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Content categories

Content categories can be used to organize group content and content across the organization. Content categories make it easier to discover content such as maps, scenes, apps, and layers. Organizations and group owners and managers have the option of configuring their own custom categories or using standard category sets from ArcGIS, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), or INSPIRE as a starting point. The available standard category sets are described in the following sections.

ArcGIS categories

The ArcGIS content category set includes a selection of topic categories and subcategories that can be used to categorize many types of geospatial content. This category set is used to support ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World, and can be customized to support other collections or organizations. The category set includes a small number of top-level categories on general topics that can be browsed for broad coverage of that topic, and more specific subcategories for finding specific types of content.



Maps and apps that are new and noteworthy additions to ArcGIS Living Atlas or relevant to current events, such as natural disasters, sporting events, and national elections, or holidays.

New and noteworthy—Maps and apps that are new and noteworthy additions to ArcGIS Living Atlas.

Current events—Maps and apps that are relevant to current events, such as natural disasters, sporting events, and national elections, or holidays.


Maps and layers that provide reference maps for the world and context for your work. The basemaps can provide general reference information, creative styles for focused maps, component layers to create basemaps, and historical maps.

Reference maps—General purpose and contemporary reference maps that can be used independently or as a background map for other map layers.

Creative maps—A variety of creatively designed maps that can be used independently or as a background map for specific types of map layers.

Vector tiles—Maps and layers referencing vector tile layers.

Component layers—Tile layer components that can be combined to create multiple types of basemaps, such as an imagery hybrid map.

Historical maps—Historical maps that can be used independently or as a background map for other map layers.


Imagery of various types, such as multiscale imagery built for use as a basemap, multispectral imagery that reveals different characteristics, temporal imagery that reveals change over time, and imagery of places affected by major events.

Basemap imagery—Imagery maps and layers that are designed to be used as a background map for other map layers.

Multispectral imagery—Imagery maps and layers referencing multiband imagery that can be configured in various band combinations to reveal different characteristics, such as healthy vegetation or impervious surface.

Temporal imagery—Imagery maps and layers referencing multitemporal imagery that can be enabled to display imagery captured on different dates or times to understand change over time.

Event imagery—Imagery maps and layers captured for specific events, such as natural disasters, to reveal the impact of those events.


Boundaries and places of different types, such as administrative areas, environmental areas, and various geometric areas (for example, hexagons and grids).

Administrative—Boundary maps and layers for administrative areas, such as countries, states and provinces, counties and districts, cities and populated places, census geographies, and postal geographies.

Environmental—Boundary maps and layers for environmental areas, such as protected areas, ecological regions, and watershed boundaries.

Geometric—Boundary maps and layers for geometric areas of various types and sizes, such as hexagons, triangles, and rectangular grids.


Essential information about population, the housing and neighborhoods in which people live, the jobs that provide their incomes, how they spend their time and money, and their health and safety.

Population—Statistical information about human population, including population counts, density, growth, age, gender, race, marital status, household sizes, and more.

Housing—Statistical information about housing for people, including housing units, occupied and vacant housing, home value, housing fuels, and other characteristics of housing.

Neighborhoods—Information about the neighborhoods in which people live, including neighborhood names, boundaries, and types, and the lifestyle characteristics (for example, how they spend their time and money) of people that live in these neighborhoods.

Jobs—Information about the jobs that people have, including population of employed civilians and military, labor force by occupation, unemployment rate, daytime population, commuter population, and more.

Income—Information about the income that people have, including per capita income, household income, disposable income, food stamps, income by age, net worth, and more.

Spending—Information about the spending habits of people, including annual budget expenditures and spending on food, restaurants, clothing, housing, insurance, entertainment, personal care, and more.

Health—Information about the health of people, including median age, health insurance coverage, health care spending, persons with a disability, and more.

Education—Information about the education of people, including level of educational attainment, population enrolled in school, types of schooling, and more.

At risk—Information about people who are at risk and may have additional needs (for example, transportation or medical care) related to an incident. This may include senior citizens, children, or persons with a disability, limited language proficiency, or limited transportation options.

Public safety—Information about the public safety of people, including crime rates, accident rates, workplace injuries, access to emergency services, and more.


The things and institutions that people create, such as transportation networks, structures, utilities, businesses, governments, and agriculture.

Transportation—Information about transportation systems created to move people and goods, including highway networks, rail networks, airport facilities, shipping lanes, public transportation, transit access, bridge conditions, and more.

