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Guided tour

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



1.2, 1.2.1, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.6.1, 1.7, 1.8

  • You can't connect ArcGIS Earth 1.3–1.6.1 to Portal for ArcGIS 10.6 (with PKI security) using either a certificate or smart card.
  • To access services hosted on the portal that is secured via PKI Oracle Access Manager, sign in to the portal first.

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.
  • 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. Press Ctrl+Alt+D to remove remembered credentials.
  • For PKI and IWA portal users, there is no sign out option provided.

Switch 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.

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. The table of contents helps you manage the display order of layers and symbol assignment, as well as set the display and other properties of each layer as follows:

  • The order of layers determines how layers are drawn on the globe. In a data frame, 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 drag layers to adjust their drawing order or organize them in a separate folder.
  • To turn a layer on or off, check the check box next to the layer's name.
  • Double-clicking a layer zooms to the layer extent.
  • The warning icon Warning indicates the data is broken or not accessible.
  • Right-clicking a layer opens a menu containing the following commands for working with layers:
    • Add group—Create a new group.
    • Remove/Remove all—Remove one or all items (layer or group).
    • Refresh—Reload data with a warning icon Warning.
    • Rename—Rename an existing group, a drawing element, or a 3D model.
    • Zoom to layer—Zoom to a layer's extent.
    • 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 KMZ.
    • Properties—The Summary panel displays data information including general, data source, extent, and spatial reference. The Appearance panel provides options to configure the appearance of shapefiles, CSV and TXT layers, rasters, and image services.
  • Appearance settings on KML and KMZ layers, scene services, and scene layer packages are not supported.
  • Use the Reset button to set the appearance options back to the default value.

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.

Use keyboard shortcuts to control the table of contents and operate on the search results.


A bookmark allows you to save a specific geographic location as an area of interest and refer to it later while you explore and navigate around in ArcGIS Earth.

You can navigate through these locations by clicking the thumbnail of the bookmarks. You also can change the order, rename, update, or remove bookmarks, and play bookmarks sequentially for presentation or animation purposes.

Create bookmarks

To add bookmarks to ArcGIS Earth and start editing right away, complete the following steps:

  1. Click Bookmarks Bookmarks on the toolbar to open bookmarks.
  2. Navigate to an area of interest, adjust perspective, and click Add Add to save the current view as a bookmark. A bookmark thumbnail is automatically generated and helps you to quickly preview and identify the saved view.
  3. Click the bookmark and zoom to the view you created.

Manage bookmarks

Once bookmarks have been created, you can edit them by clicking the edit button Edit. You can rename, update, remove, or reorder a selected bookmark as follows:

  • Rename—Click the text area to place your pointer and type a new name for the bookmark. Press Enter when you finish typing.
  • Reorder—Click and drag a selected bookmark to reorder it.
  • Update—Click to select a bookmark and zoom to its current view. Navigate to adjust the perspective and click the update button Update to refine the view. The thumbnail of the bookmark is updated as well.
  • Remove—Click the remove button Remove to delete a selected bookmark.
  • First/Last—Click to go to the first or last bookmark.

Bookmark tour

You can play a tour of bookmarks by sequence, starting from the selected bookmark. The play button Play is enabled once you've added one or more bookmarks.

Select the bookmark you want to start the tour, and ArcGIS Earth will automatically play them in order. Click the stop button Stop or click in the scene to stop the tour.

Save and share bookmarks

Bookmarks are saved in ArcGIS Earth workspace in JSON format. You can load and share bookmarks by importing and exporting a workspace. See Save to workspace directory for more details.

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.

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)

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)

3D effects

You can click the 3D effects button 3D effects to open the 3D effects panel, through which you can configure 3D graphics rendering including atmosphere and elevation exaggeration.

  • Atmosphere—Turn on or off photorealistic atmosphere effect.
  • Elevation Exaggeration—Turn terrain on or off on the Basemap and Terrain dialog box. Drag the slider to view the elevation exaggeration scale between 0 and 3. You can also type a specific number in the text box. The default setting for this value is 1.

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.

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 around the world. Additionally, XY provider is used to search x,y coordinates entered in location units—for example, <longtitude>, <latitude>—even in a disconnected environment. 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.

Draw points, lines, and polygons

You can draw placemarks, paths, and polygons on the globe and save them in the My Drawings folder in the table of contents.

