Guided tour

Learn how to connect to ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise , manage portals, bookmarks, basemap and terrain, and use the table of contents in ArcGIS Earth. You will also learn how to add 3D effects, search for places, and configure application settings.

Connect to ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise

Signing in to ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise allows you to access your content, group content, your organization's content, basemap and terrain, and geocoding service settings of your organization for use in ArcGIS Earth.

Sign in directly from the upper right of the application interface, where the current login status is also displayed. In addition, ArcGIS Earth provides options to manage portal connections including adding or removing portal connections and setting or switching the active portal.

ArcGIS Earth supports ArcGIS Enterprise portal logins starting at Portal for ArcGIS 10.2.1, and supports SAML authentication starting at Portal for ArcGIS 10.4. The following table indicates version support between ArcGIS Earth and ArcGIS Enterprise logins:

ArcGIS Earth Version

ArcGIS Enterprise Portal Authentication

Built-in security

IWA security

PKI security

SAML authentication

Kerberos security




  • You can't connect ArcGIS Earth 1.3–1.6.1 to Portal for ArcGIS 10.6, 10.6.1 and 10.7 (with PKI security) using either a certificate or smart card.
  • To access services hosted on the portal that is secured through PKI Oracle Access Manager, sign in to the portal first, or preset PKI servers in the configuration file as an administrator.
  • Internet Explorer 11 and Edge Legacyare no longer supported for the ArcGIS Online sign-in window. See ArcGIS Online supported browsers for more details.

Manage portals

Access Portal Manager from the upper right portal panel, which allows you to add, delete, edit, and remove portal connections.

  • Click Add portal and enter a portal URL on the dialog box that appears. The portal URL is appended in the Portal Manager list if it is successfully added.
  • To remove a portal connection, click the delete button Delete to the right of the selected portal URL.
  • Right-clicking each portal URL opens a menu with the following options to further manage portal connections:
    • Sign in—Sign in to the selected portal.
    • Sign out—Sign out of the selected portal.
    • Set As Active Portal—Set the selected portal as the active portal.
    • Test Availability—Click to test the connection and accessibility of the selected portal.
    • Forget Certificate—Click to remove the certificate information remembered for the portal. This option only appears in the menu of the PKI portal with a remembered certificate.
  • The admin icon Admin indicates preset portals by the administrator that cannot be removed directly from the Portal Manager panel.
  • ArcGIS Earth will remember your credentials automatically if Remember my credentials is checked on the sign-in dialog box. ArcGIS Earth will remember your PKI portal certificate automatically if Remember my certificate is checked on the Select a certificate dialog box. For SAML portal sign in with an X.509 certificate, there is no such check box on the Select a certificate dialog box. To remember a SAML portal certificate, check the Remember my credentials check box on the sign-in dialog box.
  • After the certificate is remembered, either click the Forget Certificate option in the PKI portal menu to remove the remembered certificate or press Ctrl+Alt+D to remove all remembered credentials including the certificate.
  • For PKI and IWA portal users, there is no sign out option provided.

Switch the active portal

By default, ArcGIS Online is your active portal. You can switch active portals if multiple portal connections are provided.

A check mark indicates the portal that is currently set as active. To switch the active portal, you have the following two options:

  • Choose an available portal from the Switch Active Portal drop-down list in the upper right portal panel.
  • From the Portal Manager panel, right-click the selected portal URL and click Set As Active Portal or double-click the selected portal URL.

If you mistakenly remove an active portal from Portal Manager, ArcGIS Earth will set ArcGIS Online as the active portal.

Sign in to a portal using a web browser

You can sign in to your organization using a web browser.

  1. From the current portal menu in the upper corner of ArcGIS Earth, click Sign in. Alternatively, from the same menu, click Portal Manager, right-click the portal to open its side menu, and click Sign in.
  2. At the bottom of the sign in page, click Sign in using browser.

    You are redirected to a browser.

  3. Provide the credentials associated with your account and click Sign in.
    • If your login is successful, a prompt to open ArcGIS Earth appears.
    • If you signed in to ArcGIS Enterprise portal 10.9 or earlier, an authorization code may be provided in the browser. Copy the code and return to ArcGIS Earth to complete the authorization process.


You can change the default sign in option in the Portal Manager panel. You'll see the Sign in using browser check box. This option determines whether you are automatically redirected to a web browser the next time you click Sign in.

Provide ArcGIS Earth redirect URIs

Portal administrators can update the registration information for ArcGIS Earth on their portal to include a redirect URI that sends users back to the application after they successfully sign in using a browser. From the Portal Administrator Directory, provide the redirect URI by using the update App Info typically accessible at the following URL:

In the App Info field, enter the following and click Update App:


Use the table of contents

The table of contents lists all the layers in the viewport and shows what the features in each layer represent. In the table of contents, you can manage the display order of layers, view the layer legend, and set the display and other properties of each layer.

