Skip navigation
All Places > GIS > Web GIS > ArcGIS Online > Blog > Author: mzurn-esristaff

ArcGIS Online

11 Posts authored by: mzurn-esristaff Employee

The Esri development team is thrilled to announce that we have a new ArcGIS Blog website. It’s part of our overall initiative to improve your experience with ArcGIS. Although the site is new, the goal of the blog remains the same: give you deeper insight into how ArcGIS helps you get your work done.

Enhanced user experience

The new site has an enhanced design and a better experience for browsing and searching.


ArcGIS Blog article


One of the first things you’ll notice is the new look. Articles include banners, bylines, and sticky social buttons that stay with you as you scroll. The articles can include embedded web apps including Story Maps. The site is responsive to different sized-screens and has similar branding to other Esri websites.


ArcGIS Blog browse topics


The site is organized around topics, each with a featured article and other articles related to that topic. Right now, a featured set of ArcGIS products makes up the topics list. Look for additional topics in the future.


Search ArcGIS Blog

You can also use the Browse All page or search with specific keywords. Search is available from all topic pages.

Redirects are in place

Our goal is to make this transition as seamless as possible for you. We’ve migrated about 2000 posts including all since 2015 and redirected old links and feeds to their new location. While redirects are in place, we suggest updating your bookmarks and feeds, especially if you had them set to specific categories or tags.

If you follow the blog using RSS, the feed for the entire blog is Feeds for specific products, categories, and tags are also enabled. Here’s an example of each:

Expect the same great content

We will continue to share best practices, guidance, inspiration, and examples for using ArcGIS to accomplish your work. We will also continue to announce product updates and events, and let you know about any software patches or website maintenance. Please dive in, share these posts, and let us know your ideas.

Please note: currently the blog does not support comments. We plan to enable those soon!

The ArcGIS Online website has the latest functionality and enhancements. For this reason, the What's new help topic only contains information about the latest update. But for those who want a quick reminder of what we released when, here's an archive of past announcements. For fun, we've included a 2009 video showing the original ArcGIS Online website. Enjoy.


Previous what's new announcements

March 2020

December 2019

October 2019

June 2019

March 2019

December 2018

September 2018

June 2018

April 2018

December 2017

June 2017

March 2017

December 2016

September 2016

June 2016

March 2016

November 2015 and earlier


A Look Back at the 2009 ArcGIS Online Website

In 2009 ArcGIS Online expanded from a map library to a website for sharing and collaboration. Step into the Esri Holistic Lab circa 2009 for a demo of the original ArcGIS Online website. 


Share Your Work

Posted by mzurn-esristaff Employee Aug 22, 2017

Use the resources below to learn concepts, best practices, and tips for sharing your content in ArcGIS Online.


GroupsShare mapStory MapsHosted feature layer views


Group basics


Share a map


Start with Story Maps


Share views of your data

See how groups bring together content and people.

Share a map that stands out as authoritative.

Create web apps that combine maps with multimedia and text.

Explore an example of sharing data through hosted feature layer views.


TagsShare and collaborateThumbnailsViral apps


Use tags effectively


Add value to your GIS


Put your best thumbnail forward



Tips for viral apps

Review best practices for tagging your content.

Understand how sharing and collaboration improve the value of your GIS.

See how creating custom thumbnails helps your content stand out.

Follow guidelines for optimizing maps in high-demand web apps.


SnowplowHosted tile layersArcGIS HubDistributed collaboration


Oversee snowplows in real time


Best practices for hosted tile layers


Engage with your community


Introducing distributed collaboration

Create real-time web apps that track your city’s snowplow activities.

Get tips for using hosted tile layers in your web apps.

Discover the benefits of sharing open data and initiatives with your community.

Learn how to establish a trusted sharing environment between your organizations.


Solve Spatial Problems

Posted by mzurn-esristaff Employee Aug 21, 2017

Try the resources below to learn more about spatial data exploration and problem solving with ArcGIS Online.

Explore places

Explore places

Find the best place for launching a travel service.


Reveal spatial patterns

Heat map

Create heat maps to make discoveries about your data.


Find locations

Find locations

Identify campgrounds near invasive weeds.


Enrich your data

Enrich data

Add context to your data by making a demographic map.


Analyze demographics

Analyze demographics

Locate children in poverty using smart mapping and demographic analysis.


Track crime patterns

Track crime

Help allocate resources to combat crime.


Model wildlife habitat

Model habitat

Find potential mountain lion corridors.

