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Customize basemaps

Map Viewer provides a basemap gallery that allows users to change the basemap in web maps created in the ArcGIS Enterprise portal.

As a member of the default administrator role or custom role with the privilege to alter organization settings, you can configure which basemaps are available in Map Viewer and which basemap is displayed by default when Map Viewer is opened. You can use the default basemap gallery provided with ArcGIS Enterprise or define your own group as the basemap gallery. When you add or remove maps from the group set as the basemap gallery, the maps are also added or removed as basemap choices in Map Viewer.

When you create your own group for the basemap gallery, you can use the following to create custom basemaps:

  • Existing basemaps, such as those from the default gallery

    All the basemaps in the default basemap gallery show the entire world. If your organization only creates maps of smaller areas, you can save maps at those extents.

    For example, if your organization uses data and creates maps specific to the southern region of Iceland, you could create basemaps with an extent that only encompasses Southern Iceland. You can place these maps in a group you designate as the basemap gallery for your organization and choose one of those maps to be the default basemap used in Map Viewer.


    Do not do this if you want to take web maps offline.

  • Web maps

    You can create web maps that contain a single layer and share them with the group you have designated as the basemap gallery.

    To use multiple layers in a basemap, publish a map service that contains those layers and add that map service to a web map. Save the web map and share it with the group set as the basemap gallery.


It is recommended that cached map services are used for basemaps, although a dynamic service may still be used. Cached map services use a tiling scheme to establish scale and level of detail for a rapid return of map images. Dynamic map services draw a map image each time the user zooms or pans. If a cached map is overlaid on a dynamic map, the cached map service no longer uses the tiling scheme to establish level of detail and is therefore treated as a dynamic map.

The following sections explain how to configure your organization to use custom basemaps.

Create a group to use for the basemap gallery

Create a group to store the basemaps for your organization.

  1. Sign in to the portal website.
  2. Open Groups and click Create group.
  3. Type a name, summary, and tags for the group.
  4. Leave Who can view this group? set to Everyone (Public).

    This is needed so that anyone using Map Viewer Classic will have access to basemaps.

  5. To allow members of your organization to request membership to the group so they can contribute maps, choose By request. If you will be inviting members instead, choose By invitation.
  6. Choose who can contribute basemaps to the group.
    • If other group members will be creating basemaps to share, choose All group members.
    • If you will be the only person creating and sharing basemaps with this group, choose Group owner and managers.
  7. Enable the Shared update group designation if you want to allow group members to edit maps shared with the group.
  8. Click Save to create the group.

Create and share basemaps

Now that you have a group to use for the basemap gallery, you must create web maps to populate the gallery.

Once you create the web maps that will be used as basemaps, share them with the group you use as your basemap gallery. You must also share the web maps with everyone (public) so all Map Viewer users can access basemaps.

  1. Open Map Viewer.
  2. To use an existing basemap from the current basemap gallery, follow these steps:
    1. Click Basemap Basemap on the Contents (dark) toolbar.
    2. Choose the basemap from the gallery.
    3. To show a more focused area, zoom to the extent you want to use as the initial extent of the basemap.

    As noted previously, do not use basemaps created from default basemaps if members of your organization will be taking maps offline.

  3. To use a map service as a basemap, follow these steps:
    1. Click Add > Add layer from URL.
    2. Type or paste the map service's URL into the URL text box.
    3. If necessary, choose either ArcGIS Server web service, WMS (OGC), or WMTS (OGC) from the Type drop-down list.
    4. Turn on the Use as basemap toggle button.
    5. Click Use as basemap.
  4. Click Save and open Save and open and click Save as.
  5. Type a title, tags, and summary for the map, choose which folder to save it in, and click Save.
  6. You can share the map now while you are still in Map Viewer, or wait until you have created all your basemaps and share them at once from the My content tab of the content page.
  7. Follow the steps below to share the map from Map Viewer:
    1. Click Share map Share map on the Contents (dark) toolbar.
    2. Choose a sharing level for the map.
    3. Click Edit group sharing to share the map with your basemap group.
    4. Click Save.
  8. To share multiple maps, follow the steps below:
    1. Open the My content tab of the content page.
    2. Check the box next to every web map you want to use for the basemap gallery and click Share.
    3. Choose a sharing level for the maps.
    4. Click Edit group sharing to share the maps with your basemap group.
    5. Click Save.

Set the basemap gallery and default basemap

Finally, change the Map settings to specify the group you created as the basemap gallery, and choose one map from the basemap gallery to be the default basemap. The default basemap is the basemap that is present when you first open Map Viewer.

  1. Verify that you are signed in as a member of the default administrator role or a custom role with administrative privileges to manage the portal website.
  2. Open Organization > Settings > Map.
  3. Under Basemap gallery, click the Edit button Edit to open the Group drop-down menu and choose your basemap group.
  4. Change how the basemaps are sorted in the gallery by selecting a field in the Sort order menu. To change how the basemaps are ordered, choose Ascending or Descending.

Now when anyone opens a new map in Map Viewer, the default basemap you specified is in the map. When Basemap is clicked in Map Viewer, the maps from the new basemap gallery you created are displayed.