Skip to main content

6 ArcGIS Online Updates K-12 Educators should know about

Every few months, ArcGIS Online is updated with new features and enhancements. Find out what’s new with the March update that educators will find useful.

ArcGIS was updated this month with some exciting enhancements that include updates to the Map Viewer, Smart Mapping and Story Maps.

Check out some of the updates that educators will want to know about:

Map Viewer

The map viewer is the ArcGIS Online application that enables you to author and share Web maps, perform analysis and work with your layers. The following are map viewer enhancements for this release.

1. Multilayer Basemaps
Multilayer basemaps can now be created in the map viewer. This is useful when you have two or more layers that you want to use together as a background for other operational layers. For example, you can combine your imagery with one of the reference layers. Or can combine hillshaded terrain and other layers with a reference layer. See Create a multilayer basemap for more information.

2. Smart Mapping
Smart mapping provides data-driven tools that enable you to explore your data to unlock patterns and relationships and easily author visually appealing Web maps. When feature layers are added, the data is analyzed and appropriate layer styling options are presented in a streamlined user experience appropriate for your data. Smart mapping harmonizes colours with basemaps to best represent your data. For this release, new smart mapping styles are added that illuminate multiple attributes in your data. Use Predominant Category and Predominant Category & Size to compare multiple attributes in a layer, and show the predominant attribute. View the Mapping Predominance story map to view examples and learn more.

Story Maps

Story maps let you combine authoritative maps with narrative text, images and multimedia content, making it easy to harness the power of maps and geography to tell your story. New for this release:

3. Autoplay Mode
A new autoplay mode automatically advances the Story Map after a specified time interval. Autoplay is useful if you want to display a story map at a kiosk in a visitor center or exhibit. In this mode a control appears that enables autoplay to be paused and the speed adjusted. Just click the Link button in the header and check Autoplay. Use the short URL to display the Story Map in autoplay mode. Autoplay is supported in the following Story Map apps:

  • Story Map Journal
  • Story Map Tour
  • Story Map Series
  • Story Map Swipe and Spyglass (for a Swipe series)

Smart mapping harmonizes colours with basemaps to best represent your data. For this release, new smart mapping styles are added that illuminate multiple attributes in your data.

4. Social Media Sharing Improvements
When a story map is posted via Twitter or Facebook, the post will use the title, summary and (when possible) the item thumbnail.

5. Other Enhancements
The Web map chooser in the Story Map Builder has been enhanced so that the most recently modified maps display first.

6. User Settings
Users can manage communications from Esri through their profile page. Users will be able to sign up to receive emails about ArcGIS software, industry GIS news and customer stories. To enable these features, the account must have Esri access enabled. See Manage Esri communications.

For more information about this release, see the What’s New help topic and related posts.

Find resources for ArcGIS Online at   

About the Author

Angela Alexander is a K-12 Education Resource Developer on the Esri Canada Education and Research team. She has over six years of experience working with educators across Canada. Angela is responsible for producing geographic information system (GIS) and curriculum specific resources, conducting and creating custom workshops for educators and judging and developing the question for the annual GIS Skills Ontario competition in Waterloo, Ontario. Angela has a Bachelor’s degree in Geography and Sociology from the University of Western Ontario and completed the Applied Digital Geography and GIS certificate program at Ryerson University.

Profile Photo of Angela Alexander