Create maps. Share them as web apps. Start with these foundational skills and open up a world of possibilities with ArcGIS Online.


Add data layers

Add data

You add geographic data to maps through layers. Layers include not just the data but also the visualization such as symbols and colors and pop-up configurations. As an ArcGIS Online user, you have access to thousands of ready-to-use layers you can add to your map. You can also add you own as easily as dropping a spreadsheet on the map. ArcGIS Online automatically applies smart mapping, highlighting what's important in your data. 

Try a quick exercise about adding data to a map.


Choose a basemap


A basemap provides the geographical context for your data layers and every map includes one. The basemaps that come with ArcGIS Online vary in theme and focus such as Streets at Night, Oceans, and Imagery with Labels, the all-time most popular basemap. Choose the one that best complements your data.

View a Story Map about your basemap choices.


Configure pop-ups

configure pop-ups

Pop-ups reveal the data in your layers. By default, pop-ups show a plain list of all the attributes and values. As a best practice, you should configure the pop-ups to only show what's important.

Watch a video about the value of decluttered pop-ups.


Apply smart mapping

Apply smart mapping

Smart mapping suggests drawing styles for your layers such as colors and symbol size. The initial settings immediately show significant values within your data in order to help you explore and showcase important patterns. Keep the defaults or choose your own options.

View a Story Map about how to smart map in 3 steps.


Share your map

Item details

You map includes an item details page which helps other people find it, as well as understand its purpose. Before you share your map, you should edit the details to include an interesting summary, an in-depth description, and carefully considered tags, as well as to credit the source of the data. It's also a good idea to have an attractive thumbnail and a descriptive profile.

Read an article about best practices for sharing.


Create a web app

Web app

ArcGIS Online offers a suite of web apps that can help bring your map to life for users. And the majority of your work is done once you've created your map. By picking the app that best meets your purpose and choosing a few options, you can share your map as an interactive, focused web app.

Watch a video about how to choose a web app.


Take a guided lesson

Hawaii lesson

Practice your mapping skills while exploring the island of Hawaii. In this scenario-based lesson, you'll be guided through creating a map and sharing it as a web app. 

Try a mapping lesson.


Go 3D

Posted by mzurn-esristaff Employee Aug 17, 2017

Try the resources below to see how using 3D in ArcGIS Online brings an extra dimension into your web GIS.


Get started with 3D

Get started with 3D

Explore Florida's beaches and inlets in 3D.


Tour Scene Viewer

Watch what's possible with 3D in a browser.


Visualize cities

Visualize cities

Understand the built environment with real-world 3D visualizations.


Create 3D web apps

3D story map

See Story Maps come to life with scenes.


Publish scene layers

Publish scene layers

Share your feature data as scene layers.


Customize 3D objects

3D objects

Develop 3D web apps with mesh data and smart mapping APIs.


Advance Your Mapping

Posted by mzurn-esristaff Employee Aug 15, 2017

Use the resources below to sharpen your mapping skills and explore what's possible with ArcGIS Online. To review the basics, see Get Started with ArcGIS Online.


Improve your maps

Improve your maps

Get tips and tricks for improving your maps.


Show the right date and time

Review four golden rules help you publish accurate web-based date fields. No Time Zone math or time-travelling DeLoreans required.

Date fields


Display features as tiles

Learn the advantages of publishing your feature data as hosted tile layers. Hint: Efficient, automatic, and economical.

Tiles from features


Know more about vector basemaps

Did you know you can use your own data and styles to create custom vector tile basemaps? Even children are excited.


Make data pop with Arcade

Get the details on how Arcade expressions let you map improvement ratios in your area.

Arcade Expressions


Tell stories with color & size

Apply color and size to your data to tell a more captivating story.

Color & size


How to Cascade

Dive in to the hows and whys of using the Story Map Cascade app.

Cascade app


Want more resources? Check out the bonus gallery.

Looking for more ways to advance your mapping in ArcGIS Online? Here's a bonus gallery for you. 


Layer types

Pick the Best Hosted Layer Type

Depict land change

Depict Change with Time-Enabled Apps


Get a Clearer View of the World


Map Viewer

Know More about Map Viewer

Match layer types to common workflows.

Use imagery and time animation to show land-use change.

Use World Imagery Clarity for a clear view of your world.

Get a quick overview of Join Features, Arcade, and smart mapping.


Get started with Story Maps

Get Started with Story Maps


Map Counts & Percentages

Heat map

Reveal spatial patterns


Learn Firefly Cartography

Create web apps that combine maps with multimedia and text.

