Considerations for Using Vector Tile Layers in ArcGIS Online

Blog Post created by AFili-esristaff Employee on Nov 18, 2015
Beta versions of Esri vector basemaps are now available through ArcGIS Online as vector tile layers. These vector basemaps are accessible as both ready-to-use web maps and as vector tile layers you can add to a map. Additionally, vector basemaps include a variety of styles, some new and some that are similar to existing Esri basemaps. Web maps you create that contain vector tile layers can be used in web applications you configure or build using Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS. As a developer, you can build your own custom applications that use these vector tile layers using the ArcGIS API for JavaScript.

Please consider the following before deciding to use the current release of vector tile layers:
  • Vector tile layers are only supported in applications built with the ArcGIS API for JavaScript. This includes configurable applications, applications built with Web AppBuilder, and custom applications built with the JavaScript application programming interface (API). ArcGIS Runtime SDKs will add support in 2016.
  • Vector tile layers can be displayed in Internet Explorer 11 and in most other current versions of desktop browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
  • Vector tile layers have the best performance on machines with newer hardware.
  • There are issues displaying vector tile layers at a large scale.
  • Maps containing an Esri vector basemap are printed with the Esri Streets basemap. All other maps containing vector tile layers are printed without the vector tile layers.
  • The Esri vector basemaps are currently in the beta stage and are subject to change during this period. You may need to update or replace vector tile layers built using the beta versions of the vector basemaps. The Esri vector basemaps have some known limitations that Esri will address during the beta period, including the following:
    • Labels in languages that display right-to-left scripts, such as Arabic, are not drawn properly.
    • Labels along vector tile boundaries sometimes do not display completely.
    • The topographic map style does not contain some layers (for example, contours, landform labels, and spot elevations) that are included in World Topographic Map.
    • The topographic and streets (with relief) maps, which reference a hillshade base layer, only enable users to zoom in to about a 1:10k scale.
    • The tiles do not include layers for one-way arrows or address labels.
    • Some parks and land polygon features extend into the adjacent ocean areas.
    • River labels along very curvy lines are sometimes too compressed and difficult to read.
    • In some areas, local road labels and shields display, but not the underlying local roads.

Learn more about vector tile layers here.
Julie P. - Technical Product Manager, ArcGIS API for JavaScript