Once you've finished drawing an element, it appears in the table of contents. You can double-click it to fly to it, or edit it by right-clicking the layer properties. ArcGIS Earth also supports saving drawings as KMZ files by individual layer or by folder. See Share your work for details.

To create and edit a drawing element, complete the following steps:

  1. Click Draw Draw on the toolbar. Choose Point Point from the drop-down menu to add a placemark, choose Line Line to add a path, or choose Polygon Polygon to add a polygon.
  2. Click to create a placemark, and double-click to finish sketching a path or a polygon. The drawing element is automatically saved in the table of contents once you finish.
  3. In the Edit panel, configure the drawing properties using the General, View, and Info tabs. For placemarks, you can specify accurate coordinates from the Position pane of a selected point.
    • General—Change the name, geometry, and appearance of a drawing element. ArcGIS Earth supports three types of altitude mode: draped, absolute, and relative.
    • View—Set and save the fly-to view of the current drawing element by clicking Snapshot current view. Reset the fly-to view of the drawing element to the center of the screen by clicking Reset to center.
    • Info—Type descriptions, or edit the HTML code and preview it for the drawing elements on the Rich Text tab. The description is displayed in a pop-up window when you click the drawing element.
  4. Drag a selected point or vertex to move its position. Use Undo Undo and Redo Redo or keyboard shortcuts to control the editing process.
  5. Close the Edit panel to exit drawing mode. A dialog box appears for saving drawings if you exited with unsaved content.
  6. To edit a drawing element again, two options are available:
    • Right-click the layer in the table of contents and select Properties.
    • Click a drawing element in the scene, right-click, and select Properties.

On the General tab, you can paste an image URL or select a local icon you've created or saved, which is limited to 1 MB. After importing, the size is limited to a maximum of 128 pixels. Custom icons are saved to the default workspace directory. ArcGIS Earth supports the following icon formats:

  • .png
  • .jpg
  • .jpeg
  • .tif
  • .tiff

You can add five custom colors; use the eyedropper to capture colors from the screen; and specify accurate colors with HEX, HSL, or RGB values.

Measure location, area, and distance

In ArcGIS Earth, you can measure the coordinates of a point, the area of a shape, the length of a line, the distance of line segments, and 3D distance between points. Before or after performing each measurement, you can change the default units of measure in the application settings. The options are as follows:

  • Point Point—Measure coordinates and elevation of a point on the ground.
  • Line Line—Measure the distance between two points and heading based on true north.
  • Path Path—Measure the distance between multiple points on the ground.
  • Circle Circle—Measure the center coordinates, radius, perimeter, and area of a circle on the ground.
  • Polygon Polygon—Measure the perimeter and area of a geometric shape on the ground.
  • 3D measure 3D measure— Measure the direct, vertical, and horizontal Euclidean distances between two points.
  • Save Save—Save a measured feature as a drawing element and open the drawing Edit panel.
  • Copy Copy—Copy measurements to the clipboard.

Except for 3D measure, ArcGIS Earth calculates the geodetic distance, which represents the shortest line between two points on the ellipsoidal surface of the earth sphere.

Application settings

Using the Settings button Settings, you can access the following options:

  • General
    • Workspace Directory—Working history and settings are created and saved automatically in the default workspace directory. You can also 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 when you exit if Autosave workspace on exit 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 Reference (restart required)ArcGIS Earth always displays data in the WGS84 Geographic Coordinate System. Web Mercator is used as the default spatial reference for incoming Esri REST services. If you want to view service-based data in the WGS84 coordinate system, you'll need to change the spatial reference setting and restart the application. See Spatial references for more details.
    • 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.
  • Navigation
    • 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.
    • Mouse Wheel Speed—Zoom in by scrolling the mouse wheel away from you. To zoom out, scroll the wheel toward you. You can change mouse wheel zoom speed by dragging the slider bar.
    • Mouse Wheel Zoom Direction—Use this setting to invert the direction of zoom when the mouse wheel 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.
  • Units

    You can configure units in the application settings. Once configured, units in the measurement bar and view parameters of the drawing and status bars change accordingly. The configurable units are as follows:

    • Location Units
    • Distance Units
    • Area Units

    Use Show Lat/Long to switch longitude and latitude order in the search box, measurement bar, and status bar.

  • Advanced
    • 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 allow .NET-supported applications to communicate with ArcGIS Earth regarding machine usage. See the Automation API guide for more details.