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Aggregation allows you to step back from your data to see a larger picture. Datasets may have detailed information about specific locations, products, and revenue, but aggregation helps you understand general patterns by allowing you to slice data along any specified context and see a statistical summary. Aggregation automatically applies a statistic type that can be shown on a map using Spatial Aggregation, or a chart such as a bar chart.


ArcGIS is a comprehensive system for collecting, editing, mapping, storing, and sharing many kinds of geographic information. It has many components that allow users to work in desktop, web, and mobile environments. Insights for ArcGIS is an app that easily connects to data from many sources; brings multidimensional data to life as interactive maps, charts, and tables; and allows you to achieve spatial insights from your data effortlessly.


A basemap provides a geographical context, or background, for the content you want to display on a map. With Insights for ArcGIS, you can choose from several Esri basemaps hosted on ArcGIS. These basemaps include many options that combine road, aerial, and topographic data with a variety of symbology.

Binned map

Binned maps summarize point data by aggregating features into bins using a statistic, such as count, sum, or average. Binned maps are most useful for data that has a large number of points or densely located points.


A buffer is a zone around a map feature measured in units of distance or time. Buffers help you answer questions about what’s nearby, such as: How many crimes occurred within one kilometer of a police station? Buffers can be applied to points, lines, or areas. Once calculated, a buffer layer is stored as a result dataset, allowing you to reuse the results on other cards and other pages. Buffers appear as a new layer on your map.


Cards are the primary focus of your work in Insights for ArcGIS. You can add as many cards as you want to a page. A card is a container for a visualization, which can be a map, chart, table, text, or media. Cards generated from the same dataset are automatically linked, allowing you to make selections on a card and have related cards update automatically to reflect your selections. From a card, you can perform analysis, switch to different visualization types, change styling, or select different data to view.


A set of values represented by the letters x and y that define a position within a spatial reference. Coordinates are used to represent locations in space relative to other locations. Coordinates are often shown in latitude-longitude pairs, where x coordinates range from -180 to 180 and y coordinates range from -90 to 90, or as values with 6, 7, or 8 digits to the left of the decimal point. When using Insights for ArcGIS, these value pairs are often composed of the values from two columns in your data.

Cross filter

A cross filter is a method of applying a filter on one or more cards using a selection on another card.


When you add data to your page, you are associating tables of data to your workbook page. Data you add appears as one or more datasets in the data pane. A single dataset can be one of the following:

  • Feature layer
  • Microsoft Excel table from a single spreadsheet

    One Excel spreadsheet can contain more than one Excel table.

  • Table from a database connection
  • Map image layer

Each column in a table is listed as a single field in the dataset. Insights for ArcGIS assigns a role to each field based on the type of data it contains.

Data source

A data source is exactly what it sounds like: the source of the data. Insights for ArcGIS allows you to use a variety of data sources to find answers to your questions. Each of the following is a data source: Portal for ArcGIS (feature layers you own or that have been shared with you), Excel and CSV files, and a database connection. Portal for ArcGIS includes access to ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World layers, provided they have been configured for your organization.

Drop zone

A drop zone is a floating user interface (UI) element that appears when you drag selected fields onto your page. Drop zones give you control over whether you create a map, chart, or table. If your dataset has location enabled, three drop zones appear when you drag one or two fields onto the page—Create Map, Create Chart, and Show Table. If you haven't yet enabled location, only the Create Chart, and Show Table drop zones appear. If you prefer not to use drop zones, you can use the Map, Chart, and Table buttons above the data pane.

Equal interval classification method

Equal interval classification divides the range of attribute values into subranges of equal size. With this classification method, you specify the number of intervals (or subranges), and Map Viewer automatically determines how to divide the data. For example, if you specify three classes for an attribute field whose values range from 0 to 300, the map viewer creates three classes with ranges of 0–100, 101–200, and 201–300.

Equal interval is best applied to familiar data ranges, such as percentages and temperature. This method emphasizes the amount of an attribute value relative to other values. For example, it could show that a store is part of the group of stores that make up the top one-third of all sales.


Geographic features are representations of things located on or near the surface of the earth. Geographic features can occur naturally (such as rivers and vegetation), can be constructions (such as roads, pipelines, wells, and buildings), and can be subdivisions of land (such as counties, political divisions, and land parcels). Geographic features are most commonly represented as points, lines, or polygons. In Insights for ArcGIS, data you have added is often referred to as features on the map.

