name, and help with multifactor authentication; and the notifications related to reaching or exceeding the credit allocation limit.

Can I change the default styles in my map?

Yes, you can change both the type of map used to show your data (for example, color maps versus size maps) as well as the styling characteristics of those maps, such as layer transparency, symbol colors, and line weights. To do this, click the layer context drop-down arrow and click Change style. You can pick either a different map type (using the Select button) or change the style of the current map (using the Options button).

Why did Esri change the authoring tools in the map viewer?

Esri was motivated to improve the authoring experience in two ways: 1) Streamline the map authoring process by placing interface controls that are related in a single integrated styling pane, and 2) Embed cartographic expertise into ArcGIS Online so the default styling applied to your data (if no styling was previously defined) embodies best practices from the mapping sciences and not merely static (dumb) defaults.

When I use the Change Style option, why don’t I see the same choices every time?

The choices are determined by the nature of the data you are mapping. For example, you will see different styling choices if your map layer is composed of point, line, or area features. It is also informed by the kind of data associated with your points, lines, and areas. For example, a point feature may have just geographic coordinates (location), categorical information (such as tree species), or numerical information (such as air temperature). Not every map type can be used for every kind of data. By discerning these facts about your map layer, ArcGIS Online can present the best mapping choices.

What is the source of the Disasters, General Infrastructure, and Damage symbols?

The Disasters, General Infrastructure, and Damage symbols include humanitarian icons from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Source: OCHA.

What kinds of layers can I add to a map?

You can add ArcGIS Server services, hosted web layers, OGC services, GeoRSS files, tile layers, and KML documents. You can also add features you create with the map viewer and features from a delimited text file, GPX file, or shapefile on your computer. You cannot add layer packages or other types of ArcGIS Desktop content.

What's the difference between features stored in the map and features stored in an ArcGIS Server feature service layer?

Features stored in the map come from creating a map notes layer or from a file and can only be edited by the map author. This is useful when you want to provide more information that's associated with a particular location. You can include a pop-up with images, photos, and links to video and other useful sites. Features from feature service layers are served from ArcGIS Server and are stored in the layer that makes up a map. If the service is configured to allow editing, the features can be edited by anyone viewing the map. This is useful when you are seeking input from a broad community, including the public, and you want one map to reflect all the edits that have been made. For example, you might include a feature service layer in a map when you want citizens to report damaged property, blocked streets, graffiti, and so on.

What's the best way to add features to a map?

It depends. If you have large amounts of data and you have access to ArcGIS Server, an effective approach is to create a feature service and add it as a layer to your map. You should also add feature layers if you want others to edit the features and their attribute information. By default, your features will be editable by anybody viewing your map.

If you do not have access to ArcGIS Server or if you only want to add a handful of features, add a map notes layer with the map viewer. It is easy to create a few features this way, and the map viewer provides several templates from which you can pick shapes and symbols. However, it's not practical to add large numbers of features since you have to create each one within the map viewer—you cannot, for example, upload a file of predefined features. These layers are read-only, so others cannot change the features or edit related attribute information.

If you have features in a delimited text file (.txt or .csv), a GPS Exchange Format file (.gpx), or a shapefile (compressed into a .zip), you can import them into your map. This is a convenient way to add features you have stored in a file on your computer. Once you've added them to your map, you can change the symbols and configure pop-ups.

How do I save an individual feature layer as an item?

To save an individual feature layer that you can share with the group that contains your custom analysis layers, follow the steps below:

  1. Open the item page of the multilayer feature layer and go to the Visualization tab.
  2. Choose the layer you want to save from the Layer drop-down menu.
  3. Click Save as new layer to save a copy of the layer as a new item in My Content.
  4. Type a title, tags, and a summary, and if you want, choose a different folder to save the layer.
  5. Select to create the new item with Just the current layer and click Save.

Can I add Living Atlas analysis layers to a group that contains my own analysis layers?

Yes. To add a Living Atlas analysis layer to your group, follow the steps below:

  1. Search for the group Living Atlas Analysis Layers.
  2. Uncheck the option Only search in <name of your organization>.
  3. Open the Living Atlas Analysis Layers group and find the layer you want to add.
  4. Open the item page of the layer, click Share, and check the box next to the group where you want to add the layer.

How can I tell if a map is time enabled?

If you see a time slider at the bottom of a map, that map includes one or more temporal layers, and you can play the map to see how the information changes over time.