Traffic—Information about traffic conditions on transportation networks, including traffic counts, live traffic services, traffic recorder stations, traffic cams, traffic accidents, commute times, travel speeds, and more.

Structures—Information about structures created by people, such as buildings, factories, museums, monuments, towers, housing, schools, hospitals, and more.

Utilities—Information about utility facilities for energy and water supply, communications infrastructure and services, and sewage and waste management, including power plants, electricity and gas distribution, telecommunication and radio networks, and more.

Businesses—Information about businesses, including type of business, number and type of employees, levels of revenue, impact on local economy, and more.

Agriculture—Information and resources related to agriculture, including the cultivation of plants and fiber, breeding of animals, and manufacturing of biofuels needed to sustain and enhance human life. Topics include vegetation and crop types, agricultural facilities and workers, and more.


Characteristics of the world's land and oceans, such as elevation and bathymetry, soils, geology, energy resources, fresh water, habitat, species, conservation, land cover, weather, and climate.

Earth observations—Information about the earth's systems captured via remote sensing and surveying techniques, such as wind and weather conditions, weather radar imagery, live stream gauges, wildfire activity, recent earthquakes, soil moisture, sea surface temperature, air quality, and more.

Oceans—Information about oceans (salt water bodies excluding inland waters), such as coastal information, coral reefs, bathymetry, sea surface temperatures, seafloor geomorphology, seafloor characteristics, ocean currents, and more.

Elevation and bathymetry—Digital elevation models and various derived elevation datasets, such as hillshade and slope maps, for land, ice, and sea surface. Includes terrestrial elevation, bathymetry, and shoreline.

Weather and climate—Information about weather and climate, such as current and forecasted weather conditions, precipitation, temperature, evapotranspiration, wind speed, atmospheric conditions, climate change, and severe weather events such as hurricanes and tornadoes.

Land cover—Information about the physical and biological cover of the earth's surface, such as artificial surfaces, agricultural areas, forests, natural areas, wetlands, and water bodies.

Energy resources—Information about natural energy resources, such as hydrocarbons, hydropower, bioenergy, solar, and wind.

Soils and geology—Information about soils and geology, including the types, textures, composition, and structure of soil and geology units.

Fresh water—Information about fresh water, including naturally occurring water in ice caps, ice sheets, glaciers, lakes, ponds, bogs, rivers, streams, and groundwater in aquifers.

Habitat—Information about habitat, which is an ecological or environmental area that is inhabited by a particular species of animal, plant, or other organism and is used to provide food, shelter, protection, and mates for reproduction. Includes terrestrial and aquatic areas.

Species—Information about various animal and plant species, including their geographic distribution, endangered status, and impact on the environment.

ISO categories

The ISO content category set includes topic categories from the International Organization for Standardization that provide a method for describing and cataloging geographic information.



Flora and/or fauna in the natural environment.


Legal land descriptions.

Climatology, meteorology, and atmosphere

Processes and phenomena of the atmosphere.


Economic activities, conditions, and employment.


Height above or below sea level.


Environmental resources, protection, and conservation.


Rearing of animals or cultivation of plants.

Geoscientific information

Information pertaining to earth sciences.


Health, health services, human ecology, and safety.

Imagery, basemaps, and Earth cover

Imagery, basemaps, and the earth's cover.

Inland waters

Inland water features, drainage systems, and their characteristics.

Intelligence and military

Military bases, structures, and activities.


Positional information services.


Features and characteristics of salt water bodies (excluding inland waters).

Planning and cadastre

Information used for appropriate actions for future use of land.


Characteristics of society and cultures.


Manufactured construction.


Means and aids for conveying persons or goods.

Utilities and communication

Energy, water, and waste systems and communications infrastructure and services.

INSPIRE categories

The INSPIRE content category set includes a comprehensive set of spatial data themes set out in the INSPIRE Directive.



Location of properties based on address identifiers, usually by road name, house number, or postal code.

Administrative units

Units of administration, dividing areas where member states have and/or exercise jurisdictional rights, for local, regional, and national governance, separated by administrative boundaries.

Cadastral parcels

Areas defined by cadastral registers or equivalent.

Coordinate reference systems

Systems for uniquely referencing spatial information in space as a set of coordinates (x, y, z) and/or latitude and longitude and height, based on a geodetic horizontal and vertical datum.

Geographical grid systems

Harmonized multiresolution grid with a common point of origin and standardized location and size of grid cells.

Geographical names

Names of areas, regions, localities, cities, suburbs, towns, or settlements, or any geographical or topographical feature of public or historical interest.


