An introductory overview of ArcGIS online

We believe mapping and web maps are synonymous with the future of spatial data collection, processing and especially dissemination. In line with the mission of the authors of the blog site, tips, exercises and tutorials on creating and sharing web maps will enable the mapping enthusiasts to share data more efficiently.

Disclaimer- We are in no way marketing or promoting esri products. We are non-proprietary and work with softwares based our knowledge about them!!!

ArcGIS Online is an online web map and application platform run by ESRI. It offers many features from basic editing to more complex things like creating web map applications online. It is a cloud storage based system and runs on subscription. ArcGIS online is plugged into ArcMap Desktop so the user can seamlessly transfer data from the Desktop to Online resources as a map package or feature service.

This post will start with the basic question- How do I get to have ArcGIS online so I can practice some of these tips?


Having a ESRI Global Account.

Sign in or register at the ESRI site for a Global Account. The ESRI Global Account automatically entitles the user to a free ArcGIS Online account. This account however is a basic account and lacks some of the features of the Enterprise account.

Apply for a Trial Enterprise Account.

Register for this account as an administrator at the ESRI site. This account comes with the full complement of features in ArcGIS Online but 60 day free trial with limitation to 200 credits.

Subscribe for ArcGIS Online

Just as an addition, ArcGIS Online is not a freeware and it is annual subscription based. Depending on the need of the Organization, there are different subscription sizes to choose from.


Another question is ‘What makes ArcGIS Online so different from ArcMap Desktop’ – In my opinion, three main things

– It is cloud based and ready to share within a network or public.

– The interface and map elements and controls are more in tune with modern cartographic software like CartoDB.

– It comes  with different types of base maps.


Register for your ESRI Global account and you automatically can sign into ArcGIS Online with a Basic Account and practice along with us.


Disclaimer- We are in no way marketing or promoting esri products. We are non-proprietary and work with softwares based our knowlegde about them!!!

The ArcGIS online environment is a lot different from ArcMap and this post will try and familiarize you with the different relevant pages and buttons.

Home page


Sign in and the Home page will open. Two pages are of most relevance to the Basic Account Holder-

red boxed – MAP

green boxed- MY CONTENT

MAP page


This page is the studio where all the web map design and implementation is done. We will take a look at all the elements in the red box on the menu bar.

Add – As indicated from the dropdown list, files are imported into the Map by using this button.

Basemap– Click here and the different types of base maps will be available such as Imagery, Streetmap etc

Save – Click and two options will open- Save and Save As. This will open a Save Map dialog box to fill. Saves the Map and its layers to the MY CONTENT page.

Share This button allows the User to publish the web map through creating a Share lInk, Embed Map in Web Page or Make a Web Application.

Print– Print the map for presentation.

The Green box is a Search Location bar that allows the User to find geocoded addresses on the Base map.



Red box– This the default folder created during the registration of the account. The User can add more folders by using the NEW option just above the default folder.

Blue boxed Add Item – Click on this button and three options will appear – From Computer, From Web and From Esri. This will add items such as GPX files, KML Files and Zipped Shapefiles as files into the folders in the MY CONTENT page. Create- This button will give three options on the dropdown list of the Basic account- Map, Application and File. This allows the User to create maps, applications and scenes from the files in the folders of the MY CONTENT page.

Green boxShare- the User can use this button to change the status of the file- to change from Not Shared to Everyone. Delete- to delete a file in the Folder. Move- move a file between folders. Change Owner– to edit the owner permissions on the map or layer or file.

Note the layer highlighted in brown is a Feature Layer and this service map is not available for a Basic Account.

Guess you have registered for ArcGIS online and ready to practice along.


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