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by Shane Matthews


The ArcGIS World Geocoding Service helps you find and display global addresses on a map with a high degree of accuracy. Its global address dataset includes data from commercial sources, all levels of government, and many reputable mapping organizations. Esri works with its global distributors to include local data suited for each region for an unrivaled user experience. International reference data ensures that ArcGIS World Geocoding Service offers consistent and authoritative geocoding results.


Community Addresses


Our Community Maps contributors have been asking how they can help improve Esri’s World Geocoding Service. Many of our contributors are managing progressive communities, where new residential and commercial areas have been constructed. Some are enhancing their city or county 911 system that uses ArcGIS  mapping as an essential component.


The Community Maps Program uses best available address datasets to support ArcGIS World Geocoding Service. Included addresses represent comprehensive and accurate locations for many countries, and are available to search against and provide the most accurate geocoding results. You can now contribute point and polygon address data to enhance the geocoding experience of your users.


Community Addresses


Accepted content


Comprehensive and Accurate Point and Polygon Addressing Data located at


  • Primary entrance points to a building or unit (preferred)
  • Rooftop points – central location on rooftop of a building (2)
  • Offset from the street at a location where a vehicle would arrive at the address (3)
  • Offset from the street at a location in front of the building or parcel (4)
  • Parcel centroids (5)


Should include complete address attributes:


  • House number
  • Apartment or Unit Information (if available)
  • Building Name (if available)
  • Complete Street Name
  • Administrative addressing information such as City or State
  • Postal Information (recommended)


How do I share my Community Addresses?


Easy! Click on the image below to download the latest version of the Community Maps Data Prep Tools, we have included a new tool that prepares address data! There are instructions to help you along the way. Just email the Community Maps Team ( if you have questions.


Community Maps Data Prep Tools


If you are a registered Community Maps Program contributor just log into your account, select ‘My Account’ and select Addresses under the ‘Change Registered Layers’ section.


Not registered with the Community Maps Program? Get it done here!


Related Blogs:


It’s back to school with a Community Maps Data Prep Tools Update!

What’s New in Community Maps (August 2018)

by Shane Matthews


Well, it’s back to school season and with that comes hoarding supplies, buying books, and collecting tools to help get through it all. We wanted to make sure our contributors had the tools they needed by providing a Version 3.0 Release of the Community Maps Data Prep Tools. These easy-to-use tools assist contributors with preparing basemap layers for submission, standardize content, speed up data integration – what’s not to like about that? So, you can retire the former CM DataPrepTools Version 2.0!


Let’s breakdown the update…


Changes in Version 3.0 Release

  • The tools work in both ArcMap (10.4.1 and higher) and ArcGIS Pro (2.2.1).
  • Tool parameters (i.e., the query statements) are automatically saved to a parameters file, and the tools remember your previous settings. This means you can easily re-run a tool without needing to enter the query statements each time. You can also save the parameters and re-use them when you re-run the tools for your next data contribution.
  • The Road Centerline Tool has been simplified and combined into a single tool (no more Part1 and Part2).
  • There is a new tool to support contributors who want to provide Address points or polygons. The output layer is used by the Esri Geocoding Team to improve accuracy in the ArcGIS World Geocoding Service – as opposed to these being features added to the Esri basemaps.


Community Maps Data Preparation Tools – Part 1


This video provides an introduction to the Community Maps Data Prep Tools. It demonstrates how to download the tools, explores the resources that are included in the download, shows you how to begin by running the Setup Tool, and gives an example of running the Building Footprint Tool. Click the image below to view the video.


Community Maps Data Prep Tools Part 1 - Introducing the Tools in ArcMap


Community Maps Data Preparation Tools – Part 2


When you run a tool in Version 3.x of the Community Maps Data Prep Tools, your queries and other settings are saved in a Parameters file. Storing this information makes it incredibly easy to re-run the tool without re-entering all of these queries. This video provides an explanation of how to Save and re-use your query parameters in the Community Maps Data Prep Tools. It demonstrates where the parameters are saved, how they are used, and how to save and retrieve them for your next data contribution. Click the image below to view the video.


Community Maps Data Prep Tools Part 2 - Saving and Using Tool Parameters


Contributor App Updates


This video highlights new capabilities of the Community Maps Contributor App. Among other things, the big news here is that this latest release includes the ability to provide Road Centerline data in the form of a Service, which was requested the most from our contributors. Click the image below to view the video.


What's New in the Community Maps Contributor App


Community Maps Data Prep Tools


OK, you’ve been patient, so here they are. Click the image below to download the new tools now and get started on that basemap layer submission! If you have not yet registered with Esri’s Community Maps Program, you can get that done here. Have questions? Email the Community Maps Team (


Community Maps Data Prep Tools


Related blog: What’s New in Community Maps (August 2018)

by Dan Pisut


It’s rare for hurricanes to threaten the Hawaiian Islands. And it’s even more rare for one to threaten Honolulu, which is nestled in the middle of the chain on Oahu. Hurricane Lane, however, is tracking along the coast and is generating hurricane conditions for many of the islands.


Hurricane Lane Forecast Map

Forecast #31a for Hurricane Lane on August 22, 2018. Note: this is a static dataset used for display purposes and is not the Live Feed. The forecast will change but this map will not.



Turns out that the Active Hurricanes layer in the Living Atlas of the World was missing a wind field found in other products from the National Hurricane Center.




Well…it has to do with how different components of the National Hurricane Center are responsible for different portions of the Atlantic and Pacific Basins, and they have different websites, data servers, and notification mechanisms. And when there are no storms (typically) to check if the data is there, you don’t know its missing. Kind of like the age-old question, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Only here, the tree is a major hurricane near the Hawaiian Islands.


The good news is that Central Pacific storms now have the forecast wind probability fields. This layer shows the chance that winds of a certain speed will impact an area. The 64 knot layer is probably the most useful, as that shows hurricane force winds. The layer does not display by default, so you’ll need to expand the options and check the appropriate boxes.


layers in active hurricane live feeds

Happy Probabilistic Wind Forecasting!


For comments or questions about this blog, please visit our GeoNet.

by Shane Matthews


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 parks and trees, to imagery and stream gauge data can be contributed.