What's the difference between Save and Save As?

Save updates an existing map you own. Save As creates a copy of the map, and you see the original Save Map window where you can update the title, tags, and so on. You can save a copy of any map that is not owned by you; you cannot update an existing one you do not own.

What is the difference between building a map with an ArcGIS Web API and the map viewer?

ArcGIS Web APIs and the map viewer are intended for building maps. Maps created with the map viewer are targeted to a nondeveloper web audience, since no programming is required, but the capabilities are limited.

The APIs, on the other hand, are intended for developers who want to build web apps. These apps can be shared in the ArcGIS Online website, but they are created and viewed outside the website. ArcGIS Web APIs are programming interfaces that allow you to add GIS capabilities and map services to your web apps.

What is a scene?

A scene is a 3D representation of a collection of layers, styles, and configurations that allow you to share symbolized 2D and 3D geospatial content with others over the Internet. You can create 3D scenes through ArcGIS Pro or the built-in scene viewer in ArcGIS Online.

What is the scene viewer?

The scene viewer is an app built into the ArcGIS Online website for creating and interacting with 3D scenes. The scene viewer works with desktop web browsers that support WebGL, a web technology standard built into most modern browsers for rendering 3D graphics.

How do I open a scene?

You can view scenes in ArcGIS Online with the scene viewer or sign in and create scenes. You can also open scenes in ArcGIS Pro.

How do I create a scene?

You can sign in to ArcGIS Online to create a scene with the scene viewer, or you can use ArcGIS Pro to create and share a scene.

What's the difference between a scene and a map?

A scene is similar to a map in that they are a mashup of data layers you can view in a browser. Scenes are different from maps because, unlike maps, scenes display 3D data and allow 3D navigation in any direction and angle.

Do I need ArcGIS Pro to create a scene?

No. You can create scenes by mashing up layers shared with you in ArcGIS Online using the scene viewer.

How can I use the scene viewer with my 2D data?

You can bring your 2D data into a 3D environment and get a better understanding of the data. For example, you can create 3D symbols from your 2D symbols by applying a size and height. You can zoom in and out and rotate the surface to see the data from different angles. You can also add elevation to overlapping 2D layers so you more easily view the data in each layer.

What is the difference between the scene viewer and the CityEngine Web Viewer?

The scene viewer and the CityEngine Web Viewer are two different applications available in ArcGIS Online with each having unique functionality and purpose.

In the scene viewer, you can do the following:

  • View scenes created from the scene viewer or ArcGIS Pro. The scene viewer doesn't support CityEngine web scenes.
  • Author scenes, for example, you can add and remove layers, modify symbology, or capture slides.
  • Display a collection of portal layers, such as scene layers, feature layers, image layers, or tile layers.
  • View scenes rendered in world-extent with basemaps in a spherical globe view (global scene) or a planar view (local scene).
  • Navigate scenes where data loading and image-graphic rendering are performed progressively.

In the CityEngine Web Viewer, you can do the following:

  • Display static CityEngine web scenes (3ws) exported from CityEngine or ArcScene. The CityEngine Web Viewer doesn't support scenes.
  • View CityEngine web scenes that are rendered in a small local extent with a Cartesian coordinate system.
  • Comment and compare scenarios, for example, you can use the swipe tool to see the differences between two scenarios.
  • The CityEngine Web Viewer loads CityEngine web scenes as an initial download on opening and does not load any streaming data afterwards.
  • The CityEngine Web Viewer is a viewing tool and doesn't support authoring, such as adding basemaps, changing symbology, or configuring layers.

Can I share 3D geometry in feature layers?

Yes. You can share 3D points, lines, and polygons.

Can I share my own terrain models in scenes?

Yes. You can share custom terrains using ArcGIS 10.3 for Desktop and later to create a cached elevation image service. You can add these services as elevation layers in your scene.

Can I still use extended and mature configurable app templates?

Yes, you can continue to use extended and mature app templates. With extended templates, Esri updates the code when critical issues are discovered. However, extended templates are no longer available in the Esri-default gallery, and Esri does not certify that they will work with new versions of browsers or operating systems. Mature templates are also not available in the Esri-default gallery and are not certified to work with new versions of browsers and operations systems. In addition, Esri no longer maintains the code for mature templates. However, existing apps created with a mature template will continue to work, and the source code can be downloaded and hosted on your own web server. For more information about product life cycles, see Esri Product Lifecycle Support Policy.