ArcGIS Earth supports searching keywords in the table of contents by clicking the search button Search in TOC. Returned results are highlighted and allow you to scroll through the items one by one.

The layer icon in the table of contents can be customized for each layer type or folder type. You can refer to layer icon customization for more details.

Work with your data

The order of layers determines how layers are drawn on the globe. On the Data tab, the layers listed at the top will draw on top of those in the list below them, and so on, down the list. You can also drag layers to adjust their drawing order or organize them in a separate folder.

Double-clicking a layer zooms to the layer extent. To turn a layer on or off, check the check box next to the layer's name. The warning icon Warning indicates the data is broken or not accessible.

Right-clicking a folder or a layer opens a menu containing the following commands:

  • Add group—Create a group.
  • Remove/Remove all—Remove one or all items (layer or group).
  • Refresh—Reload data with a warning icon Warning, or manually refresh KML network links.
  • Rename—Rename an existing group, a drawing element, or a 3D model.
  • Zoom to layer—Zoom to a layer's extent.
  • Add to My Data—Add the data of the current layer to My Data. This only applies to startup layers excluding its sublayers if there are any.
  • Hide in Legend—Hide a layer in the legend.
  • Move to top—Move a layer or group to the top of the contents.
  • Move to bottom—Move a layer or group to the bottom of the contents.
  • Expand all/Collapse all—Expand or collapse My Data or Startup Layers.
  • Save as...—Export drawing elements or geocode CSV and TXT file data as a .kmz file.
  • Symbology—Open the Symbology pane and apply symbology methods to feature layers.
  • Properties—Edit layer properties including the following:
    • Summary—Display data information including name, description, data source, data extent, and spatial reference.
      • Started from ArcGIS Earth 1.16, HTML formatted description is supported for a portal item layer. Hyperlinks, images, and tables in the description are also supported. Images are sometimes resized to fit in the Properties window. Clicking the image would redirect to the source image in an external web browser.
      • Under Data Source, the Copy Copy and Redirect Redirect buttons can be used to copy or redirect to the data path or service URL. Move the pointer to the path or URl itself, and clicking it can redirect as well.
      • Spatial reference information is organized and presented in table format with the strings in the first column translated in different locales.
    • Appearance—Provide options to configure layer appearance.
    • Pop-up—Provide options to configure pop-up contents for CSV and TXT data.

Specifically, right-clicking a .kml file opens a menu containing the following commands:

  • Add—Add a folder, a point, a line, a polygon, a ground overlay, a screen overlay, or a network link to the KML folder or KML document.
  • Cut—Cut the selected KML item.
  • Copy—Copy the selected KML item.
  • Paste—Paste the selected KML item to an existing KML folder or document.
  • Save as...—Save the selected KML layer, drawing elements, 3D model of collada format, and geocode CSV and TXT file data as a new .kml or .kmz file. The edited KML layer can also be saved to the table of contents to replace the existing one.
  • Properties—Edit KML layer properties including the following:
    • General—Display KML layer information including name, appearance, and geometry type.
    • View—View and set the fly-to view.
    • Info—View and edit pop-up contents.
    • Refresh—Configure refresh mode and refresh rate for KML network links.
    • Location—Specify the bounding box of ground overlay.
    • Format—Specify the size and position of screen overlay.
  • Appearance settings on scene services and scene layer packages are not supported.
  • Layers listed (top to bottom) in a .kml file in the table of contents have a reversed draw order (bottom to top) in the scene view. Changing the order of KML layers does not affect the drawing order on the globe until saving as a new .kmz file.
  • Use the Reset button to restore settings to the default values.
Use keyboard shortcuts to control the table of contents and operate on the search results.

View legend

A legend displays the meaning of the symbols used to represent features on the map. In ArcGIS Earth, you can view data legends for feature layers of point, line, and polygon, OGC WMS, CSV/TXT, and shapefile.

To view legends in the table of contents, do the following:

  1. Add the map with legends to ArcGIS Earth.
  2. Click the Legend tab in the table of contents.

If you do not want to show the legends of an existing layer, you can hide it in the legend by doing one of the following:

  • Right-click the layer and select Hide in Legend in the menu.
  • Uncheck a layer to turn off its visibility in Data. A layer's legend display is associated with the layer's visibility in the table of contents.


Legends of the imagery, scene layer, and layers that contain multilayer point symbols are not supported.

Basemap and terrain

A basemap provides background geographic context for the content you add to the globe. The terrain provides the elevation reference for content that is draped on the surface. ArcGIS Earth connects with ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise to access its default basemap gallery and terrain.

