Adding custom map tiles from Stamen as Tile layers in ArcGIS Online

Adding custom base maps gives the user the freedom to place layers on base maps generated from other sources. For the demo. the source of our custom base map is from Stamen maps.  Browse to and have a look at the several types of map styles available.

*Tile layers must be hosted online.


1) First we prepare a custom image at

This is the home page.


Click on Find (cursor finger). For the demo, the area of interest is abuja, Nigeria (stated in the search box).


There are options of map styles to select from- Toner, Watercolor and Terrain. For the demo, Watercolor is selected (see cursor finger position).


Zoom in to the area of interest where user is particular about.


Click on <image> to allow the crop tool to be activated on the map.


Use the yellow rectangular box to clip out the extent of map. In the red boxed area in the upper part of the screenshot, select the map style and the image size.

For the demo, watercolor is the map style and 400 by 400 pixel size. Click on MAKE.


Once the process of creating the image is complete, the finished image will appear on the right pane. Click on the image (see cursor finger position).


The image will be displayed along with details on size, time created and the geographical coordinate extents.


Right Click on the image and scroll down to click on ‘Copy Image Location’ (see position of cursor finger).


2) Add the Custom image as Base map in ArcGIS online

Open ArcGIS online > On home page click on MAPS to open a new map.

Go to Add > Add Layers from Web.


In the Add Layer from Web window, Select A Tile Layer in the drop down list.


Paste the URL of the Stamen image copied earlier. Check the Use as Basemap option. Click ADD LAYER button.


The Tile layer is added as base map in ArcGIS online.


Thank you for following the blog so far. Let us have your feedback and comments.


One response to “Adding custom map tiles from Stamen as Tile layers in ArcGIS Online

  1. Reblogged this on GIS Digest and commented:
    I read this and it’s very informative and useful. I would suggest it for everyone with intereat in using map tiles for their project. Great post


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