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Keith VanGraafeiland co-hosted the recent Esri Spatial Data Webinar: Make Useful Maps and Layer in ArcGIS.

Take a moment to review Keith's recap of the great questions that came in from our audience, available on Keith's latest blog: Make Useful Maps and Layers in ArcGIS.


Thanks for tuning in. 


Next webinar is June 12: Explore Ready-to-use Demographic Data for Location Intelligence


Authoritative Data 101: Quality Data for Quality Decision Making

March 12, 2019

8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. (PDT) | Cost: Free


Discover the power of authoritative spatial data. Esri provides a comprehensive content solution that is readily available, up-to-date, and fully integrated into Esri’s products and applications. This webinar will feature our global collection of curated data variables from 130+ countries, including basemaps and imagery, demographics, behavioral, environmental, and real time data. Learn about ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World, Esri’s online data collection, as well as, our firewall secure, on-prem options. 


Register Now


Blog Author: Emily Meriam     Originally Published: ArcGIS


Did you know that you can create custom Arcade expressions to define your symbol sizes at the varying ArcGIS Online map scales? The Arcade code demonstrated here on Esri’s “Recent Hurricane Live Feed will show you how to automatically resize your symbols as you zoom in and out of your map.



Within the Living Atlas is a “Recent Hurricane” layer that features tropical cyclone (hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones) tracks and positions from the past year for the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Basins. Esri hosts this data from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) and Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC).


For this example you will be copying these links:

1. Hurricane – Recent Observed Positions (point file) service is located:

2. Spinning Blue Hurricane (PNG symbol) is located:


Monitoring agencies worldwide use varying wind speed criteria and terminology for tropical cyclone classifications. The NHC and JTWC use the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale to classify storms in the Western Hemisphere. This ranking system places storms with different wind speed thresholds (one-minute maximum sustained wind speed) into the following three classes:


Major (Devastating/Catastrophic)
Category 5 Hurricane: > 137 knots | >157 mph | >252 kmh
Category 4 Hurricane: 113-136 knots | 130-156 mph | 209-251 kmh
Category 3 Hurricane: 96-112 knots | 111-129 mph | 178-208 kmh


Very/Extremely Dangerous
Category 2 Hurricane: 83-95 knots | 96-110 mph | 154-177 kmh
Category 1 Hurricane: 64-82 knots | 74-95 mph | 119-153 kmh


Related Classifications
Tropical Depression: <33 knots| <38 mph | <62 kmh
Tropical Storm: 34-63 knots | 39-73 mph |63-118 kmh



There are standard symbols for hurricanes:



Standard symbols for Depression, Storm, and Hurricane.



Using the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale classifications, Category 1-5 Hurricanes will be displayed with a hurricane symbol to differentiate them from Tropical Storms and Depressions.


As a cartographer I see some room for interpretation here. I decide to take the standard symbol and tweak it a bit, so it spins like a hurricane and add an eye. It needs life and vibrations like it is moving, but there also should be a nod to the original symbol.  This change makes a visual statement that could be immediately recognizable (abstractly it looks like a hurricane) to someone who is looking at the map and they may not need a legend to determine what the symbol is.


After (Filters in Photoshop)Before (Standard Symbol)


Classify the Hurricane Data in Arcade

1. Open a new web map and click on Add –> Add Layer from Web


Screen capture: Add Layer from Web



2. Paste in the link listed above for the Hurricane Recent – Observed Positions.


Screen Capture: Pasting in the link


3. By default, the service comes in with a basic symbol that all has the same classification.

This layer has an attribute called INTENSITY.   It measures wind speed in knots. Use this to classify the data in Arcade so it is symbolized uniformly with the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale.  Click to “Change Style” on the point layer.


Screen Capture: Change Style of Symbol


4. Select “Choose an attribute to show” and select to create a “New Expression”.


Screen Capture: Adding a New Expression


5. Edit the “Name” (by default it says Custom) at the top to say: Assign Storm Type (Saffir) by Intensity

6. Place this code in the Arcade window:


When(INTENSITY>=137,”Category 5 Hurricane”,
INTENSITY<137&&INTENSITY>112, “Category 4 Hurricane”,
INTENSITY<=112&&INTENSITY>95, “Category 3 Hurricane”,
INTENSITY<=95&&INTENSITY>82,”Category 2 Hurricane”,
INTENSITY<=82&&INTENSITY>63, “Category 1 Hurricane”,
INTENSITY<=63&&INTENSITY>33, “Tropical Storm”,
INTENSITY<=33&&INTENSITY>=0, “Tropical Depression”, “NO DATA”)

7. It looks like:


Screen Capture: Arcade Code for Assign Storm Tyre (Saffir) by Intensity


8. What the code is saying: When the wind speed intensity is between this number and that number, identify it as this type of storm.