You can also add data as a personalized basemap and terrain. You can add supported data types as a basemap, except shapefiles and CSV and TXT formats. Local raster data, elevation image services, and tile packages with LERC tile format can be added as terrain surfaces.

To switch a basemap, complete the following steps:

  1. Click the Basemap tab to open the basemap gallery.
  2. Click the thumbnail of the basemap that best represents your globe.
  3. Click the Show more button Show more to delete, zoom to, or view item details of the basemap.

You can disable the basemap by clicking the No Basemap thumbnail at the end of the basemap gallery. With the basemap disabled, your globe will be displayed as blank.

To use a terrain, complete the following steps:

  1. Click the Terrain tab to open the terrain gallery.
  2. Click the thumbnail of the terrain you want to use.
  3. Click the Show more button Show more to delete, zoom to, reorder, or view item details of the terrain.
  4. Click Enable All to turn on all terrains.

ArcGIS Online does not support vector tile basemaps; consequently, they will not appear in the Basemap.


  • ArcGIS Online will merge multiple elevations into one if they're added with multiselection. The layer name will be MergedFiles00x (where x is an incremented counter associate with the file number).
  • Multiple elevation sources can overlap each other, and their order defines the elevation surface.
  • The admin icon Admin indicates layers preset by the administrator, which cannot be saved when you export the workspace.

The following table lists the supported local raster data types as terrain:


Digital Geographic Information Exchange Standard (DIGEST), Arc Standard Raster Product (ASRP), UTM/UPS Standard Raster Product (USRP)

DIGEST datasets are digital replicas of graphic products designed for seamless worldwide coverage. ASRP data is transformed into the ARC system and divides the earth's surface into latitudinal zones. USRP data is referenced to UTM or UPS coordinate systems. Both are based on the WGS84 datum.

Multiple files

Main raster image (.img)

General information file (.gen)

Georeference file (.ger)

Source file (.sou)

Quality file (.qal)

Transmission header file (.thf)

Digital Terrain Elevation Data (DTED) Level 0, 1, and 2

A simple, regularly spaced grid of elevation points based on 1-degree latitude and longitude extents. Created by NGA.

Single file—Various (.dt0, .dt1, and .dt2). All possible file extensions are available by default (.dt0, .dt1, and .dt2).

Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) (GeoTIFF tags are supported)

Widespread use in the desktop publishing world. It serves as an interface to several scanners and graphic arts packages. TIFF supports black-and-white, grayscale, pseudocolor, and true-color images, all of which can be stored in a compressed or decompressed format.

BigTIFF is supported.

Single file (.tif, .tiff, and .tff)

ERDAS IMAGINE Hierarchical File Architecture (HFA)

HFA format is widely used for processing remote sensing data, since it provides a framework for integrating sensor data and imagery from many sources.

Single file (.img)

High Resolution Elevation (HRE)

HRE data is intended for a wide variety of National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and National System for Geospatial Intelligence (NSG) partners and members, and customers external to the NSG, to access and exploit standardized data products. HRE data replaces the current nonstandard High Resolution Terrain Elevation/Information (HRTE/HRTI) products and also replaces nonstandard products referred to as DTED level 3 through 6.

This data format is similar to NITF.

Multiple files

Raw image (.hr)

Metadata (.xml)


Produced using IMAGINE image processing software created by ERDAS, IMAGINE files can store both continuous and discrete single-band and multiband data.

Single file (.img)

If image is larger than 2 GB (.ige)

World file (.igw)

Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) File Interchange Format (JFIF)

A standard compression technique for storing full-color and grayscale images. Support for JPEG compression is provided through the JFIF file format.

Single file (.jpg, .jpeg, .jpc, or .jpe)

World file (.jgw)

JPEG 2000

A compression technique especially for maintaining the quality of large imagery. Allows for a high-compression ratio and fast access to large amounts of data at any scale.

Single file (.jp2, .j2c, .j2k, or .jpx)

Multiresolution Seamless Image Database (MrSID)

A proprietary compression technique especially for maintaining the quality of large images. Allows for a high compression ratio and fast access to large amounts of data at any scale. The MrSID Encoder is developed and supported by LizardTech, Inc.

Supports generations 2, 3, and 4.

Single file (.sid)

National Imagery Transmission Format (NITF) 2.0

A collection of standards and specifications that allow interoperability in the dissemination of imagery and its metadata among various computer systems. Developed by the NGA.

Single file (.ntf or.nsf)

NITF 2.1/NSIF 1.0

Portable Network Graphics (PNG)

Provides a well-compressed, lossless compression for raster files. It supports a large range of bit depths from monochrome to 64-bit color. Its features include indexed color images of up to 256 colors and effective 100 percent lossless images of up to 16 bits per pixel.