Hydrographic elements, including marine areas and all other water bodies and items related to them, including river basins and subbasins. Where appropriate, according to the definitions set out in Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy (2) and in the form of networks.

Protected sites

Area designated or managed within a framework of international, community and member states' legislation to achieve specific conservation objectives.

Transport networks

Road, rail, air, and water transport networks and related infrastructure. Includes links between different networks. Also includes the trans-European transport network as defined in Decision No 1692/96/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 July 1996 on Community Guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network (1) and future revisions of that Decision.


Digital elevation models for land, ice, and ocean surface. Includes terrestrial elevation, bathymetry, and shoreline.


Geology characterized according to composition and structure. Includes bedrock, aquifers, and geomorphology.

Land cover

Physical and biological cover of the earth's surface including artificial surfaces, agricultural areas, forests, (semi)natural areas, wetlands, and water bodies.


Georeferenced image data of the earth's surface, from either satellite or airborne sensors.

Agricultural and aquaculture facilities

Farming equipment and production facilities (including irrigation systems, greenhouses, and stables).

Area management, restriction, regulation zones and reporting units

Areas managed, regulated, or used for reporting at international, European, national, regional, and local levels. Includes dumping sites, restricted areas around drinking water sources, nitrate-vulnerable zones, regulated fairways at sea or large inland waters, areas for the dumping of waste, noise restriction zones, prospecting and mining permit areas, river basin districts, relevant reporting units, and coastal zone management areas.

Atmospheric conditions

Physical conditions in the atmosphere. Includes spatial data based on measurements, models, or a combination thereof, and includes measurement locations.

Bio-geographical regions

Areas of relatively homogeneous ecological conditions with common characteristics.


Geographical location of buildings.

Energy resources

Energy resources including hydrocarbons, hydropower, bioenergy, solar, wind, and so on, where relevant, including depth and height information on the extent of the resource.

Environmental monitoring facilities

Location and operation of environmental monitoring facilities, including observation and measurement of emissions, and of the state of environmental media and of other ecosystem parameters (biodiversity, ecological conditions of vegetation, and so on) by or on behalf of public authorities.

Habitats and biotopes

Geographical areas characterized by specific ecological conditions, processes, structure, and (life support) functions that physically support the organisms that live there. Includes terrestrial and aquatic areas distinguished by geographical, abiotic, and biotic features, whether entirely natural or seminatural.

Human health and safety

Geographical distribution of dominance of pathologies (such as allergies, cancers, and respiratory diseases), information indicating the effect on health (biomarkers, decline of fertility, and epidemics) or well-being of humans (such as fatigue and stress) linked directly (air pollution, chemicals, depletion of the ozone layer, noise, and so on) or indirectly (food, genetically modified organisms, and so on) to the quality of the environment.

Land use

Territory characterized according to its current and future planned functional dimension or socioeconomic purpose—for example, residential, industrial, commercial, agricultural, forestry, and recreational.

Meteorological geographical features

Weather conditions and their measurements, precipitation, temperature, evapotranspiration, wind speed, and direction.

Mineral resources

Mineral resources such as metal ores and industrial minerals, where relevant, including depth/height information on the extent of the resource.

Natural risk zones

Vulnerable areas characterized according to natural hazards (all atmospheric, hydrologic, seismic, volcanic and wildfire phenomena that, because of their location, severity, and frequency, have the potential to seriously affect society)—for example, floods, landslides and subsidence, avalanches, forest fires, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.

Oceanographic geographical features

Physical conditions of oceans (such as currents, salinity, and wave heights).

Population distribution and demography

Geographical distribution of people, including population characteristics and activity levels, aggregated by grid, region, administrative unit, or other analytical unit.

Production and industrial facilities

Industrial production sites, including installations covered by Council Directive 96/61/EC of 24 September 1996 concerning integrated pollution prevention and control (1) and water abstraction facilities, mining, and storage sites.

Sea regions

Physical conditions of seas and saline water bodies divided into regions and subregions with common characteristics.


Soils and subsoil characterized according to depth, texture, structure, content of particles, organic material, stoniness, erosion, and, where appropriate, mean slope and anticipated water storage capacity.

Species distribution

Geographical distribution of occurrence of animal and plant species aggregated by grid, region, administrative unit, or other analytical unit.

Statistical units

Units for dissemination or use of statistical information.

Utility and governmental services

Utility facilities such as sewage, waste management, energy supply, and water supply, administrative and social governmental services such as public administrations, civil protection sites, schools, and hospitals.