Why does the AGOL imagery base map have different years of imagery at different extents?

12-17-2019 08:46 AM
New Contributor

If you zoom out to state level, one sees, I am assuming, the latest year of imagery. As soon as you zoom in, the imagery reverts to the older version until, I'm guessing like 1:24,000 when the imagery changes back to the newest data. Finally,the imagery then changes again to the older imagery at the lowest zoom level. Why? It's quite noticeable since the newest is leaf-on and the older is leaf-off and the two are different qualities. What is going on?


Confused and Agitated

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2 Replies
Esri Regular Contributor

Hi Richard,

I think part of the reason for this is that the basemap combines multiple imagery sources to provide the highest resolution imagery possible for each location. There is a good description of how it is put together on the basemap's item details page: https://www.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=10df2279f9684e4a9f6a7f08febac2a9

Adding this to the ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World‌ & Imagery and Remote Sensing‌ channels as well. 

Hope this helps,


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Esri Regular Contributor


If you want to know for sure the date & source of imagery in the default basemap, you can query this feature class overlay https://www.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=c03a526d94704bfb839445e80de95495  

Also, if it's important to you to exert more control over exactly what you see, the Wayback service allows you to choose.  Using World Imagery Wayback  

Thanks to Peter for his original response.

Cody B