Best Practices for Display - Web Map Viewer (New and Classic)

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09-07-2021 03:49 PM
Henry
by
Occasional Contributor II

Hi all,

Our organization is a heavy user of the classic web map viewer - and I've been working on transitioning some tools to use the new map viewer as well.

We have a lot of vector data to look at, and internal users often want as much as possible accessible from the start. I've broken up some hosted feature layers that serve different purposes into their own web maps and apps but we still have need of one sort of "catch-all" web map for quick reference of incoming data - often with dynamic properties to display popups (for public land ownership, hydrography, roads as well as internal data collection layers). We also work in a remote area and don't have the best internet unfortunately.

I've heavily configured the view range/extent of every layer to squeeze what performance I can out of it but there are some lingering questions I have:

  • Is there a noticeable difference or best practice when it comes to adding public web services as reference layers? i.e. add it as an item in My Content first? or just add it in the web map directly via the ArcGIS Online tab?
  • I know ideally I would use Map Image layers for faster drawing, but our users do want some reference ability with pop-ups - can this be solved with vector tile layers? For our internal GIS data, at least?
  • Any other optimization tips/hints for web map viewers?

Anyways, nitpicky - but trying to get the best performance I can! Thanks!

Henry
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jcarlson
MVP Notable Contributor

To your first point, I prefer to add them as true Items in the Content page. Doing so allows you to define your own default symbology, filters, etc, where simply pulling the service into an individual map will bring in the service's own defaults every time. This may or may not be an issue for you, but here's an example:

We prepare an annual highway map for the county. We like to include about an inch or so of surrounding county features for additional reference and usefulness for areas along the border. However, maintaining and updating layers for this purpose would be wildly inefficient. We've got enough to do updating the roads and municipalities inside the county. By tapping into public web services like the Living Atlas, we can easily get those reference features. Since we only need adjacent counties, though, we can save the visualization settings to filter out everything but those counties, and set the symbology to our own "adjacent county reference" style. For every future map that requires those layers, we can ensure a consistent visual style.

To the second point: vector tile layers do not do pop-ups. But they can provide a great performance boost for layers with lots of features or labels. We have found that many of our common reference layers are actually already in the OpenStreetMap vector basemap. By applying our own custom style to that basemap, we can isolate and highlight certain layers. If a slightly longer turnaround time is amenable to you, you can then simply apply edits and updates to OSM, and then you don't have to worry about updating the tiles yourself.

Starting in 2.8, it's also possible to publish a hosted vector layer that is linked to vector tiles, and these allow you to refresh your vector tile cache easily as well. But then, it still doesn't address popups.

Other tips? Maybe err on the side of being restrictive with layer visibility scales. On our parcel viewer, most users are looking at individual parcels at large scales. By limiting the visibility scale, users can zoom out and pan across the county without the viewer bogging down when you pan over a densely-developed neighborhood.

- Josh Carlson
Kendall County GIS

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2 Replies
jcarlson
MVP Notable Contributor

To your first point, I prefer to add them as true Items in the Content page. Doing so allows you to define your own default symbology, filters, etc, where simply pulling the service into an individual map will bring in the service's own defaults every time. This may or may not be an issue for you, but here's an example:

We prepare an annual highway map for the county. We like to include about an inch or so of surrounding county features for additional reference and usefulness for areas along the border. However, maintaining and updating layers for this purpose would be wildly inefficient. We've got enough to do updating the roads and municipalities inside the county. By tapping into public web services like the Living Atlas, we can easily get those reference features. Since we only need adjacent counties, though, we can save the visualization settings to filter out everything but those counties, and set the symbology to our own "adjacent county reference" style. For every future map that requires those layers, we can ensure a consistent visual style.

To the second point: vector tile layers do not do pop-ups. But they can provide a great performance boost for layers with lots of features or labels. We have found that many of our common reference layers are actually already in the OpenStreetMap vector basemap. By applying our own custom style to that basemap, we can isolate and highlight certain layers. If a slightly longer turnaround time is amenable to you, you can then simply apply edits and updates to OSM, and then you don't have to worry about updating the tiles yourself.

Starting in 2.8, it's also possible to publish a hosted vector layer that is linked to vector tiles, and these allow you to refresh your vector tile cache easily as well. But then, it still doesn't address popups.

Other tips? Maybe err on the side of being restrictive with layer visibility scales. On our parcel viewer, most users are looking at individual parcels at large scales. By limiting the visibility scale, users can zoom out and pan across the county without the viewer bogging down when you pan over a densely-developed neighborhood.

- Josh Carlson
Kendall County GIS
Henry
by
Occasional Contributor II

All great tips, thank you!

Henry
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