9. Click “OK”

10. Because of this Arcade expression, the data is now classified and is immediately prompting you to “Select a drawing style”. Select “Types (Unique Symbols)” and click on “Options”.


Screen Capture: Click on Options



I love that I can use my own custom made symbols (transparent PNG images) in ArcGIS Online!  It is so easy to create my own symbols, upload them to my account, share them publicly, and then use them on my maps!

1. First rearrange all your points into the proper order (Category 5-1, Tropical Storm, Tropical Depression) by dragging them up and down while hovering the mouse over the three dots on the left side.

2. Next click on the default symbol for Category 5 Hurricane and Select –> Shapes (drop-down menu) –> Custom Images.

3. Click on “Use an Image” and paste in the “Shared” text box the link listed above for the spinning blue hurricane.

Screen Capture: Pasting link copied for the custom symbol


4. Once this symbol has been uploaded as a custom symbol you will just need to “Select” it as it will already be in your symbol gallery. Continue individually for Category 1-4 Hurricanes.

5. Don’t worry about the size of the symbols, keep them at their default. Those will get adjusted in the Arcade expression below.

6. Because the hurricane symbol should only highlight Category 1-5 Hurricanes, for Tropical Storm and Tropical Depression categories select any “Basic” symbol and change the “FILL” and “OUTLINE” to No Color (small box with red slash on it).

7. It will look like:


Screen Capture: Map Symbols Window


8. Click “OK” and keep the Style Editor open.


Automatically Adjust the Symbol Size in Arcade

While ArcGIS Online doesn’t allow for setting a map reference scale (yet) as you can in Pro, there is a trick through using an Arcade expression.

Using the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale classes you just set from above, it’s possible to define your map zoom scales (cs) in combination with wind speed classifications (INTENSITY) and set a symbol size at the end of each line.

1. In the Change Style –> Choose and attribute to show window –> Add attribute


Screen Capture: Add Attribute


2. Using the drop-down menu select “New Expression”.

3. Edit the “Name” at the top to say: Set the Symbol Size by Map Scale

4. Place this code in the Arcade window:

var cs=$view.scale

When (cs<=74000000&&cs>=37000000&&INTENSITY>=137,30,





5. What the code is saying: When the map zoom scale is between this scale and that scale, and the intensity is between this speed and that speed, make the size this number.

6. It looks like:

Screen Capture: Arcade Code for Set Symbol Size by Map Scale


5. Take note that the lowest symbol size is 10  and the highest is 80 (“0” for Tropical Storms and Depressions is omitted). You will need this information again later.

6. Did you notice that the code omits Tropical Storms and Depressions (last two lines of each section the symbol size to “0”)?  This is because the spinning blue hurricane symbol only needs to symbolize Category 1-5 Hurricanes and there is another layer (with a filter) in the map that symbolizes Tropical Storms and Depressions. Also take note that the spinning blue hurricane symbol is a PNG file and the Tropical Storms and Depressions are symbolized as basic circle point symbols.  The PNG files that you upload, and standard embedded point symbology in ArcGIS Online will have different behaviors and need to have separate Arcade expressions.  This is due to minimum and maximum sizing of symbols you will see next in Step 10.

7. Now that I have the two Arcade expressions in the layer and they are applied select “Options” from the drawing style.


Screen Capture: Apply style to 2nd Arcade Expression


8. Click on “Options” for Counts and Amounts (Size)


Screen Capture: Set Symbols by Counts and Amounts


9. Remember the lowest symbol size value is 10 and the highest is 80? Enter in the these high and low values in the following six places for this sizing expression to work (Please note that if you adjust anything in your Arcade code you will need to reenter these again.  Any change will override these values):


Screen Capture: Six places to enter in your high and low values


10. Click “Done”. Both Arcade expressions are embedded within the layer and everything should be now sizing appropriately!



Sequential hurricane symbols



This is the map at 1:74,000,000:


Screen Capture: Map at Main Scale



At 1:18,500,000 the hurricane symbol starts to appear:


Screen Capture: Map at 1:18,500,000



Here is 1:5,000,000 and they are sizing nicely!