How much storage space do I get?

There is no limit on the amount of storage an organization can have. If you are an administrator, you can view detailed reports about your organization's storage of tiles, features, and files from the My Organization tab.

A public account comes with 2 GB of total storage space.

How large a file can I upload?

You can upload files up to 1 GB in size to My Content through a web browser. You can upload larger files through ArcGIS Pro and ArcMap to support publishing layers to ArcGIS Online.


To publish large tile packages, it is recommended that you use the Share Package geoprocessing tool, which can take advantage of multiple processing cores.

What can I share?

You can share supported types of maps, apps, layers, tools, and files.

What's the best way to share my ArcGIS Desktop content?

It depends.

If you want to share data, such as shapefiles, feature classes, and other data sources you use in your maps, share a layer package. A layer package includes the data inside the package, so it is self-contained and can be opened by any other ArcGIS user. People will be able to download your file and work with the data in ArcGIS Desktop.

If you own geospatial data that you want to publish as a map, you can do this by publishing a map service using ArcGIS Server. By sharing a reference to your map service through the website, you make it immediately available for others to use in their maps and apps. Each of your registered services appears as its own map, which users can find, open, and use as a layer in their own maps.

Only share your map document file (.mxd), layer file (.lyr), and so forth, if the file references server-based services that the people you are sharing your file with will be able to access on the web. When you upload one of these ArcGIS Desktop files, only the file is uploaded, so if your map, globe, or layer references any local data on your machine or your enterprise network, it will not be included, and your map may appear broken to somebody viewing it in an ArcGIS app.

If you want to share your work with the widest audience, consider creating a map in the map viewer. These maps can be viewed in web browsers, mobile devices, and desktop map viewers.

Can I share a URL of my map or app?

Yes. Content items, search results, and groups can be accessed directly by a URL. For example, the URL opens to the World Imagery Map Service published by Esri. Anybody can open the URL to a public item or group, including people who are not signed in to ArcGIS Online.

Do common search engines find the items I've added to ArcGIS Online?

Yes. Items that are uploaded and shared as public are automatically indexed by popular search engines and can be discovered by common search methods. If you are on the website, you can also use its search function to find items.

What happened to the layer packages and other ArcGIS Desktop files I shared? I no longer see them.

The items are still in the website. However, you may have to change the site setting to show ArcGIS desktop content. By default, the site only shows web content in search results, groups, and the gallery. This means that if you haven't set the site to show desktop content, your layer packages and other data files won't appear in search results or your groups.

What happens if I delete the source item used to publish a hosted layer?

If the source item used to publish a hosted layer is deleted, the layer continues to draw as expected. However, certain functionality that requires access to the source data may no longer work as expected. The specific functionality can vary from layer to layer. Impacted functionality includes the following:

  • If you delete a service definition file, the Overwrite an existing service option in ArcMap may no longer work as expected.
  • If you delete a shapefile, file geodatabase, or CSV file, the Overwrite option on the hosted feature layer's item page is no longer available.
  • If you delete a tile package (.tpk), the hosted tile layer published from it can no longer be taken offline.

When the source item used to publish a hosted layer is a hosted layer itself, the hosted layer used as the source item cannot be deleted until all hosted layers published from it are deleted.

Why can't I see layer packages or other files used in ArcGIS Desktop?

By default, search results include web content only. To see ArcGIS Desktop content, such as layer packages, check the box next to Show ArcGIS Desktop Content.

What is the difference between a map and a web app within the context of the website?

A map is an interactive display of geographic information, for example, satellite imagery of streets, houses, and open space within Los Angeles County. You can view it in a browser, mobile device, or desktop app and use tools to change the extent, find places, and see detailed data about a specific location. In addition, you can build your own map by defining an area of interest, choosing a basemap, and adding layers. You can save maps and share them with everyone or with specific groups to which you belong.

A web app runs in a browser and combines maps, data, and tools for a targeted use such as a polling stations app. It might be as simple as a map embedded in a blog or as complex as a GPS navigation app or operational dashboard. Apps can be based on standard templates, which are configured using maps and other properties and developed with ArcGIS Web APIs. In general, apps are constructed from information in maps, supplemented with additional app-specific configuration and customization. Apps can be hosted as a part of your content in the system, or they can be managed independently and registered with the system.

What is Living Atlas of the World?