Feature service

A feature service is a collection of geographic features. Each feature in the collection has a location, set of properties, map symbology, and pop-up. In Insights for ArcGIS, you can search for feature services in ArcGIS and add them to your map. When you add a feature service to your map, it becomes one or more layers in the map.

Field roles

Insights for ArcGIS identifies field roles using icons that indicate the default behavior of each field from your dataset in visualizations. The field role also determines the default statistic type applied to each field in a visualization.

For more information, see Field roles.


Geocoding is the process of transforming a description of a location—such as a pair of coordinates, an address, or a name of a place—to a location on the earth's surface. You can geocode by entering one location description at a time or by providing many of them at once in a table. The resulting locations are output as geographic features with attributes, which can be used for mapping or spatial analysis.

Heat map

When you have too many points on your map to interpret patterns or make sense of the information, consider using a heat map. A heat map represents point features as density using colors. Areas that look the hottest, where colors are the most intense, indicate the highest point density.


A layer is the way in which Insights for ArcGIS visually represents geographic datasets. A layer is rendered as a map, and each layer has a legend. A map can contain multiple layers. On a road map, for example, roads, national parks, political boundaries, and rivers might be considered different layers. When you add business data to a map, Insights for ArcGIS creates a layer and displays it on a card.


Lines represent the linear nature of a feature. For example, the length of a road is the primary interest while the width of the road might be of secondary interest, so the map displays the road as linear, but the width can be added as an attribute.


A map displays geographic data and allows you to explore and interact with that data. In Insights for ArcGIS, you can add data directly to the map and combine it with additional content from Portal for ArcGIS.


A model records your analysis steps on your workbook page, including adding and joining datasets, spatial analysis (such as spatial filtering), data analysis (such as attribute aggregation), and styling. You can edit, use, and share the model to automate common analytical tasks.

Natural breaks classification method

Natural breaks (also known as Jenks Optimal) classes are based on natural groupings inherent in the data. Class breaks that best group similar values and that maximize the differences between classes—for example, tree height in a national forest—are identified. The features are divided into classes whose boundaries are set where there are relatively big differences in the data values.

Because natural breaks classification places clustered values in the same class, this method is good for mapping data values that are not evenly distributed.


In GIS terms, normalizing data means converting your data from totals (or counts) to a rate, ratio, or other proportion related to a common denominator such as area or population. Normalization allows you to directly compare places that might have very large differences in size or population. For example, comparing the number of births in 2011 in China (more than 16 million) to the number of births in the United States (almost 4 million) is misleading. Over 12 million more babies were born in a year in China than in the United States, but China’s overall population is much larger. A more accurate approach is to compare the birth rate from each country. The per capita birth rate is calculated by dividing the total number of births by the population. At 1.66 births per capita, China’s birth rate is lower than the US rate of 1.90.

If your dataset already contains a field that has been normalized, but Insights for ArcGIS mistakenly identifies it as a number, you can change the field role to a rate/ratio directly in the data pane. If your dataset does not contain normalized data, you can do one of the following:

In database management terms, normalization is the process of organizing, analyzing, and cleaning data to increase efficiency for data use and sharing. Normalization usually includes data structuring and refinement, and redundancy and error elimination.


A page in a workbook contains related content. You add data to a page, and ask questions by visualizing data fields. Visualizations appear as linked cards on a page. A workbook can contain many pages. A page can contain many cards. When you share your results as a page item in Portal for ArcGIS, users with the Viewer role can interact with cards on the page in a separate, read-only Insights viewer.

Pan (the map display)

Shift a map image relative to the display window without changing the viewing scale. Panning a map can also be thought of as moving the map image in the display window so you can see different parts of the map.


Points represent discrete locations of geographic features too small to be depicted as lines or areas, such as well locations, telephone poles, and stream gauges. Points can also represent address locations, Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates, or mountain peaks.

Polygons or Areas

Polygons are enclosed areas (many-sided figures) that represent the shape and location of homogeneous features such as states, counties, parcels, and land-use zones. Polygons are often called areas.

Quantile classification method

With quantile classification, each class contains an equal number of features; for example, 10 per class or 20 per class. There are no empty classes or classes with too few or too many values. Quantile classification is well suited to linearly (evenly) distributed data. If you need to have the same number of features or values in each class, use quantile classification.