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.


When I speak with local governments, regional council of governments, universities and other like organizations that provide their local authoritative content through the Community Maps Program, I tell them to let the basemaps on ArcGIS  truly reflect their communities. I encourage them to empower themselves and contribute to a trusted foundation that helps them accomplish their work, helps them create better web maps and applications, and deliver better resources to their citizens. Below are a few examples of how these maps can be transformed when ‘local-knowledge geography’ is added.


The left panel in the images that follow illustrate content supplied through the Community Maps Program. Click on the images for the best view.


Bardstown, KY

Bardstown, KY


Bothell, WA


Gillette-Campbell County, WY


Pasco, WA


Dover, DE


Rutherford County, TN


Umatilla, OR


Latest Release


This month 48 communities have shared new and updated map layers in support of Esri’s expanding suite of high-performance basemaps and imagery services. Map layers include aerial photography, boundaries, buildings, owner parcels, parks, points of interest, trees, and similar large-scale features that enhance our foundational information sets for the world to use.


Tour our newest communities by clicking the Story Map below.


What's New in Community Maps (August 2018)


How does my organization contribute?


It’s easy! The Community Maps Program works with authoritative GIS data contributions 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 the following categories.


You can begin contributing by registering here!


Upcoming Webinar



Personalize your maps with vector basemaps


Ready to take your maps to the next level? Vector tiles enable dynamic cartography and provide the flexibility to create your own basemap style. In our September 6, 2018 webinar, we will show you how to use the new ArcGIS Vector Tile Style Editor to personalize your maps. We’ll also walk you through an inspiring gallery of creative map styles that incorporate new map features and labels.


Register for the webinar here!

by Diana Lavery


Did you know that Census’ American Community Survey data come with margins of error? Did you also know that you can easily incorporate these values into your web maps to help display the accuracy of the data?


What are Margins of Error?


If you’ve worked with some of our feature layers in the ArcGIS Living Atlas contain data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS), you have probably seen fields called “margin of error.” Ever wonder what those are?


First and foremost, remember that the ACS is based on a sample, just like any other survey. When I think of “samples,” I first think of ice cream. A sample of ice cream at the ice cream shop gives us an estimate of the characteristics of the whole tub of ice cream. Do all samples have the exact same amount of chocolate chips? Of course not. Does a sample from the top of a tub of ice cream taste the same as a sample from the bottom of the tub? Maybe, maybe not. Which sample is a better approximation of the taste of the entire tub?


Photo source: Yelp’s page for The Hop in Reno, NV.


Similarly, a survey’s sample gives us estimates of the characteristics of the whole population. We can measure how good those estimates are. Margins of error are an indicator of the reliability of the estimate, an upper- and lower-bound of a range that Census has given us. The estimate is simply the midpoint of the range, or “confidence interval.”


For example, this feature layer of disability status by sex by age gives us an estimate for Florida Tract 120990064.02 of women age 75+ with a disability of 361, and a Margin of Error (MOE) of 158. This tells us that the Census Bureau is 90% confident that the true count of women age 75+ with a disability in that tract is between 203 (361-158) and 519 (361+158). 361 is the midpoint of that range.


In general, the confidence interval gets larger as your population gets smaller. Your population could get smaller geographically (the range for the estimate of Los Angeles county’s population will be much smaller than the range for the estimate of a tract’s population), or demographically (the range for the estimate of same-sex married couples will be larger than the range for the estimate of opposite-sex married couples).


Why bother using the Margin of Error at all?


By incorporating the margins of error into our maps, data analysts and GIS analysts who inform decision makers can show the full picture of the data in their information products and reports. The Census Bureau has given its data users a gift: a measurement of how accurate each and every estimate is that they produce. Other large-scale surveys publish confidence intervals as well, such as many political polls.


This blog post presents some options for incorporating the margins of error into your web maps when mapping ACS data. Like with all map making, the option you choose depends on your audience! Option 1 is easiest to communicate to lay audiences who just want the high-level information. Option 2 is best for those who like to see all available data. Option 3 is for ACS power-users who are familiar with margins of error.


Option 1: Suppress Unreliable Estimates

Suppress Using the Reliability Flags from Geoenrichment


It’s often helpful to consider the ratio of the range to the estimate. If the confidence interval or range for a given estimate is very small in relation to the estimate, the estimate is more precise, but if the range is large, the estimate can be imprecise or unreliable.


Some analysts have a strict requirement of a 10 percent cutoff threshold, meaning if an estimate has a confidence interval that is 10 percent or more of the estimate’s value, then they consider it somewhat unreliable. Others have a more lax requirement of 15 percent. Those in the middle might use 12 percent. Esri’s demographics team created reliability flags for demographic estimates available through GeoEnrichment, and a 12-percent cutoff point is used to identify estimates with high reliability.


For example, I added a layer of census tracts from the Living Atlas to my map, and I filtered to only show tracts in Arizona. Then I enriched this layer to add the number of households with any retirement income. GeoEnrichment added three fields to my layer’s tabular data: one with the prefix “ACS” which is the estimate, one with the prefix “MOE” which is the margin of error, and one with the prefix “REL” which is Esri’s reliability flag. The reliability flag field take values of 1, 2, or 3: high reliability, medium reliability, or low reliability. I want to filter out census tracts whose estimate of households with any retirement income is highly questionable, so I’ll only map features with a value of 1 or 2. In other words, I want to suppress any features with a reliability flag of 3.


First apply a filter such as the one below:


Be sure the dropdown menu at the top is set to “any” of the following expressions” rather than “all of the following expressions” since we want the records whose reliability flag is either 1 or 2.



I notice that not all tracts have the default orange symbol given. Using the original fields, I can verify that – sure enough – the ones that don’t have a symbol are the ones that had a reliability flag of 3.


Now I can change the style of my features, and configure the pop-ups as I want. As long as the filter is applied, only the records with high or medium reliability will display.