Screen Capture: Map at 1:5,000,000



Creating custom Arcade expressions to define symbol sizes at the varying ArcGIS Online map scales will give you more control and your map symbols more presence.  The beauty of using these Arcade expressions is that you no longer must replicate layers to show the symbols at all the varying scales, you can now just have one layer in your map and the symbols will size appropriately.



Here is the web map and app discussed in this blog. Feel free to open them up and copy the Arcade codes for the varying hurricane point and line files.

1. The Recent Hurricanes, Cyclones, and Typhoons (Current Year) web app is here.

2. The Recent Hurricanes, Cyclones, and Typhoons (Current Year) web map is here.


Thank You!

One of the best things about working at Esri is the team and professional camaraderie.  My colleague Jennifer Bell deserves special thanks for her assistance with the Arcade expressions and her continuous support and encouragement of my work.



Do you have questions or comments about this blog? Post them in our GeoNet.

Blog Author: Diana Lavery     Originally Published:  ArcGIS


Many feature layers in the ArcGIS Living Atlas contain features for a larger region than many analysts need.  A growing number of content items are added to the Living Atlas every day that have data for all tracts, counties, schools, hospitals, or parks in the whole United States.  Most GIS analysts only need to work with features for their own immediate area.  By applying filters to these national layers, you can subset only the features that you need.



Blog Author: Robert Waterman  Originally Published: ArcGIS


Earth’s poles have historically been some of the most poorly mapped regions on the planet.  With heightened awareness, and an overall sense of urgency around global climate change, there is a need for high quality mapping data to facilitate a deeper understanding of the impact with regard to Earth’s polar regions.


Sparked by President Obama’s 2015 Executive Order, and thanks to the University of Minnesota’s Polar Geospatial Center (PGC), along with their partners and sponsors, we now have high resolution topographic models of the Arctic region and the entire continent of Antarctica.


From monitoring and modeling the impacts of climate change over time, to field logistics, scientists, government officials, and the broader user community can leverage these great elevation maps and layers via the ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World.


Arctic DEM

ArcticDEM is a National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and National Science Foundation (NSF) public-private initiative to automatically produce a high-resolution, high-quality Digital Surface Model (DSM) of the Arctic using optical stereo imagery from DigitalGlobe.


Esri has been providing this data to users since 2016.  However, we recently updated to ArcticDEM Release 7, which includes 2-meter resolution elevation data for the entire region.  All of our online Arctic DEM layers and maps can be accessed and used in ArcGIS Pro, ArcMap, and custom web apps.


Want to see ice field and glacier changes over time?  For a quick introduction to the different layers and functionality, check out the Exploring Arctic Elevation user guide.  This story map will provide a quick overview of the different renderings and functionality, and even demonstrate how to analyze and measure ice changes over time.  It is an eye opening experience, I encourage you to give it try.  Also, since the Arctic DEM layers themselves are time enabled, change over time, and much more, can also be accomplished using ArcGIS Pro.


Arctic DEM Explorer app showing Hillshade Grey and a profile from the Time Control. Click here begin exploring.


Antarctic DEM

New to the Living Atlas is an 8-meter resolution elevation model covering the continent of Antarctica.  The Reference Elevation Model of Antarctica (REMA) is the latest addition to Esri’s polar elevation services, adding a level of detail not previously available in a full coverage map of Antarctica.  According to Ian Howat, director of the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center at The Ohio State University, “Up until now, we’ve had a better map of Mars than we’ve had of the Earth.”  I think it is safe to say that a gap has been filled.


Funded by the National Science Foundation’s Division of Polar Programs, REMA Release 1 is an 8-meter Digital Surface Model (DSM) constructed from sub-meter, stereoscopic satellite imagery collected by DigitalGlobe’s Worldview satellite constellation.  The DigitalGlobe satellite imagery is licensed by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and includes data acquired between 2009 and 2017, with most collected in 2015 and 2016.


This elevation data is ready to use in a number of different web map views and renderings.  Some layers are optimized for visualization and some for computation.  For more details, refer to this item description or click on the image below to begin exploring with the Antarctic REMA Explorer.  While our Antarctic layers are not currently time enabled, users can find and download individual strips from different points in time by going to the ‘REMA Strips’ section of the PGC website.


Arctic REMA Explorer app with the elevation rendered as a grey hillshade. Click here to begin exploring.


In case you missed it above, all of the Arctic and Antarctic DEM layers and maps can be found in the ArcGIS Living Atlas.


New to ArcGIS?  Sign-up for a free Online account to access additional online content, start making web maps, and start collaborating today.  For a full ArcGIS experience, sign-up for a free trial.