Because features are grouped in equal numbers in each class, the resulting map can often be misleading. Similar features can be placed in adjacent classes, or features with widely different values can be put in the same class. You can minimize this distortion by increasing the number of classes.

Spatial aggregation

Spatial aggregation is a spatial analysis capability that creates a statistical summary of features or numeric data within the boundaries of areas on a map. Spatial aggregation can provide the same statistic types as attribute aggregation.

Spatial analysis

Spatial analysis is the process of examining the locations, attributes, and relationships of features in data through spatial operators, such as buffer, and analytical techniques, such as hotspot analysis, to answer a question or gain useful knowledge. Spatial analysis creates a reusable dataset of your results. Because it is stored as a feature layer, analytical results can be reused on other cards or pages. For example, create a 10-kilometer buffer around store locations and reuse it with other datasets, or on other cards to make spatial selections or apply spatial filters.

Standard deviation classification method

Standard deviation classification shows you how much a feature's attribute value varies from the mean. By emphasizing values above the mean and below the mean, standard deviation classification helps show which features are above or below an average value. Use this classification method when it is important to know how values relate to the mean, such as when looking at population density in a given area, or comparing foreclosure rates across the country. For greater detail in your map, you can change the class size from 1 standard deviation to .5 standard deviation.

Statistic types

Statistic types provide a statistical summary (known as an aggregation) for a specified context, such as the following:

  • Revenue by ProductType
  • Income by Country

In these examples, ProductType and Country provide the grouping role in the aggregation, while Revenue and Income are the fields that are aggregated to provide a subtotal for each value in the ProductType and Country fields (bikes, skis, and skates, or Canada, United States, and Norway). Sum applies by default when a numeric field is calculated, but you can apply any statistic type to a numeric field. Nonnumeric fields (strings) can be calculated as well, but only using count.

The table below provides more information about each statistic type:

Statistic typeDescription


Also known as the mean. The result of dividing the sum of all the numeric values (records) in a field, and then dividing by how many (the count of) numbers there are.

Example: (122 + 333 + 67) / 3 = 70


The number of values in a field.


  • Field name = TreeSpecies
  • Field values = alder, spruce, maple, spruce, red pine, white pine, alder

Count = 7


The result of adding two or more numeric values (records) in a field.

Example: 122 + 333 + 67 = 522


The highest numeric value in a set.


  • Field name = StudentAttendance
  • Field values = 31, 27, 33, 29, 22

Maximum = 33


The lowest value in a field.


  • Field name = StudentAttendance
  • Field values = 31, 27, 33, 29, 22

Minimum = 22

For more information about the default statistic types applied to fields in visualizations, see Field roles.

Unclassed maps

Instead of using groups (or classes) of numbers to determine symbol size and color, unclassed maps determine size and color proportional to where each value falls between the upper and lower bounds of your data. Unlike classed maps (natural breaks, equal interval, quantile, and standard deviation) that have a fixed number of colors or sizes (for example, five), unclassed maps smoothly vary the size or colors of the symbols proportionally according to each value at a specific location. This applies less generalization than classed maps, which group observations data into only a few sizes or colors. Smart mapping adjustments called bounded continuous color and bounded continuous size adjust the upper and lower limits (bounds) of your data to one standard variation around the mean. The dark vertical line on the histogram indicates the mean. Bounded unclassed maps show a nice variation across the data, while not being influenced by extreme values (outliers).


A workbook is the location where you organize data and do analysis in Insights for ArcGIS. A workbook will contain any results and workflows used.

A workbook collects or associates all your data and analytical activity for a project in a single place, capturing and maintaining relationships such as data locations, results layers, models, pages, and cards. As an author or coauthor of a workbook, you can see all of these items within the workbook provided that you have access to the items that may reside outside the workbook, such as enterprise databases, or layers in your web GIS. A workbook can have many pages. You add data to each page, and ask questions by selecting data to visualize. If you find your page becoming cluttered, add a new page, or perhaps tackle one question per page. Answers are provided in the form of visualization cards that you can further refine by performing spatial analysis, filtering, styling, and switching to other types of visualizations. Cards are the result of analytical activity as well as inputs for other forms of analysis, such as spatial aggregation.