Suppress Using Your Own Threshold for the MOE


If you did not obtain your ACS data using geoenrichment and do not have the reliability flags, you can construct your own by using your own cutoff for the MOE. For example, the disability by age by race layer mentioned earlier only has fields for the estimates and the MOEs. Depending on how strict you want to be in deeming an estimate “unreliable,” choose a cutoff point of somewhere around 8 to 15 percent for the range-to-estimate ratio. A cutoff of 8 percent would be very strict, a cutoff of 10-12 percent would be fairly strict, and a cutoff of 15 percent would be less strict, only removing the most unreliable estimates. Create an Arcade Expression when styling the map and configuring the pop-up and you can customize your suppression logic.


Option 2: Map all the data and display the range in the pop-ups


When configuring your pop-up, use Attribute Expressions to create an upper bound and a lower bound on the fly with Arcade.  For example, my upper bound expression is simply the estimate (count field) plus the margin of error (MOE field):



Then insert these expressions into a custom attribute display:


You will then get the pop-up displayed below:



Remember, estimates of zero still have an MOE!  Write this into your Arcade Expression for the lower bound:


This way you will not get any negative numbers displaying as your lower bound.  For example, the following pop-up displays a range of 0 to 13, not -13 to 13.


Other examples of items in the Living Atlas that display these ranges in the pop-ups are an app of various occupations vulnerable to extreme heat and a web map of detailed Asian American ethnicities.


Need to combine a few fields for your web map and are curious how to compute the margins of error for calculated fields?  The Census Bureau has many resources on this very problem. I used their guidance on approximating the MOEs of combined estimates in the maps of occupations vulnerable to extreme heat, in which I had to add the male and female counts for each occupation.


Option 3: Use Transparency to Show the Estimate’s Reliability


I want to show how reliable those estimates are of elderly women with a disability by tract in a way that doesn’t require the person viewing this map click on every single pop-up.  One effective way to do this is by using transparency to visually indicate reliability.  In the Change Style options, we can vary the transparency based on an attribute’s values.


We can select the attribute we’d like to use, or in our case, we’ll add a new expression.


The expression dialogue box appears for us to name and type in our expression. We want to create an expression that shows the range as a percent of the estimate. Also, we can subtract it from 1 so that the smallest MOE percentages will appear darker (less transparent) :


Then back to setting the transparency based on attribute values:


I’d like to use a cutoff of 10% (.1), so I’ll have to click “Zoom in” to see that section of the histogram better:


Now those tracts with poor estimates are more transparent than those with more reliable estimates.  The transparency appears in the legend underneath the proportional symbols.  Configure your pop-up as discussed above, and you get the following map:


Many Living Atlas Layers Contain Margins of Error


If you’re working with American Community Survey data in ArcGIS , always check the Living Atlas first, to see if the variables you want have already been published as part of feature layer.  An ever-increasing number of layers in the ArcGIS Living Atlas contain data from the American Community Survey, and include the margins of error as fields.  Some example topics are household income, educational attainment, ancestry and ethnicity, veteran characteristics, health insurance, language spoken at home, transportation to work, housing unit characteristics, and poverty, just to name a few!


Now that you know some options for displaying the margins of error, I look forward to seeing how you choose to incorporate the MOEs in your own web maps!


For more information about the American Community Survey, see the Esri White Paper or the Census Bureau’s ACS Handbook for Data Users.

by Dan Pisut and Keith VanGraafeiland


Ever dip your foot into the ocean and think, “This water is perfect…I bet it’s about 82 degrees.” Well, there’s one way to be sure for any place around the world: satellite sea surface temperature data.  


Besides hunting for prime beach spots, SST is a key climate and weather measurement used for weather prediction, ocean forecasts, tropical cyclone forecasts, and in coastal applications such as fisheries, pollution monitoring and tourism. El Niño and La Niña are two examples of climate events, which are forecasted and monitored using sea surface temperature maps.   


A daily updated SST analysis is available in the Living Atlas (with an archive going back to 2008). By default, time animation is enabled. But if you disable time in the Properties, you can take advantage of the layer’s multidimensional settings using definition queries on the time to return just that particular layer. This selection works in ArcGIS Desktop or .


properties option

In addition to time analysis, this layer can be used for visualization  in web maps and in ArcGIS Desktop.  Two server-side processing template options can be used to help in these visualizations: cartographic vs analytic renderer, and convert Celsius to Fahrenheit. Convert C to F is pretty self-explanatory. The cartographic render presents the map as RGB values stretched from 0-255, which displays efficiently for fast visualization. The analytic renderer provides the map as its range of temperature values (-2 to 34.5). Using the analytic renderer means you can change the display of the data (e.g., range, color, etc).


In ArcGIS Pro, access these options from the Processing Templates in the layer Properties.


processing templates in ArcGIS Pro

Or in ArcGIS , you’ll click on Image Display to access the processing templates.


processing templates in ArcGIS

Since I’m iridisophobic, I use this render option to quickly change the color palette…maybe to something like my favorite “hurricane formation zone” color palette with a break at 26oC, or a luminance-controlled palette from dark purple to bright yellow.


GIF of two SST color palettes

Additionally, many other analyses can be performed using this layer, including:


  • Apply contours using Raster Functions
  • Chain together several operations using the Raster Function Editor and Model Builder.
  • Generate summary statistics
  • Plot a graph of temperatures


SST histogram graph

In other words, use the archive of SST as if it were local on your desktop. Combine it with other layers from the Living Atlas or your local data to explore the Earth-system or author beautiful maps. You can also quickly browse SST data in the Daily Sea Surface Temperaturetime aware application. 


Have questions or comments about this blog? Post them in our GeoNet.

by Dan Pisut


The Living Atlas derives its name from the idea that it is an ever-changing collection of resources from around the world. While some layers update more than others, one collection is updated in an automated manner as soon as the source data is available. We call these the “Live Feeds.” They are not only some of the most popular resources in the Living Atlas, but are also relied upon by millions of users to provide reliable information for weather, natural disaster, and environmental applications.  


Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the Live Feeds services, along with other near real-time data available in the Living Atlas from Esri and its partners.


Also, check out this blog for ideas on how to build customized maps from layers in the Living Atlas.


weather feeds

Weather Feeds


Weather events evolve rapidly, and decision support tools require reliable, authoritative data. We generate our weather-related Live Feeds from the official U.S. and global analyses from the NOAA National Weather Service. These feeds are scripted to update as soon as the NWS issues a new alert, guidance or data product.


