In this topic
A basemap provides a background of geographical context for the content you want to display in a map. When you create a new map, you can choose which basemap you want to use. You can change the basemap of the current map at any time by using the basemap gallery or using your own layer as the basemap.
Select basemap from the gallery
The basemap gallery includes a variety of choices, including topography, imagery, and streets.
- Verify that you are signed in and, if you want to save changes, that you have privileges to create content.
- Open the map viewer and click Basemap.
- Click the thumbnail of the basemap you want to use in your map.
- View information about a basemap in the gallery by first adding it to your map.
- Click Details and click Show Content.
- Click the arrow to the right of the basemap name and click Description.
- Click Save to save the new basemap to the map.
Use your own basemap
In addition to the basemap gallery, you can also use your own basemap by searching for an existing layer or adding a layer from the web. You can use basemaps from ArcGIS Server layers, OGC layers, and tile layers. When you use your own basemap, your map uses the projection of that basemap instead of Web Mercator, the projection of the map viewer.
If you do not have privileges to create content (you won't see Save in the map viewer) you can still use your own basemap to explore data by clicking Modify Map next to your name.
- Verify that you are signed in, open the map in the map viewer, and click Add.
- To search for an existing layer to use as a basemap, choose Search for Layers.
- Enter keywords within the Find field.
- Choose where you want to search for layers.
- Click Go. A list of layers appears that relate to the keywords you entered.
- Click the title of the layer you want as your basemap.
- Choose Use as Basemap in the pop-up that appears.
- Click Done Adding Layers to close the Search for layers to add window.
- To add a layer from the web as your basemap, choose Add Layer from Web.
- Choose the type of data the layer references.
- Enter the layer's web address in the URL field.
- Click Go. When the map viewer finds the layer, its name appears in the results.
- Check the box next to Use as Basemap.
- The map viewer can't display layers in a map without a working basemap because the basemap establishes the coordinate system of the map. Once you save a map with a basemap, the map viewer only uses that basemap; it doesn't revert to a default basemap if yours is unavailable. You can repair your map by using a different basemap as long as the spatial reference of the bad and new basemap are the same. Repair your map by selecting a different basemap.
- When you use your own basemap, some of the zoom levels may be missing. This occurs because the map displays the zoom levels of the current basemap, for example, the World Topographic basemap. To see the additional zoom levels in the basemap you've added, save your map, close the map viewer page (for example, go to the Gallery), and reopen the map. The additional zoom levels appear.
- If your OGC WMS layer uses a projection other than Web Mercator, the projection of the default World Topographic basemap, the map viewer attempts to use a compatible basemap. If your layer is in GCS WGS84, the map viewer uses the GCS WGS84 World Imagery basemap. If your OGC layer is in a coordinate system other than Web Mercator or GCS WGS84, your layer is used as the basemap. You can use a different basemap as long as it is compatible with your layer's projection. If a basemap in the gallery is not compatible, the map viewer will not add it to your map; instead, you will see an error message letting you know your layer is not compatible with the basemap's coordinate system.
- When you add an OGC WMS layer to your map, you may get an error that the layer's coordinate system doesn't align with that of the basemap. This error message usually appears if you have added layers to your map and add an OGC (WMS) layer that isn't in Web Mercator, the projection of the basemaps in the map viewer gallery. Create a new map and add your OGC (WMS) layer first. If your layer is in GCS WGS84, the map viewer uses the GCS WGS84 World Imagery basemap. If your OGC layer is in a coordinate system other than Web Mercator or GCS WGS84, your layer is used as the basemap. Now you can add additional layers.