Blog Author: Lucy Guerra's Blog    Originally Published: ArcGIS 


It’s no surprise that today’s residential real estate has remained pricey. Rising interest rates aside, the value of most homes has gradually recovered since the last major price correction a decade ago. Gone are the days of unrestrained, unsound lending practices, and borrowers overextending themselves to the point of default or foreclosure. By and large, property values across the price spectrum have appreciated since the last recession. As this trend continues to be prevalent within markets containing premium-priced properties, we’re faced with a growing number of towns with million-dollar homes. But how many?

Show me the numbers

With over 78 million owner-occupied homes in the US:


  • More than 2.1 million homes are valued between $1 million and $2 million.
  • Nearly 600,000 homes are valued at $2 million or more!
  • New York City tops the list with more than 68,000 homes valued at $2 million or more!


These numbers sound impressive, but million dollar plus homes represent a relatively small segment of the US housing stock. However — an interesting data discovery here is that the percentage of million-dollar properties has more than doubled since 2010.

Across the US, you can see that majority of these million-dollar plus cities are concentrated along the east and west coast regions of the US.


2018 High Median Home Values

Where does the data come from?

Esri provides demographic data for 137 countries covering 90% of the world’s population. Esri’s in-house US Data Development team, which consists of demographers, economists, analysts, and programmers, develop independent demographic and socioeconomic updates and forecasts for the United States.

In addition to processing US Census and ACS data, the US Demographic Data Development team produces unique and innovative databases such as Tapestry Segmentation, Consumer Spending, and Market Potential which have become industry benchmarks for understanding communities. To learn more about Esri’s data accuracy, view

Why track the multi-million dollar housing market?

In most cases across the country, housing affordability continues to be a major concern. As a result, Esri’s US demographics team recognized the importance of adding more detail to the home value distribution.

“In many markets home values have surpassed their pre-recession highs. As more homes breach the million-dollar valuation mark, our home value distribution has been expanded to reflect current prices,” says Esri Chief Demographer, Kyle R. Cassal.

Show me the data

Taking a step back, if analysts wanted to identify areas with extreme affluence, the highest home value range used to be capped at $1 million or more. Capturing today’s growing multi-million-dollar housing market meant redefining and expanding Esri’s 2018 and 2023 home value ranges to offer more detailed data of owner occupied housing units with home values that would exceed $1 million. The result…

… a home value database that includes 3 new multi-million-dollar ranges:




A picture is worth… well, one or two million bucks!

One of the best ways to show you the impact of these new data ranges is with a map. Esri’s US demographics team created the 2017-2018 Home Value Comparison web map for the Manhattan, New York area using ArcGIS ’s smart mapping technique called Predominance Mapping.

The panel on the left displays the predominant home value range from Esri’s 2017 home value distribution by Census tract. The top end of this distribution of owner occupied housing units is capped at $1 million or more and symbolized by the deepest purple bubbles.

The panel on the right displays Esri’s newest 2018 distribution utilizing the three new top end home value ranges. The deep red bubbles symbolize the new higher top-coded home value range.



Using the predominant mapping technique, you immediately see the impact of the new intervals. Look at how the finer resolution ranges distinguish the smaller pockets of the highest valued homes at $2 million and beyond.

So, what does your town look like?

Access Esri Home Value data from these products and find out!

For more information about US demographics click here.

Blog Author: Shane Matthews      Originally Published: ArcGIS


Through the Community Maps Program organizations contribute their local geographic content which is published and freely-hosted by Esri. Everything from basemap layers such as address data, parks and trees, to imagery and stream gauge data can be contributed.

New Communities

Our users have just provided new and updated basemap layers and high-resolution imagery for 37 communities in Canada, Japan, Switzerland, and the United States. The Community Maps Team has published over 200 projects this year alone, and we’re not done! More and more communities are discovering that the ArcGIS platform is the best place to freely host their organization’s basemap content.

This latest release includes building footprints, facility sites, local parks, sidewalks, trees and other great content supporting campuses, cities, and counties across the globe. Detailed large-scale basemap layers and high-resolution imagery shared to the ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World are what set basemaps in ArcGIS apart from other mapping APIs.

Do these contributions make a difference? Just have a look at these examples by selecting the images below.

City of Vernon, British Columbia, Canada (Neighborhoods, Points of Interest, Waterbody, Road Centerline, Owner Parcels, Building Footprints, Airports, Local Parks, State Forests/Parks, Trails, Landscape Area & Street Pavement).

