Add media layers

In Map Viewer, you can add one or more images to a map to create media layers. When you create a media layer, you place and position an image in a desired geographic location on top of the map's basemap. For example, you might want to visualize how a town has changed over time by switching between scanned images of historical maps and a current digital web map of the town.

You can create media layers by adding .jpg or .png images from your device to the map. Each media layer can include one image. When you add multiple images to a map, you create multiple media layers. You can also save media layers as media layer items and add existing media layer items to maps.

To create a media layer, complete the following steps:


You can find and add an existing media layer item to a map by browsing for layers.

  1. On the Contents (dark) toolbar, click Add and choose Add media layer.
  2. Drag a .jpg or .png file or click Your device to browse for the file on your device.

    The image appears in the center of the map in overlay mode.


    Larger images can be slow to load and cause performance issues on phones, so be sure to test your work.

  3. Search for the location on the map where you want to place the image and click Reposition here on the pop-up.

    You can also zoom or pan to the location.

  4. Optionally, click Change basemap Change basemap and choose a different basemap.
  5. Optionally, adjust the Transparency slider to better visualize the basemap under the image.

    You can also press T to quickly adjust the transparency of the image.

  6. Do any of the following to position and align the image with the basemap:
    • Drag the image to a new location.
    • Drag the image handles to resize it.
    • Drag the circle below the image to rotate it.

    Use keyboard shortcuts to help you position and align the image. For example, you can use the Shift and arrow keys to nudge the image 1 pixel or hold the Shift key while resizing the image to preserve its aspect ratio. To view the full list of media layer shortcuts, click the blue lightbulb in the upper corner of the Add media layer window.

  7. If you are not able to achieve a sufficiently accurate alignment, click Side-by-side and use the pins as follows:
    1. On the map, click a pin and drag it to a permanent point such as a street intersection or the corner of a building. Zoom in as needed to accurately place the pin.
    2. On the image, click the corresponding blue pin and drag it to the same point.
    3. Click a second pin on the map and repeat the previous steps for each of the remaining pins.

    If you know the latitude and longitude coordinates, you can enter them instead of dragging the pins manually.

  8. Do any of the following to review your work:
    • Click Overlay to see the image placement in overlay mode. Click Side-by-side again to make additional adjustments to the alignment pins.
    • Click Reset to return to the original image and start over.
  9. Click Update and close when you are finished.

    A media layer is created and added to the map.

  10. Optionally, do any of the following:
    • On the Contents (dark) toolbar, click Layers to see the new layer in the Layers pane. From here, you can click Options Options to zoom to, rename, remove, edit, or perform other actions on the layer.
    • Change the visible range or apply blend modes, effects, or transparency to the media layer.
    • To make additional changes to the placement of the image, select the layer in the Layers pane and click Edit placed media in the Properties pane.
    • In the Layers pane, click Options Options on the media layer and click Save as to save the media layer as a media layer item.

      Layer property configurations, such as styling and visibility settings, are preserved when the media layer is saved as a media layer item.

  11. Optionally, repeat the steps above to add other images to your map.

    Each media layer can include one image.

  12. On the Contents (dark) toolbar, click Save and open > Save as and save the map with the media layer or layers you created.

    You can make changes to the media layer, such as repositioning the image or adjusting its alignment, at any time by selecting it in the Layers pane and clicking Edit placed media in the Properties pane.


    The Edit placed media button is only available if the map's current basemap is in the same spatial reference as the basemap applied when the media was placed. If you chose a new basemap with a different spatial reference after placing the media, you cannot edit the placed media.


For more powerful and complete rubbersheeting and spatial transformation capabilities, see the ArcGIS Pro documentation.