Watch a deep-dive into mapping demographic patterns.

Create heat maps to make discoveries about your data.

See why maps glow with the Firefly basemap.



Produce Big Dams Story Map



Analyze Demographics


View Imagery Metadata

Esri Vector tile maps

Get creative with Esri vector tiles

Get details on creating the Big Dams journey story.

Locate children in poverty using smart mapping and demographic analysis.

View imagery metadata in the World Imagery basemap.

Learn how to use fonts and sprites to customize vector tile maps. 

Use the resources below to learn concepts, best practices, and tips for administering your ArcGIS Online organization.


Preview admin basics

Watch the basic steps and best practices for setting up your organization.



Take a guided admin lesson

Ready to practice setting up an organization? Design a site, share content, invite members, and even do some credit math. All in under an hour.

Set up an organization


Create a great home page

How your home page looks creates first impressions. Get tips for making it great.

Create a great home page


Get more configuration tips

Esri Support reveals how to streamline administration and make your organization successful.



Customize member capabilities

See how your members can accomplish specific work flows with custom roles.

Custom roles


Apply a shared theme

Browse examples of shared themes that provide consistent branding across the organization's web apps. 

Shared themes


Take advantage of distributed collaboration

Learn how to establish a trusted sharing environment between your ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise organizations. 

Distributed collaboration


Automate your admin tasks

Ready for automation and scripting? Get started with a Python for ArcGIS sample that batch creates groups.

Automate admin tasks

Visualizing your data in Map Viewer takes just two quick steps.


        1. Open

          New map

        2. Drag your spreadsheet file from your computer and drop it on the map.
          (If you don’t have any data, you can download the Downtown Trash Receptacles spreadsheet from Data Driven Detroit.)

Drag and drop data


Map Viewer automatically applies smart mapping, highlighting what's important in your data.

Visualized data


And just like that, you have an informative visual picture of your data.

Learn more

As documentation engineers, we spend most of our time writing help reference topics. In the weeks leading up to a software release, especially a big one like ArcGIS Online June 2017, we get to spend a fair amount of time reviewing other types of resources. This is one of our favorite tasks! We love seeing all the Story Maps, videos, blog articles, infographics, and exercises product teams create to show you what's new (and hopefully inspire you to give the new things a try). Whether you are just getting started with ArcGIS or a GIS veteran, we think there's a new resource you'll want to check out. Most highlight the latest functionality in the software. All are amazing! 


Documentation page

Of course we have to kick things off with a documentation resource: the new Documentation for ArcGIS page. It's a quick tool for finding that help site you're looking for. It includes a search, filters, and a language drop-down list. 

Documentation for ArcGIS landing page


Scene Viewer Story Map

You may have read about what's new in Scene Viewer for ArcGIS Online June 2017. Did you notice the Story Map that showcases these features? If not, you'll definitely want to check it out!

Scene Viewer Story Map


Hosted web layer infographics

It can be daunting to decide whether to use hosted feature layers, hosted feature layer views, or hosted tiles in your maps and apps. Who would win? Match layer types to common workflows with these new infographics.

Choose layer type

Explorer for ArcGIS exercise

Many of you have taken the Learn ArcGIS lesson, Get Started with ArcGIS Online. Now you can explore the same Hawaii island map to get started with Explorer for ArcGIS in a browser. Pretty cool. Explorer-map


Mapping and analysis exercise

On the topic of Learn ArcGIS lessons, we like the more precise boundary for Fight Child Poverty with Demographic Analysis because it makes the demographic patterns stand out even more. It now uses Census tract areas, one of the newer Living Atlas of the World layers you can add directly from Map Viewer. Did you know the same lesson is available for ArcGIS Enterprise? (And be sure to read how to take advantage of Living Atlas content in ArcGIS Enterprise).

Fight Child Poverty lesson


ArcGIS Enterprise Builder video

ArcGIS Enterprise Builder: A one-click set-up for ArcGIS Enterprise base deployment on a  single machine-in less than 1 hour? We were definitely excited to watch a video about that!


Distributed collaboration sample editing app

Distributed collaboration allows organizations working in both ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise to establish a trusted environment with defined rules for sharing content and data replication. To experience this yourself, add your own edits to a sample web app and monitor the data replication process.

Distributed collaboration


The ArcGIS Book cover map

And finally, The ArcGIS Book. What a great resource with all its live examples of using GIS to solve problems. Wonder how to create the map the cover? Wonder no more! John Nelson shows you how, start to finish.

The ArcGIS Book cover