Item NameSourceUpdate Frequency
Short-Term Weather WarningsNOAA National Weather Service1 minute
Weather Watches and WarningsNOAA National Weather Service5 minutes
Current Weather ConditionsNOAA National Weather Service1 hour
Storm ReportsNOAA National Weather Service1 hour
National forecast modelsNOAA National Weather Service6 hours
Smoke ForecastNOAA National Weather Service6 hours
National Water ModelNOAA National Weather Service6 hours
















While not generated by the Esri Live Feeds methods, NOAA also contributes real-time GOES satellite imagery and NEXRAD radar mosaics that can be merged with any of these layers.


disaster feeds

Disaster Feeds


Like the weather feeds, disaster-related services are aggregated from official sources. Earthquake data from the U.S. Geological Survey PAGER program updates in real-time, and has a rolling archive based on intensity (i.e., more intense events are kept longer in the service). Hurricane forecasts, issued by the National Hurricane Center and the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, are typically updated every 6 hours. However, under special circumstances, more frequent advisories may be issued. The 15 minute update frequency will catch any of these updates. The Flooding Map is a query of the Live Stream Gauges layer (see Earth Observations Feeds below), displaying only the stream gauges undergoing flooding conditions. Wildfire mapping has a few caveats that are described in this blog.


Item NameSourceUpdate Frequency
Recent EarthquakesUSGS5 minutes
Active HurricanesNOAA National Weather Service15 minutes
Recent HurricanesNOAA National Weather Service15 minutes
USA Wildfire ActivityNASA15 minutes
Flooding MapEsri1 hour


Earth Observation Feeds


A variety of Earth systems variables are available in the Living Atlas in near real-time. Some of these are feature services, while others are time enabled image services that include raster functions and templates for use  or in ArcGIS Pro.


Item NameSourceUpdate Frequency
MODIS Thermal ActivityNASA15 minutes
Stream GaugesEsri1 hour
HYCOM ocean model (beta)HYCOM1 day
Sea Surface TemperatureNOAA1 day
Current Drought ConditionsNOAA1 week
Global hydrology analysisNASA, NOAA1 month

Multispectral Imagery Feeds


While not technically associated with the Esri Live Feeds, these satellite imagery products can provide near real-time situational awareness. The multispectral band combinations and raster functions can be used for a variety of applications.


Item NameSourceUpdate Frequency
Sentinel-2ESA, Amazon Web Services1 day; 5 day revisit
LandsatUSGS, Amazon Web Services1 day; 16 day revisit

Additional Resources


One of the great values of the Living Atlas is that it’s more than just data layers – it includes web maps, apps, Story Maps, and resources such as this blog. Here’s a few that relate to the Live Feeds. I’ll try to update this as more resources become available (or people tell me about them).




Severe Weather Public Information Map

Hurricanes Public Information Map

Wildfire Public Information Map

Flooding Public Information Map

Earthquakes Public Information Map

Esri Drought Tracker

Stylized fire and smoke app


Blogs and How-To


Blog on wildfire: Mapping the Inferno

Blog on weather: Weather Just the Way You Want It

Blog: Mapping earthquakes

Blog: Using Arcade expressions to calculate new fields

Story Map: Configuring Hurricane Apps

Story Map: Configuring Wildfire Apps




Webinars on using Living Atlas for disaster management

Webinar on using weather and climate data in ArcGIS

by Molly Zurn


Market opportunity maps show where demand for a product or service exceeds supply. They can help you find the best locations to start or expand your business. Using ArcGIS  and demographic data from ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World, you can create your own market opportunity map. This article explains how.


Where are the best locations for opening new stores?


As a data analyst for a clothing retail company, you might consider this question. Perhaps you’re considering expanding your business into the Manhattan borough of New York City. One way to identify business opportunity is to look at current sales and potential sales, based on household spending, in the clothing industry. The higher the potential, the more opportunity, or demand, there could be for your company’s products.


Where can you find reliable data that compares retail sales and customer spending in your industry? And how can you visualize the data to see business opportunities?

Using ArcGIS  Map Viewer and demographic data from ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World, you can create your own market opportunity map, allowing you to identify the best locations for your new stores. Here’s how you do it in 3 main steps.


Step 1: Find your location on a map


Begin by opening a new map of Manhattan in ArcGIS  Map Viewer.


a. Sign in to ArcGIS  with your ArcGIS account and click Map.


The Map option opens Map Viewer

You’ll need privileges to use premium content to make the market opportunity map. If you don’t have these privileges, contact your administrator or join the Learn ArcGIS organizationfor a free 60-day membership.


b. In the map search box, type Manhattan, NY, USA and click the Search button (or choose from the suggested addresses).


c. Zoom out and pan the map until you can see most or all of the southern part of Manhattan Island.


Manhattan New York

Step 2: Add a Living Atlas layer


Next, you’ll add data related to clothing store supply and demand from ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World.


a. Click Add > Browse Living Atlas Layers.


b. In the search box, type 2018 USA Clothing Store Market Opportunity, press Enter, and add the layer to the map.


Add Living Atlas layer

c. In the search window, click the Back arrow to return to the Contents pane.


Clothing store opportunity

The layer you added has many features, symbolized as either brown or green. Green areas are places where the demand for clothing stores exceeds supply, while brown areas are places where supply exceeds demand.


You’re only interested in green areas where demand exceeds supply.


d. Click any green feature to open its pop-up and explore the data.


Pop-up about market opportunity

The pop-up shows the number of stores in the area, as well as total sales (supply) and sales potential (demand). Based on these numbers, each feature also has a market opportunity number, also known as a leakage/surplus factor, on a scale from 100 to -100. Positive numbers mean demand exceeds supply, while negative numbers indicate the opposite. A factor of 100 means there are no stores in the area, so demand exceeds supply by 100 percent.

Step 3: Filter the layer


You’ll create a filter to see where demand significantly exceeds supply –  features that have a leakage/surplus factor of at least 20.


a. In the Contents pane, click the 2018 USA Clothing/Accessory Stores Market Opportunity layer to expand it.


b. Point to the Block Group category and click Filter.