Living Atlas of the World is an evolving collection of authoritative, ready-to-use global geographic information from Esri and other contributors and curators. It includes imagery, basemaps, demographics and lifestyle, landscape, boundaries and places, transportation, earth observations, urban systems, oceans, and historical maps that can be combined with your own data to create maps, scenes, and apps and perform analysis.

What is subscriber content?

Subscriber content is the collection of ready-to-use map layers, analytic tools, and services published by Esri that requires an organizational subscription account to access. This includes layers from Esri such as Landsat 8 imagery, NAIP imagery, landscape analysis layers, and historical maps. Subscriber content is provided as part of your organizational subscription and does not consume any credits.

What is premium content?

Premium content is the collection of ready-to-use map layers, analytic tools, apps, and services published by Esri that requires an organizational account to access and consumes credits. This includes layers from Esri such as demographic and lifestyle maps as well as tools for geocoding, geoenrichment, network analysis, elevation analysis, and spatial analysis. Privileges to use geoenrichment and spatial analysis can be assigned to members with level 2 accounts only. Any member can be assigned privileges to use demographics, elevation analysis, geocoding, and network analysis. Access and credit information is listed on the item page description for each item. Premium apps require an additional purchase and must be licensed to members by the administrator. Premium content is a type of subscriber content.

What are hexbins?

Hexbins are a mesh of connected hexagons commonly used for aggregating and summarizing spatial data. For example, in this tornado map, hexbins are used to show the connection between tornado strikes and injuries and fatalities. For more information, see blog posts about thematic mapping with hexagons and using the binning technique. You might also consider searching for hexbin images in popular search engines to see visual examples of connected hexagons.

Are ArcGIS Online basemaps available through HTTPS?

Yes. You have the option to access ArcGIS Online basemaps through an HTTPS connection. Using HTTPS to access basemaps encrypts the communication with the server and provides an added level of security for requests. Using HTTPS may affect the performance of the basemaps. To use an HTTPS connection, use https instead of http in the URL string, for example,

How do I find out when aerial photos were taken for a specific location?

You can get resolution, collection date, and imagery source by using the Imagery with Metadata map zoomed in to a large scale (generally about 1:50k and below). Open the map in the map viewer or ArcGIS Desktop. To get the aerial imagery information, be sure you are zoomed in to a large scale. In the map viewer, click the map to see a pop-up with the information. In ArcGIS Desktop, click Identify and click the map to see a pop-up with the information.

Can I use Bing Maps with ArcGIS?

Yes. ArcGIS products are Bing Maps-ready. To use Bing Maps, you must first contact Microsoft to obtain a Bing Maps key. Once you have a key, input it into your product or application. Once you input your Bing Maps key, your ArcGIS product or application will be able to access Bing Maps. If you have questions about using Bing Maps with ArcGIS, contact your account manager or local Esri office.

How do I contact Microsoft to get pricing information?

Send an email to Microsoft set up the email address specifically for Esri customers. A Microsoft account representative will get in touch with you. Microsoft provides specialized pricing based on the type and amount of usage. To help them with their assessment, the following information will be helpful:

  • The number of ArcGIS Desktop users in your organization who would use Bing Maps. (Note: Microsoft bases their known user licensing on the actual number of users and does not license on a concurrent basis.)
  • A summary of web-based apps used for internal purposes.
  • A summary of any public web-based apps. A description of each app and an estimate of daily visitors will help in the assessment.
  • The number of mobile devices that might access Bing Maps.

Is there a fee to use Bing Maps?

There may be a fee based on your usage level and use cases.

How do I add a Bing Maps key to ArcGIS Desktop?

  • ArcGIS 10.2 for Desktop and later—See Using Bing Maps in the ArcGIS Desktop help.
  • ArcGIS 10.1 for Desktop—Download patch from Esri Support (requires Service Pack 1).
  • ArcGIS Desktop 10—Download patch from Esri Support (requires Service Pack 5).
  • ArcGIS Desktop 9.3.1—Download patch from Esri Support.

How do I add a Bing Maps key to my web app?

In your code, you need to search for the Bing Maps key you are currently using. You will need to replace this key with the one you get from Microsoft.

How do I add a Bing Maps key to my ArcGIS Online organization?

An administrator in your organization needs to configure the map viewer with your Bing Maps key. Once your map viewer is configured for Bing Maps, you can add Bing basemaps to your maps.