City of Vernon, British Columbia, Canada

Merced County Association of Governments (Owner Parcels, Road Centerlines, Railway Lines, Waterlines, Municipal Boundary, Building Footprints, Waterbody, Local Parks, National Forests/Parks, State Forests/Parks, Education, Administrative Line)

Merced County Association of Governments

This release also includes high resolution imagery for an impressive 270 campus-areas throughout the state of Hawaii, shared by Resource Mapping Hawai’i, one of our latest Community Maps contributors, and the leading provider of aerial mapping, remote sensing and GIS solutions in Hawai’i and the Pacific region. The sub-meter resolution (0.03m) is remarkable.

Click on the Story Map below to view interactive maps of our new communities.

New to Community Maps

How do I contribute?

It’s easy! The Community Maps Program works with authoritative GIS data contributors to build the ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World consisting of reference and thematic maps covering a wide variety of topics. Community Maps Program contributors participate by sharing data to one or more of these communities.

You can begin contributing by registering here!



Shane is a Cartographic Specialist for Esri's ArcGIS Content Team. He curates and recruits content for the ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World through Esri's Community Maps Program, and explores and implements new and innovative delivery methods of providing geospatial information.

Blog Author: Andrew Green         Originally Published: ArcGIS Blog


With our latest release late last week, Esri Vector Basemaps updated map styles and added features, increased the number of localized maps, and published a new creative style. We added new HERE data to improve the maps. Our Community Maps Program also provided new data. See these blogs by Shane Matthews for specific contributions.

Style Improvements

Display of features improved across several basemaps. Street Map, Streets with Relief, and the Hybrid Reference Overlay changes increased city font size, added beach sprite, and made JSON layer names more user friendly. New pavement markings enhance larger scales, especially at the campus level. The updated Topographic vector map displays arrows and handicapped parking symbols. This Reference Document provides information on recent changes and structure of our basemaps. Bookmark this group or search the Living Atlas of the World (Basemaps category and Vector Tiles sub-category). Similarly, Esri vector maps are accessible in the map viewer and ArcGIS Pro in the same Living Atlas Basemaps category and Vector Tiles sub-category search.



New beach sprite pattern and larger city names in World Street Map


New pavement markings (arrows and handicapped parking) in Topographic


Basemaps Localization

We added three new languages to our collection of localized basemaps. Our current total is nine different languages. Each one is available in nine different basemap styles. New are Italian, Polish, and Brazilian Portuguese. These join previously released Modern Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish. To make localized maps the default basemap, change the organization’s Region and Language in the General settings. Also, change the Map setting to display Esri vector basemaps for the Gallery. Each language above is linked to a group of web maps. Localized labels display primarily at small scales; however, we are expanding translations across more feature classes and at more scales. Additional languages will be deployed in subsequent releases.



Italian (Navigation), Portuguese (Brazilian) (Dark Gray Canvas), Polish (Streets)

Style Editor

Esri Vector Tile Style Editor (Beta) - Quick Edit change to World Navigation Map

Style Editor

The Esri Tile Layer Style Editor (Beta) provides an easy way to customize vector basemaps. Experiment (& save!) different cartographic styles with this app. Start from an Esri vector basemap or one of your own vector tile layers. Two styling paths exist:

Quick Edit is only configured for Esri vector basemaps. This quick path sorts map features into six high-level categories. Apply random colors for cartographic inspiration, or apply a pre-defined color palette to each category.

Edit Layer Styles works with Esri vector maps and your own styles. It offers more control over each map feature’s spec. Countless options are available to customize your new vector map. Save your new style as a tile layer in your account and use the new style in your web maps and apps. This blog and space on GeoNet offers information about the Style Editor. This recent Esri Webinar showcased the Style Editor. Follow-up questions and answers are at this Living Atlas GeoNet page.


Pop Art Basemaps

San Francisco waterfront at ~1:4,000 scale in the new creative Pop Art vector map style

And now, something completely new!

Pop Art is Esri cartographer Andrew Skinner’s new custom style. This 1960’s-inspired map is busy, brash, and bright! This map, along with other Esri Creative Maps, pushes the limits of map design. The maps have drastically different looks, but still use the same vector map content. He also published a series of blogs on working with and customizing Esri Vector Basemaps. Check them out!



Have you ever seen a problem with Esri Vector Basemap data that needs to be fixed? Report issues directly on this Feedback Map. Our team reviews your comments and considers the update for one of our frequent releases.




Andy is the Project Manager for the Basemaps in the ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World. Creating and updating the basemaps is a collaboration of the Community Maps, Data, Authoring, QA, Release, and Development teams.