Vector tile layers

A vector tile layer references a set of web-accessible vector tiles and the corresponding style for how those tiles should be drawn. Vector tiles are similar to image tiles, but they store a vector representation of the data. Client-side drawing of vector tiles allows for vector tile layers to be customized for the purpose of the map, which drives dynamic, interactive cartography. The combination of tile access performance and vector drawing allows the tiles to adapt to any resolution of the display, which may vary across devices.

With ArcGIS Pro 1.2, you can share a vector tile package to your organization and publish the uploaded vector tile package as a hosted tile layer.

The hosted vector tile layers you publish can be added to web maps as operational or basemap layers. You can create web apps that consume your map by using one of the configurable web apps or Web AppBuilder. Custom web apps built with ArcGIS API for JavaScript can consume vector tile layers by loading the web map or by adding vector tile layers to the map directly. You can also customize the style of the vector tile layer and the contents of the map.

Beta versions of Esri vector basemaps are available through ArcGIS Online as vector tile layers. These vector basemaps include a variety of styles, some that are similar to the existing Esri basemaps and others that are new, and are accessible as both ready-to-use web maps and vector tile layers you can add to a map. You can use these Esri vector tile layers in your maps as well as in web apps that you configure or build using Web AppBuilder. As a developer, you can build your own custom apps that use these layers using ArcGIS API for JavaScript.

Considerations for using vector tiles

The following are some considerations for using the current release of vector tile layers:

  • Vector tile layers are only supported in apps built with ArcGIS API for JavaScript. This includes the configurable apps, Web AppBuilder, and custom apps built with the JavaScript API. ArcGIS Runtime SDKs will add support in 2016.
  • Vector tile layers can be displayed in Internet Explorer 11 and higher and most other current versions of desktop browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
  • Vector tile layers have the best performance on machines with newer hardware.
  • Maps containing an Esri vector basemap will be printed with the Esri Streets basemap. All other maps containing vector tile layers will be printed without the vector tile layers.
  • Esri vector basemaps are currently in beta and subject to change during the beta period. You may need to update or replace vector tile layers built using the beta versions of the vector basemaps. Esri vector basemaps have some known limitations that will be addressed during the beta period, including the following:
    • Labels in languages that display right-to-left scripts, such as Arabic, are not drawn properly.
    • Labels along vector tile boundaries sometimes do not display completely.
    • The topographic map style does not contain some layers (for example, contours, landform labels, and spot elevations) that are included in World Topographic Map.
    • There are issues with displaying vector tile layers at large scales.
  • Visit the Support Services blog for more information on support for the vector tile layers.