Apply a filter to the block group layer

Tip: If block group is grayed out, zoom in to your map until the block group category is active (no longer grayed out).


c. In the filter, for the first box, choose 2017 Leakage/Surplus Factor: Clothing/Accessory Stores (NAICS 4431). For the second box, choose is at least. For the third box, type 20.



d. Click Apply Filter. Your map now displays only census blocks where demand significantly exceeds supply.


Filtered store layer

e. To help see the market opportunity data, change the basemap to Dark Gray Canvas.


Map with Dark Gray Canvas basemap

In 3 steps, you made a market opportunity map. You can use it to help find the best locations for your new stores.


Where are the best locations? You’ll want consider a variety of factors, including areas with high potential demand. Based on your map, the eastern part of Manhattan Island is a good area to explore.


Now that you’ve completed some basic data exploration, you may be interested in trying these related learning resources.



Mapping the Inferno

Posted by TGrant-esristaff Employee Jul 27, 2018

by Dan Pisut


Its fire season here in California! (Actually, a recent New York Times article quotes the deputy chief of CalFire as saying that it is always fire season in California.) Whether you live in The Golden State or not, there are a variety of resources available in the Living Atlas to map, analyze, and understand wildfires and fire risk in the U.S. and across the world.


Many Earth-observing satellites contain sensors capable of detecting the infrared energy released by fires. Not only can the hotspots be located, but areas of burned land can also be identified based both on their thermal characteristics and visible appearance. Along with intelligence on the ground, these data are used to plot the location and spread of fires around the world.


Satellite image of the Southern California fires from 2017.


Pinpointing Potential Fires

The most basic fire data are the locations of hotspots and typically come from geostationary and polar-orbiting satellite with frequent revisit times (i.e., less than a day), such as the NOAA GOES, NOAA-20, or NASA Aqua and Terra satellites. These data are a count of thermal pixels. But many things can generate a hotspot, including controlled burns, oil and gas rigs, volcanoes, etc. This kind of data must be used with some caution since there are many features that are not wildfires. However, it is still extremely useful at monitoring known fire events or fire-prone areas.


In the Living Atlas, the MODIS Thermal Activity layer provides daily updated global hotspot locations. Data from two NASA satellites are combined in this layer: Aqua (“A” in the table) and Terra (“T”). Each can be filtered or queried in ArcGIS  or Desktop. Since Aqua is in the “afternoon orbit,” when wildfires are typically at their peak, I prefer to use this source since it reduces the number of redundant features – the two satellite orbits are only 3-hours apart.


global wildfire app


This map shows the Aqua thermal activity data, using the newly released Firefly symbologyin ArcGIS . I use the Counts and Amounts option with the FRP (Fire Radiative Power) attribute, which measures the energy released by each hotspot. Notice the “false positives” in Kuwait associated with the flames atop oil wells.


Want to use Firefly in ArcGIS Pro? Check this out.


U.S. Active Fire Data

In the U.S., the USA WIldfire Activity layer provides a more quality controlled version of the data. It shows only wildfires submitted to the USGS by fire agencies, as opposed to all of the other events that can cause an automated satellite-based hotspot detection. However, since this layer relies on human analysis, sometimes it doesn’t update as frequently as the MODIS hotspots. The layer also contains the perimeter of the fire area, which IMHO is the most interesting feature. Both current (active) and older (inactive) fires are included.


But why not combine the best attributes of both datasets?


US wildfire map using firefly


In this map, the Firefly effect is used on the % Contained attribute in the Active Fire Report layer. Fires that are less contained are larger and colored more intensely. While the Active Perimeter layer displays at all scales, the Active Fire Report layer uses the Set Visibility Range option. It disappears at closer scales and the MODIS Thermal Activity layer appears, again using the FRP attribute.


Peering Through the Clouds

While the weather-focused satellites from NOAA and NASA provide high temporal resolution fire data, really detailed analysis of the fire impact is often left to moderate resolution multispectral imaging satellites such as Landsat 8 and Sentinel-2, or commercial high-resolution satellites.


Here we can see the benefits of the multispectral capabilities of the Sentinel-2 satellite, now available in the Living Atlas.


The Thomas Fire outside Los Angeles imaged using Sentinel-2 multispectral imagery from 12/5/2017.


Sentinel-2’s infrared sensitivity (Channel 12; 2.19 micron band) provides the ability to identify areas of active fires, much like NOAA-20 or Aqua/Terra, but at 20m resolution. If you’re using the Sentinel-2 Views layer in ArcGIS , go into the Image Display options. Pull down the Render options and select Short-wave Infrared with DRA. This particular RGB combination relies more on thermal than visible channels, penetrating through clouds to see active fire areas. The Short-wave Infrared RGB combination is also available in the Sentinel Explorer app.  


In addition to visualizing active fire areas, multispectral imagery is also effective at assessing burn scars. Besides the ecosystem impact, denuded vegetation along sloped areas can lead to landslides, especially when combined with heavy rains.


Smoke Impacts

The flames of an intense fire span across a few dozen miles, but the smoke emitted from a fire can seriously affect the air quality of areas hundreds of miles downwind. NOAA’s smoke forecast models rely on understanding both the vegetation of an area along with the heat/energy of a fire – which is where the Fire Radiative Power (FRP) attribute from above comes in again. Higher temperatures or FRP can burn more types of materials, creating more smoke.


smoke model

NOAA smoke dispersion model.


In the Living Atlas, the National Weather Service Smoke Forecast layer can be merged with any of the fire location layers, or other forecast data such as wind speeds. In fact, check out this blog and app from Michael Dangermond to see an example.


New, Now and Next

The Living Atlas team is currently working on a few updates to our data layers.