Single file (.png)

Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM)

The HGT format is used to store elevation data from SRTM. SRTM-3 and SRTM-1 version 2 files can be displayed.

Single file (.hgt)

Search places or addresses

ArcGIS Earth allows you to search for a point of interest and have the map zoom to a specific location on the earth. This feature uses the geosearch service from ArcGIS Online.

ArcGIS Earth supports the following search options:

  • XY provider—Used to search x,y coordinates entered in location units—for example, <longtitude>, <latitude>, even in a disconnected environment.
  • World Geocoding service—By default, ArcGIS Earth uses Esri's World Geocoding services to find addresses, cities, landmarks, business names, and postal codes in more than 100 countries.
  • Custom geocoding service—Your organization can also configure custom geocode services for geosearch, geocoding, or both. With a portal connection, ArcGIS Earth allows you to choose from available locators configured in the portal when you search.
  • Locator—Locators from the mobile scene package can provide specialized indexes, rules, configuration, and regional knowledge that allow a more sophisticated approach to search.

Application settings

Use the Settings buttonSettings in the upper right corner to configure application settings.

General settings:

  • Workspace Directory—Working history and settings are created and saved automatically in the default workspace directory. You can also open a workspace, save a current workspace to a location, import workspace, export workspace or clear workspace contents of a specified workspace directory. See Save to a workspace directory for more details. The ArcGIS Earth workspace is saved automatically to the specified directory if Autosave workspace is selected.
  • Startup View—You can set up the startup view with a specific custom view or continue where you left off. Click Take snapshot to save the current view as the custom startup view.
  • Spatial ReferenceArcGIS Earth always displays data in the WGS84 Geographic Coordinate System. Web Mercator is used as the default spatial reference for incoming Esri REST services. To view service-based data in the WGS84 coordinate system, you'll need to change the spatial reference setting and restart the application.
  • Show web results in external browser—You can open HTML links in the pop-up window with an external default browser set on your operating system.
  • Show tips at startup—Enable this setting to show tips when starting ArcGIS Earth.
  • Display Language—Choose your preferred language to display for ArcGIS Earth user interface text. You will need to restart ArcGIS Earth for the setting to take effect.

Navigation settings:

  • Fly-to Speed—Double-clicking layers in the table of contents allows you to zoom in to the globe. Dragging the slider bar adjusts the zoom speed.
  • TOC Fly-to Angle—Provide options of default angle and no fly-to angle when zooming to a layer from the table of contents.
  • Mouse Wheel Speed—Zoom in by scrolling the wheel button away from you. To zoom out, scroll the wheel toward you. You can change the wheel button zoom speed by dragging the slider bar.
  • Navigator—Three on-screen navigator options have been added to settings. These options are as follows:
    • Default—The on-screen navigator will be collapsed by default unless you hover over it. When hovered over, it will become expanded.
    • Collapsed—The on-screen navigator will remain collapsed.
    • Expanded—The on-screen navigator will remain expanded.
  • Mouse Wheel Zoom Direction—Use this setting to invert the direction of zoom when the wheel button is used.
  • Continuous Panning—Enable this setting to allow the camera to continue to move over the earth when the mouse is released after panning actions.
  • Auto-zoom to new layer—Click this setting to automatically zoom to the extent when adding a new layer.
  • Non-mouse Controller—Enable this setting to navigate ArcGIS Earth with a nonmouse controller. Click Reverse Controls to inverse the navigation directions.

Units settings include Location units, Distance units, Elevation units, and Area units. Once configured, units settings are applied immediately on the user interface. The Show Lat/Long option allows you to switch longitude and latitude order in the search box, measurement bar, and status bar.

Advanced settings:

  • App ConfigurationArcGIS Earth uses the default configuration file located in the application installation directory, which is typically in the C:\Program Files\ArcGIS\Earth\bin folder. You can add new configuration files from either local folders or online and specify one to meet your requirements. See Manage configuration for more details.
  • Proxy Server Authentication—By default, ArcGIS Earth uses Windows Internet settings for proxy server information. In the application settings, you can specify a different proxy instead.
  • ArcGIS Earth Automation API—A standard interface to enable Automation API and allow REST-supported applications to communicate with ArcGIS Earth regarding machine usage. See the Automation API guide for more information.

Customization settings:

All the supported tools are listed and grouped on the Customization tab. You can add up to six favorite tools to the quick dock area.

  • Click any tool to add it to the quick dock area.
  • Drag the added tools in the quick dock area to reorder them.
  • Click the minus button on the tool in the quick dock area to remove it.
  • Click Clear All to remove all the added tools from the quick dock area.