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Education Related ArcGIS Online Updates - February Update!

02-23-2023 07:10 AM
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There are a lot of fantastic updates in the ArcGIS Online February update and many of these are very pertinent for the education community. You can read about all of the updates/full details in Bernie’s blog ( or in the ArcGIS Online documentation (, but I wanted to take a minute to call special attention to just 3 of these updates.

Analysis Tools in Map Viewer!

It was long awaited, but the analysis tools are now available in Map Viewer! This includes both vector and raster analysis tools. Every analysis tool (found in Map Viewer Classic) has yet to be ported over and there are some limitations on the types of layers that can be used for analysis, but there is a lot here.



One of the things that I was most excited about – is the fact that the web map will now contain all of the analysis history from the analysis tools you run.

As an educator, a potential use case is the ability to share the map, along with the geoprocessing history. Learners could then review the analysis steps and parameters. They could even open the ‘historical tool run’ to change inputs, parameters, environment options, and then run the tool themselves.

Some of the ‘advanced’ options are also a nice to have. With each analysis tool, there are also environment settings, similar to ArcGIS Pro, which allow users to manage the processing extent or even the output coordinate system.

For more details from the product team: Introducing Analysis

Media layers (images that can be referenced to a geographic location)

The next big thing that I wanted to highlight was the ability to place media (images) in reference to a geographic location. To be clear, the capability at this release is fairly basic, but it still fills a big need. For users that need high-precision or the ability to edit individual control points, there is ArcGIS Pro for georeferencing. Yet, for users that are looking to place a historical map or reference document quickly, there is now a great option outside of the desktop environment.



Personally, I love how this opens up a wide range of workflows for the ‘non-GIS’ major. Learners can now georeference a historical map, create a feature class, edit data, build a web application, and share their work with StoryMaps… all without even touching desktop software.

For more details from the product team on this capability: Announcing Media Layers

Feature Display Order

This might be a small change to the symbology settings, but it’s something that is really important for cartography. Prior to this release, there was no easy way to force a ‘drawing’ order within the same feature layer. If there were/are hundreds of overlapping symbols, they would be displayed in whatever order they were returned by the server… not the best approach when that order could affect the interpretation of the data!



This is a great feature from a teaching perspective, as well for production mapping. There are a wide range of examples that learners could explore to see the visual impact of modifications to the feature display order.

For more details from the product team: Bringing Order to Complexity


I know a lot of people are really excited for this update and I can't wait to see how these tools and updates get incorporated into teaching/curriculum in the months to come!

If you have questions or need any resources, please reach out!

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About the Author
Brian works as a Lead Engineer at Esri to support customers in Education. Brian has worked as a lecturer in GIS, supported non-profits through his community planning work, and honestly just loves working with users to help solve their geospatial quandaries!