  • Adding the VIIRS thermal activity data. 
    The VIIRS sensor is the more modern version of MODIS, and is flown on NOAA’s latest polar-orbiting satellites. The sensor is a huge improvement over MODIS, providing 375m per pixel resolution, and it has multiple channels that can detect fires. By comparison, the thermal channels on MODIS are around 1km per pixel. You can see the improvement in this swipe app I built to compare the data from MODIS with VIIRS for the first day of the Thomas Fire that occurred outside Los Angeles in 2017.


compare VIIRS and MODIS app
  • Improvements to the Smoke Forecast
    We will be updating many of the Live Feeds datasets, including the National Weather Service Smoke Forecast. Besides improving some of the data classifications, we’ll also be adding in the Air Quality Index attribute that should provide a more meaningful impact of the smoke on populations.
  • Additional Blogs and Tutorials
    We’ll be digging in a little deeper to the layers referenced above to show how you can use them for more meaningful impact analysis on populations and habitats.

Where is the fire?

Posted by TGrant-esristaff Employee Jul 27, 2018

by Michael Dangermond


Years of drought and soaring temperatures have made much of Western North America a tinderbox. As expected, fire season has come upon us strongly and suddenly. How can we keep up with the rapid spread of these devastating fires?



A new fire map assembles the most important and timely information available about these devastating fires, mashing up satellite fire detections, fire perimeters, and a smoke forecast.

Fire Map

Fire detections in this map come from two sources, the MODIS satellites with 1km resolution, and the Suomi NPP VIIRS satellite with 375m resolution. The MODIS satellite service may be found in the Living Atlas, detections are updated once or twice daily. The VIIRS satellite provides 7 times the density of information due to its higher resolution, and at this time they are only a WMS service. That means the VIIRS detections appear only as small red dots, with no information in the popup window when you click on the points.


Also of interest to North Americans is the National Weather Service Smoke Forecast, updated every 24 hours. The NDGD smoke forecast plays as an animation inside the map. Watch the time indicator at the bottom of the map, it shows future local time as forecasted particulate levels are displayed.

by Bern Szukalski


The World Imagery basemap is regularly updated. When updates are made, the older imagery is replaced and is no longer visible. In most cases, the latest imagery is always preferred, but there may be reasons to use older vintage imagery. For example, there may be undesirable color variations, previous versions may align better with your GIS data, or there may be unwanted shadows or clouds. In these cases, you may want to access a previous vintage of the World Imagery basemap or layers. Another reason is that you may want to go back in time to view change that has occurred as the result of development, fires, or other events.


What is Wayback Imagery?

Wayback Imagery is a digital archive of the World Imagery basemap that enables you to access 80 versions of World Imagery captured over the past 5 years. The different vintages of imagery are published as tile layers that you can add to your maps, or can use as basemaps. Note that this archive is based on the date that it was published in the World Imagery basemap, not on the date the imagery was actually acquired, which may be older.


Here are two easy ways that you can leverage the Wayback imagery archives.


Browse the digital archive

The entire Wayback archive can be found in the Wayback Imagery group. Each record in the archive represents World Imagery as it existed on the date new imagery was published. Wayback currently supports all updated versions of World Imagery dating back to February 20, 2014. Using the archive you can view the imagery as it existed on the publish date each is represented in an ArcGIS Online item. Select the version you want, and use it as a basemap, or use it with other layers in your web map. Here’s how:


Step 1 – Choose the vintage you want


Browse the layers in the group to find the vintage you want. In this case, we’ve selected World Imagery (Wayback 2014-02-20). The title indicates the imagery in this layer was published on February 20, 2014.


Step 2 – Open the item details and add to your map


Click the title to open the item details, then click the thumbnail to add the layer to your map.


Step 3 – (Optional) Set the layer as your basemap


If you want to use the layer as a basemap, click More options (…) and Move to Basemap. After moving the layer to the basemap, you can remove other basemap layers.



Wayback app

The Wayback app delivers a way to browse previous versions of imagery using a timeline and list. Versions that resulted in local changes are presented based on location and scale. You can preview changes by hovering or selecting individual layers.  Choose one or more Wayback layers to place them in a queue, when finished you can add them to a new ArcGIS online web map.


Step 1 – Open the Wayback app


You can find the Wayback app in the Wayback Imagery group mentioned above. Or, search ArcGIS Online for the Wayback app. Favorite the app or share it into one of your groups for easy access.


Step 2 – Zoom to your area of interest


One the app is opened, use Search to zoom to your area of interest.


Step 3 – Examine the available imagery


Pan and zoom in or out to the desired location and level of detail, the results shown in the app are based on location and scale. The layer list shows all vintages, those with local changes are highlighted in white. In the upper left a timeline is visible, with dates with local changes highlighted. Check the box to see only the updates with local changes.


Step 4 – Select the vintage layer(s) you want to add to your map


Hover over the layers to see a preview on the map. Add layers to the queue by clicking the Add icon.


Step 5 – Add layers to your web map.


Layers you have selected are queued in the app, click Open these updates in a new web map to add the layers you’ve chosen.


In summary

Using either of these two methods (we recommend the Wayback app) you can choose the imagery for your basemap.  Or, add layers of different dates to move forwards or backwards in time to see change. As other vintages become available, they will be added to the Wayback archive, and will be searchable using the Wayback app.



For more information

For more information see the following:

by ArcGIS Content Team


In photography, selective focus is a technique in which the subject of the image is made clear, while the remainder of the image is out of focus. This technique is used to draw the eye of the viewer to the part of the photograph the photographer wishes to be observed.


clear image
out of focus image

Selective focus in photography can be used to bring attention to a subject - Photo by Ian Dooley on Unsplash


When creating maps, it is often important to use similar techniques to guide a user’s attention to the focus area of a map, while making the contextual information more “out of focus”.


One way this type of visual hierarchy can be achieved in mapmaking is by isolating and enclosing the area of interest using a buffer or vignette and masking or darkening the background.


A good example of the need for some ‘selective focus‘ came about recently as the Africa GeoPortal was about to be launched.


The web maps initially display at small scale. To help focus on the continent of Africa, we quickly created a buffered mask in ArcGIS Pro, produced and uploaded a vector tile package, then published it as a tile layer. Finally, the buffered mask was added to many of the Africa Living Atlas web maps.


map pf Africa and surrounding continents
map of african continent only

In addition to creating some ‘selective focus’, we also get the added benefit of establishing a sense of cohesiveness between the various maps. The repeated use of the buffered mask reinforces the sense that we are looking at an atlas and the subject of the atlas is Africa.