Can I take Bing Maps offline?

No. Bing Maps is not supported for offline use.

What maps other than Bing Maps can I use?

ArcGIS Online includes a number of maps you can use free.

  • World Imagery is updated frequently and provides 1-meter or better satellite imagery for many parts of the world.
  • Imagery with Labels and Transportation is the World Imagery basemap with layers for labels and streets. If you have your own streets and labels, you can turn off these layers.
  • ArcGIS Online gives you access to a number of different basemaps that you can use in your projects. The World Street Map, World Topographic Map, Light Gray Canvas Map, and National Geographic World Map provide a range of cartographic options to meet your needs.

For the latest content updates, see the ArcGIS Online blog.

What environments are available for building custom apps?

You can use ArcGIS API for JavaScript, ArcGIS Runtime SDKs, configurable apps, and app builders to create your own interactive and compelling mapping apps. For more information, see ArcGIS for Developers.

Do I need an account to use ArcGIS API for JavaScript and ArcGIS Runtime SDKs?

Yes. Sign in to ArcGIS for Developers with your ArcGIS organizational account to access ArcGIS API for JavaScript and ArcGIS Runtime SDKs. To use these resources for development and testing only, you can sign up for a free account at Before your apps go to production, you will need to upgrade your free account to a paid plan.

How do I give my colleagues permission to modify content I share with them?

You can allow other people in your organization to update your maps, apps, layers, and files, as well as their item details, by sharing the items with a group that has the item update capability enabled. When you share items to a group with this capability enabled, you allow group members to update any items shared with the group.

Allowing other members of your organization to update your shared content is useful in many scenarios. For instance, it makes it easy for a team of shift workers to share responsibility for updating a critical web map—adding or removing layers, changing symbols, updating the map's description, and so on. Another common scenario is giving a team of editors the ability to edit a publicly visible hosted feature layer without enabling editing on the layer for everyone.

To allow others to update your shared items, do the following:

  1. Create a group with the item update capability enabled as follows:
    1. Ensure you have privileges to create groups with update capabilities.
    2. Create a new group.
    3. Check the box to allow members to update all items in the group.
    4. Add yourself and the colleagues with whom you want to collaborate to the group.
  2. Share your items with the group using the Access and update capabilities option.

    You remain the owner of the items, and other group members can update them.


Only members with level 2 accounts in the same organization can belong to the group. All members of this group can update the item regardless of the privileges for their role. However, they cannot perform other actions that are outside their privileges. For example, if they do not have privileges to create content, they cannot save a copy of a map they update. Only the owner (or administrator) of the item can perform the following actions on the item (not all actions apply to all item types): delete, share, move, change owner, change delete protection, publish, register an app, overwrite data in hosted feature layers, and manage tiles in hosted tile layers.

How can I share my data with a member of another organization?

You can share content with members of a different organization by inviting them to a group you belong to or own and sharing your items with the group. You can invite a user to the group if the following conditions are met:

  • The person you are inviting has an ArcGIS Online account.
  • The person you are inviting has privileges to join groups.
  • The person you are inviting has the same type of account that you have. For example, if you have an organizational account, you can only invite people with organizational accounts to join your group.
  • The group does not have the item update capability enabled.

    When you invite a member from another organization to your group, only those who have set their profiles to be visible to the public will be found in a search. However, you can still invite users who haven't set their profiles to be public if you enter their exact user name.

What are the considerations for changing the short name of my organization and what should I do after I change it?

Changing the short name is intended for new organizations with little content or customization. Consider this change carefully if your organization is more mature and has extensive content. You cannot change the short name if any member has a license checked out or if your organization has Open Data enabled.

If you do change the short name, inform your members that the URL has changed and that they may need to sign in again and update any bookmarks pointing to the organization. You may also need to manually update the URLs of your hosted content and resources, including web apps. For example, you can update the URL of your hosted web apps through the Settings tab of the item page.

How can I limit access to content for some organization members such as external contractors?

When you want to limit access to content—for example, content of a highly sensitive nature—for some members of your organization, you can assign them a custom role with the following privileges turned off:

  • Content: View content shared with the organization
  • Groups: View groups shared with the organization

Members who are not granted these privileges will only be able to view content shared with groups they belong to, while being restricted from viewing other organization content.

When you want to restrict certain members from seeing a list of members in the organization and accessing the My Organization page, you can turn off the following privilege:

  • Members: View