The method for creating the mask is straightforward and can be used to highlight any area of interest in your web maps or projects. Here are the steps:


  1. Create a new ArcGIS Pro project.

  2. Create or add a feature class of your area of interest (AOI).

  3. Use the Multiple Ring Buffer tool to buffer a distance around your AOI. You need to establish the distance and number of rings. For an AOI the size of the continent of Africa, a buffer distance extending 250 kilometers beyond the coastline was chosen and each ring of the buffer was determined to be 5 kilometers (resulting in 50 rings). A smaller AOI would require a smaller ring size/number of rings and a smaller overall buffer distance. Ensure that Outside Polygons Only is checked on so that the resulting feature class includes only the ringed buffer, not the AOI.

    multiple ring buffer tool dialog
  4. Once the distance is established and the Multiple Ring Buffer tool completes, the AOI is buffered again using the Buffer tool. The distance should be the same as the final distance from the multiple ring buffer. Side Type is set to full to include the AOI with the buffer. The resulting feature class will be used solely as the erase feature for step 
  5. Using the buffered feature class from the previous step, run the Erase tool. The buffered feature class should be the erase feature, while the input feature should be a simple polygonal feature class that covers the world. If you need a feature class that covers the global extent of the ArcGIS Online basemaps, you can access it here.
  6. The newly erased feature class and the Multiple Ring Buffered AOI feature class can now be symbolized. Give the erased feature class a single symbol RGB value of 0,0,0 (Hex #000000) with a 20% transparency.
  7. Change the buffered feature class’ Symbology to Unique Values and add all values. Highlight all values, format to remove outlines’ and change the color scheme type to ‘Continuous’ black with varying levels of transparency 99% – 20%. To use the buffered mask on lighter basemap styles, you can use the same scheme, then change the colors to white.
    symbology dialog
    color scheme editor dialog
    Alternatively, you can download the continuous black color scheme style (STYLX) created for the Africa GeoPortal. To add it to your ArcGIS Pro project,  click the Inserttab on the ribbon, then select Add Style from the Add drop-down menu.
    ArcGIS Pro Insert tab
  8. Once the symbology is established, create a group layer of the two feature classes. On the Metadata pane within the Map Properties, provide a title, tags, summary and a description for your map. Remove any extraneous content from the project.
  9. Run the Create Vector Tile Index tool.
    create vector tile index tool dialog
  10. Run the Create Vector Tile Package tool.
    create vector tile package tool dialog
  11. Run the Share Package tool.
    share package tool dialog
  12. Log into your ArcGIS account. The vector tile package is an item in your Content. Publish the vector tile layer by clicking  Publish on the vector tile package item page.

    vector tile package item page with Publish button
  13. Open the tile layer in a new map.
    tile layer item with Add to new map selected
  14. The tile layer appears above the basemap. Select your basemap, add any additional thematic data above or in between the mask and basemap, and Save as a web map.
    Image of map with Africa Mask (Dark) tile layer

This post was written by Cindy Prostak, the cartographer responsible for creating vector basemap designs such as Nova, Colored Pencil, and more.

by Robert Waterman


A lot has happened with World Imagery since UC 2017. With UC 2018 now upon us, let’s take a moment to reflect on the past year and highlight some of the most recent updates.


Breadth of Coverage


These days, wide area coverage in World Imagery is synonymous with DigitalGlobe EarthWatch Vivid imagery. With Vivid updates this past year totaling nearly 85 million square kilometers, we are bringing expanded coverage and more frequent updates to more communities and markets around the globe.


Most recently, we completed our second update of the Continental US in the past six months. January 2018 was our initial release of Vivid in the US, bringing a much needed improvement on the currency of the US imagery. The June update came with improvements on the overall visual quality of the imagery, including significant reductions in cloud cover.


Depth of Coverage


With a focus on urbanized areas, along with an annual refresh cycle, DigitalGlobe EarthWatch Metro imagery continues to bring great value, in both detail and currency, to cities and metropolitan areas around the globe. Over the past year, more than 800 cities have been updated with the latest available 30-50 centimeter Metro imagery.


Offering some of the most detailed imagery that our World Imagery basemap has to offer, our Community Maps Program continues to expand. Ranging from campuses and cities, to entire provinces, counties, and states, Community Maps Imagery has accounted for nearly one million square kilometers of imagery updates.  Thirty percent of this coverage is at a spatial resolution of 15 cm or better, and 95% of it at 30 cm or better.


Special thanks to our international distributors and Community Maps contributors in North America, Europe, New Zealand, and South Africa.  Thank you for your continued efforts and outstanding contributions to the World Imagery basemap.


Coverage Overview and Highlights


Overview of World Imagery Updates from UC 2017 to UC 2018.


Vivid, Metro, and Community for Australia and New Zealand


In Case You Didn’t Know


If you ever find that a recent imagery update does not meet your needs, and you prefer the previous imagery, then World Imagery (Wayback) may be just what you need.  Wayback is the latest addition to our family of World Imagery offerings, which also includes Clarity and Firefly, in addition to our default World Imagery basemap.

by Deane Kensok


Brief Background


OpenStreetMap (OSM) is an open, collaborative project to create a free editable map of the world. OSM is built by a community of mappers that contribute and maintain data about roads, trails, buildings, restaurants, and much more. Many ArcGIS users are active contributors to OSM, using popular OSM editors or the ArcGIS Editor for OSM to share their data. Many ArcGIS users are also active consumers of OSM, using the map in their web maps and apps or the data for their mapping and analysis.


For many years, Esri has included OpenStreetMap as one of the default basemaps in ArcGIS, which has been quite popular. The basemap references a raster tile service hosted by the OSM Foundation that is updated frequently as contributors make edits to OSM. Over the past couple years, Esri has introduced basemap options using vector tile layers, which offer several advantages such as the ability to customize the map. Until now, there has not been an option to access all of OpenStreetMap as a vector basemap in ArcGIS Online.


What’s New


This summer, Esri is introducing a new OpenStreetMap Vector Basemap. The map will be built using OSM data exclusively. It will be hosted by Esri and updated frequently over time. Best of all, it will be freely available to all ArcGIS Users. In fact, it will be freely available to any user or developer that would like to use an OSM vector basemap in their map or app!


This week, we are sharing an initial version of the OpenStreetMap Vector Basemap, which you can explore through this web mapping app. The map is now available in beta release, meaning it’s available for you to use and test in your maps and apps but you shouldn’t use the map or related items in a production application yet.


Click to View the OpenStreetMap Vector Basemap

What’s Next

Over the next couple months, we’ll update the vector basemap regularly with the latest OSM data. We’ll also continue to refine our use of the OSM cartography to improve the map display and performance. Lastly, we’ll make some updates to our apps to take full advantage of the new OSM vector basemap, such as enabling proper display of attribution and style customization. Once we wrap up this beta release (planned for the September update to ArcGIS Online), we’ll integrate the new OSM map into our gallery of vector basemaps so it’s accessible to all ArcGIS apps that use them.


We encourage you to explore the new OpenStreetMap Vector Basemap that is available as new items (app, map, layer) in this ArcGIS Online group. Feel free to share your feedback or questions in the comments on these items and we will reply.  Join us this week at one or more of the Living Atlas workshops at the Esri User Conference to learn more!

by Dan Pisut


As the U.S. broils in the summer heat, it is nice to know that sometimes the weather can be just the way you want it. Well…maps of the weather.

Many of the real-time weather resources available in the Living Atlas of the World offer the ability to customize the display of the data. The key is looking for the Change Style icon within the service layer options while also exploring the attributes table for each layer.

change style option

Don’t see a Change Style option? Sometimes by accessing the REST service page that is linked in the bottom right of each item description page, you will find the REST link to the underlying features for each service. Add that link to your web map and change away! This workflow also applies to ArcGIS Pro: if you cannot access the Symbology options, adding the REST link to the feature service may open up the symbology options.

One of the most useful and flexible weather datasets available in the Living Atlas is the Current Wind and Weather Conditionslayer. Open this map and you see plain old wind vectors.  Explore this layer a bit more, however, and you will find a wealth of options. There are actually 11+ variables for each METAR or buoy location, including things like temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, and derived variables like wind chill and heat index.

current wind and weather layer

Default display for Current Wind and Weather Conditions

Heat Mapping of a Different Kind

Since it is the middle of the summer, I want the current weather map to focus on hot areas, but also with a nod to wind speed/direction. The following recipe is how I came up with the map below using the Heat Index variable mapped using Counts and Amounts.

  • Color is used to indicate heat index and size indicates wind speed.
  • The layer is duplicated and an arrow symbol is placed on top of the circle layer.  Using the same attribute mapping (besides swapping the circle for an arrow) ensures that the two layers will scale evenly.
  • The arrow is rotated using the Rotate Symbols option, based on the Wind Origin (Degrees) attribute. This step takes some trial and error and a good quality control – there are two arrow options (up and down). Referring to the original map, you will want to use the downward facing arrow in order to make the arrow point in the direction the wind is going. I know…not the meteorological standard, but it makes more sense to me. 

Since both the circle and arrow are scaled based on wind speed, the windy areas are slightly differentiated in the map.

There are also labels indicating the temperature, humidity, and wind speed that appear when zoomed in by using the Visible Range option. Use the different label offset options so that they stack. 

111 degrees Fahrenheit at Ontario International Airport? To quote Robin Williams, “It’s hot. **** hot!”

Current Weather Conditions map

Click the map to access the web map...but I'm sure the weather has changed.

And consider this map a BOGO: in the winter, the heat index attribute can easily be swapped out for wind chill.

Classing Up Active Hurricanes

There are currently three active cyclones in the Pacific and Atlantic, so we can also have some fun with the Active Hurricanes layer. Having lived through many hurricanes (and evacuations), I like a hurricane forecast map that clearly defines the storm intensity. Additionally, it is nice to know where the storm was, but more important is to know where it is going.

To start, I created 5 icon styles using a hurricane symbol and numbers 1-5 in the middle. 

You will notice that the attribute table for the layer does not have the Saffir-Simpson scale (tropical depression, tropical storm, Category 1, 2…). Easy fix:

  • On the forecast position layer, map the attribute MAXWIND with Counts and Amounts.
  • Classify the data into seven bins that match the Saffir-Simpson scale.
  • Load the custom hurricane icons to a server.
  • Click the Legend menu and use the custom images for each class.

Granted, the Saffir-Simpson scale is not used for typhoons, since it is based on destructive potential in the U.S., but it is still a useful reference. I used the basic shape options for tropical depression and tropical storm, which render more cleanly than an uploaded PNG.

Other layers included in the Active Hurricanes dataset are also customized to match the cartographic style, albeit somewhat less prominent. And don’t forget to customize those pop-ups!

active hurricanes with custom symbols

Click the map to view the Active Hurricanes web map. Sorry if there are no active storms to see.

Considering the Basemap

While we’re at it, let’s take one of the gridded forecasts from the National Weather Service. I created two versions of the NDFD Precipitation Forecast. Why? To account for different basemaps.  ArcGIS provides dozens of basemap choices, and with the new ArcGIS Vector Tile Style Editor, the options are endless.

I always like to pick the best one that minimizes noise and accentuates the data. Elements such as mountains or land imagery that are not integral to interpreting the data are minimized or excluded. Since we often combine multiple weather variables together, that “best one” will change from map to map. Plus some days I’m more of a light basemap person, some days I like a dark one. Some days I’m even an imagery basemap person, albeit rarely. 

two maps customized for different basemaps

A general best practice is to have high intensity data values (e.g., heavy rain) in high luminance color values on a dark basemap and low luminance on a light basemap to provide the greatest contrast. This map uses the blue to yellow color palette from ColorBrewer2.og – my favorite for mapping precipitation. It gives a sense of “wet” while preserving the brightness function. Transparency is adjusted and the palette is inverted based on which map is used – easily done by using the Invert Color Ramp option. 

invert color ramp

Now I have three similarly styled maps that will update in real-time, making them a great start for a weather dashboard.